10 tips on how to survive the festive season by Kim Morgan
It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year but the Christmas period can be overwhelming. Shopping, cooking, hosting… we have too much to do and not enough time to do it. It’s time to step away from Pinterest; the tree doesn’t have to look like the one in Fortnum and Mason’s and you are not expected to make the canapes from scratch…
UK executive coach Kim Morgan shares her top tips for combatting people, pleasing and perfectionism to stay merry and bright this festive season:
- Make a list of all the things only you are responsible for this Christmas. Now make a list of all the things other people could take responsibility for and one of all the things that nobody can control, such as the weather or heavy traffic This will enable you to develop a more balanced perspective and will help you to see that it’s not all down to you!
- Ask for help and delegate tasks. Preparing for Christmas with your family will create a great team spirit.
- Prioritise! Divide things to do into “Could do”, “Should do” and “Must do”. Focus on the “Must do” and allow yourself to let go of all the “Could do” tasks. Perfectionism and comparing your life with the lives you imagine other people are leading can lead to total burnout.
- Know when “enough is enough”. Nobody will notice if the parsnips are burnt or the plates don’t match! Have an emergency relaxation plan in case something does go wrong: listen to your favourite song, practise deep breathing or take the dog for a walk – something to recharge your batteries.
- Establish Christmas rituals for your family. Most people don’t remember the presents or the food, they remember the rituals. Your children will always remember watching the same favourite Christmas film or decorating the tree together each year.
- Learn to say “No”. Set limits on the amount of money you are going to spend, the number of parties or Christmas activities you are going to attend and the amount of food you are going to cook (and eat!). Overcommitting ourselves is one of the greatest contributors to holiday stress.
- Slow things down: don’t rush to open your Christmas presents. Open one present at a time while everyone watches to create a more mindful approach and enjoy every moment. Start a new family tradition by investing in an instant camera and taking pictures to capture everyone’s reactions to their gifts.
- Don’t take responsibility for everyone else’s feelings. Feeling responsible for others can have an enormous impact on our own self-esteem. The more you beat yourself up about how everyone else is feeling the more stressed you will feel.
- Keep hold of your sense of humour and Christmas spirit by choosing something positive to focus on in moments of stress.
- Remember that it’s your Christmas too! If you find yourself worrying excessively about others remember this lovely quote by Jack Kornfield: “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
Kim Morgan is the author of Coaching Cards for Christmas, a pack of festive conversation starters, perfect to get the whole family talking! (£15, Barefoot Coaching).