On the First Day Of Christmas my client said to me…
“How about a blog on how to survive Christmas when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed by work?”
What a great idea, I thought.
So here are my Twelve Ways of Christmas to help you be calm, happy and fully festive over the holidays.
On the first day of Christmas… If you feel you must work over the holidays, just plan work you will actually do. Avoid bringing home a whole pile of stuff ‘just in case’. You know, three pieces of work really is enough. You’ll easily get those done and very soon you’ll see those Three Ships Come Sailing In.
On the second day of Christmas… Don’t let undone tasks weigh you down like yesterday’s extra helping of Figgy Pudding. It’ll just make you feel bad and spoil the festive fun. Decide exactly when you’ll do each task and schedule it into your planner at a sensible time. Then, all you have to do is do it.
On the third day of Christmas… Make like Angel Gabriel with the Good News. Tell whoever needs to know that you won’t be working all Christmas. Hurrah! But make sure you let them know when you do intend to work. Keep relationships as smooth as Drifted Snow at a time when arguments about working at home can lead to frostiness.
On the fourth day of Christmas… Ensure a Silent Night by turning off your work emails. For the whole time. Yes, really. Yes, you. It makes such a huge difference and allows you to be fully present in each Christmassy moment.
On the fifth day of Christmas… See if you can get outside into the Winter Wonderland every day, even if it’s just a short stroll around the block. Even better, find a way to admire the Holly And The Ivy And The Running Of The Deer in the proper countryside.
On the sixth day of Christmas… Take time out, not just from work, but from family too. Avoid the Jingle Bells of a restless mind that can’t stop thinking, and meditate. Even ten minutes a day will make a difference.
On the seventh day of Christmas… Bring your very own Glad Tidings by noticing your Comforts and Joys each day. All sorts of mini disasters can floor you at Christmas, from over-cooked sprouts to sullen relatives, and they can feel like the end of the world. But make sure you count your blessings (or write them in a gratitude diary) and keep things festive.
On the eighth day of Christmas… Sleep In Heavenly Peace. This is the dark time of the year for a reason – animals hibernate, so you can too. Go on, find your inner dormouse, snuggle under your duvet and make sure you get plenty of restoring sleep.
On the ninth day of Christmas… Alcohol, rich food and family can lead to rows and tetchiness. Christmas does brings things up, it’s true, but remember God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (and women) and see if you can put them on hold to resolve at another time.
On the tenth day of Christmas… Make some New Year’s resolutions. Yes, I know, it feels a bit hackneyed, but it’s so worth taking time out at this time of year to think ahead. Do some visioning about what might have worked out really well by next Christmas. You never know, you might find your year has been a Fairy Tale Of New York.
On the eleventh day of Christmas… See if you can forget about worries at work for the duration of the holidays. You can deal with all that next year. Forget the little tensions and conflicts – this is a time for a truce. Merry Christmas, War Is Over!
And on the twelve day of Christmas… Just before you return to work, spend an hour or two thinking about what you’re going back to. Do some planning of the first week so you can hit the ground running, in a gentle way.
So here are my Twelve Ways of Christmas. Stick with these over the next few weeks and you can’t go far wrong.
And remember, it won’t be long until you can completely change your tune. It’ll soon be a very happy case of We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday.