Christmas is upon us and as lovely and twinkly as it can be, it can also be a highly stressful time of year. So here’s a few S.H.I.T tips to keep you as unfrazzled as possible this year.
Decos are lovely, don’t get me wrong, but they start getting annoying by Dec 26th and you can’t wait to rip them all down and spring clean the house come the 27th, so if yours aren’t happening this year, it’s ok. Have have a year off. The world will keep turning.
And if the neighbour’s twinkly bush looks bigger and better than yours, remind yourself that you’ve got a lovely old bush even if it is a bit barren and doesn’t see much action these days. It’s hardy and does the job and anyway, chances are hers next door’s won’t stay big and twinkly for long. Just you wait.
Take a digital detox.
Nobody needs to see perfect pictures of perfect people with perfect eyebrows in perfect matching onesies.
It only makes us all feel shit and none of it, by the way, is real. In fact, chances are the ‘perfect’ people had to lie in a dark room for 72 hours straight after trying to create the perfect fake picture instead of having a lovely old time on the sofa, scoffing Celebrations watching Love Actually, which you can use your time to do instead.
If you’re a party animal then you can skip this one, but if you’d rather curl up on the sofa every evening and the thought of traipsing out in the cold to see people you don’t really like makes you want to hit yourself over the head with the bumper Radio Times, then put boundaries in place.
Pick one or two outings that are important and involve people you actually enjoy being with. Make polite excuses for any others. If you really don’t want to go to the pub on Christmas Eve, then don’t. Send your apologies but don’t beat yourself up about what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do. Remember, people might be disappointed for a nanosecond but mostly nobody will remember who was there and who wasn’t after a couple of lagers.
Giving is a wonderful thing and receiving (if you’re a kid, teen or just a greedy pig) is even better. But, let’s face it, none of us wants anyone to waste their precious money on useless tat we don’t need (unless you’re a kid, teen or greedy pig).
Why not make a deal with fellow adults in your family to forgo presents this year and just enjoy the time being together instead. It takes away a lot of expense and stress. Obviously the youngsters (or greedy pigs) in the family won’t be up for it, but tell them that this year Christmas is all about being with loved ones – good luck with that one by the way.
There are obviously traditions on what ought to be eaten on Christmas Day, but in the grand scheme of things it really, really, really doesn’t matter.
If you’ve just realised today that you forgot to order the turkey, well you’re up the festive shit creek without a paddle but everyone will survive.
If the mince pies have run out in every supermarket in town, everyone will survive.
If you all end up eating toast because the oven breaks down and the whole thing goes belly up, everyone will survive. And it’ll no doubt be something you will all never forget. That’s a win win. And zero stress. In fact, maybe just pretend the oven has broken down anyway…..tempting.
If you’re spending Christmas Day with family members who tend to get on your tits, try to kill them….with kindness, and tell yourself it’s not worth your own precious energy getting worked up.
Avoid situations where them getting on your tits is a high possibility. Easier said than done, I know, especially if you’re in the same house for any length of time, but if such a situation does arise, mumble something about needing more After Eights and walk away as soon as possible.
But seriously, enjoy precious time with loved ones but keep it on your terms. If you don’t want to spend two nights at your in laws, don’t do it. Suck it up for one night but that’s sufficient. Chances are they’ll be relieved too.
This is really important. Not selfish. In fact it’s benefiting everyone around you as you’ll be much more pleasant to be around if you take time to take care of yourself.
I know Christmas is a crazy time of year especially if you have family wanting your attention 24/7, but all the more reason to step away at least once a day and look after you.
Take a walk, exercise, meditate, read, eat whatever you want (and don’t feel bad about it – energy is vital), have a nap, do Wordle – whatever helps you switch off and recharge because it’s a full on time of year, and the most important thing in all of this is that you don’t get frazzled.
But if you do feel frazzled (which is highly likely at some point over the next few days) talk or message someone. No matter how trivial you think it might seem, it’s highly likely whoever you share your angst with will have felt the same over this festive period and will be relieved they’re not alone.
And if you’re feeling more than frazzled and can’t shake it off, it’s really good to reach out to someone you trust. If talking feels too much, a text or WhatsApp can feel easier.
You don’t need to feel alone and anyone who cares about you will be really grateful you spoke to them.
Please also remember the following mental health charities are here for you over Christmas:
Samaritans – call 116 123 (24/7)
My Black Dog – online support – email firstname.lastname@example.org (open 28th, 29th, 30th Dec 5-10pm)
Mind – call 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri 10am – 6pm / closed 26 & 27 Dec & 2 Jan)
Give Us A Shout – text 85258 (24/7)
Calm – call 0800 585858 (5pm – midnight 365 days a year)
YoungMinds – text YM 85258 (24/7)
And finally, wishing you all a S.H.I.T Christmas in whatever shape or form it comes. And remember, hiding in the loo, downing the Baileys is never the answer.
Or is it….