Looking After You This Christmas

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

“We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!” Just one of the many songs I heard on the radio today reminding me about the fact that Christmas is around the corner.

Stereotypically, when I think of Christmas I imagine - time with family, gifts, way too much food (always), and a time of celebration.

This made me think, does everyone view Christmas in this way?

The festive season can often bring about a variety of anxiety-provoking situations such as financial pressures, feeling the need to meet expectations of family members (leading to potential conflict), and sometimes a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Yes, it is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness, but it’s important to acknowledge that it isn’t always. I find since being a mum, the pressure is even higher at Christmas time to make sure everything is perfect.

I usually wear several hats - the chef, the mediator, the gift wrapper, and essentially Santa Claus!

I have developed a series of strategies that really help me during the festive season and I thought I would share them with you to help you look after yourself this Christmas.

1. Budget

Write a shopping list for gifts, along with a budget, and stick to it as closely as possible.

2. Be Prepared

Plan meals in advance. Where appropriate, cook certain meals a couple of days before Christmas mealtimes.

3. Plan Ahead

Have a set plan for Christmas Day, rather than leaving it last minute. This will avoid having no plans and the possibility of being stuck alone.

4. Listen to Music

Create a festive playlist of songs to play on the day. This can be Christmas carols, or not. Whatever is going to help ease your mind and relax.

5. Take a Mindful Minute

Stop. Take a deep breath. If things become overwhelming, take a minute to separate yourself from the event and focus on your breathing. This may be during a toilet break

6. Delegate tasks

If Grandma Judy offers to bring a salad, take her up on that offer.

If you would like your spouse or support person to mind the kids while you cook/prepare, ask them.

Although Christmas may not always be smooth sailing for everybody, there are steps you can put in place to look after yourself and set your day up for success.

Have a wonderful Christmas and don't forget to LOOK AFTER YOU!

Carla Zietsman, otherwise known as The OT Guru, is a qualified occupational therapist with a keen interest in working with children.

When it comes to sensory processing, she is the “go to” expert. She prides herself in helping families overcome barriers and guiding children to reach their full potential.

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