‘Raise up cups of Christmas cheer. I just need to catch my breath, Christmas by myself this year.’
Only a crazy person would attempt Blogmas, right? 25 blog posts, complete with photographs, SEO proof reading, post links and original content? For a perfectionist like me, it’s enough of a struggle writing one post without obsessing over it like a madman…but this year it actually seems to be going ok!
For bloggers, Christmas is well…Christmas to us. It’s one of the most inspirational, creative and decorative times to splash out on expensive festive blog props, adorable kitsch tree baubles and as many gingerbread lattes as we can get our hands on, all in the name of blogging.
But Christmas can also be super stressful, and as so many of us suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety, busy holidays and loud music and bright colours can all get a little bit too much sometimes. So although I love Christmas to pieces, and I’m adoring doing Blogmas this year, here are my top tips to take a step away from Christmas and rejoin the real world for a while, just until the bells have stopped ringing and your Grinch-esque heart has stopped beating itself to death.
One of the best ways to get your head out of Christmas? Planning for the future. Buy a calendar (ignoring the one that your mum has obviously wrapped up for you under the tree), whip out next years diary, and get planning. Plan your January blog posts, plan your New Years Eve, write down the release dates of your favourite movies, make lists of what to get your best friend for her birthday in March and plan that perfect Valentines/Galentines get away.
With so much to do, and so much to see, consume, and purchase in such a short space of time, it can seem like the holidays will never end. But they will, and you need to be ready when they do.
This might sound like a weird one, but watching the News can really put your Christmas into perspective. Reminding yourself that there are so many un-festive events and tragedies and moments happening all around the world can help to expand that little bubble we trap ourselves in this time of year. Take half an hour to absorb yourself in it – ignore the fairy lights, leave the candles unlit, have a normal cup of tea, and just involve yourself in the real world for a while. It might make you even more grateful to have a Christmas to come back to.
Arrange to go for a quiet coffee with a friend, and talk about everything other than Christmas. Go to the cinema, and find the least festive film you can and lose yourself in it. Take a walk in the park, and take some snaps of the frosty grass. Avoid the high street at all costs, and don’t even think about braving a shopping centre – Santa knows where you shop.
Christmas might be the time for joy, fun and festivities, but with most of us having two weeks off, it could also be a really good time to catch up your work for the year ahead. Do some boring school work, read a few books for uni, fill out those insurance forms you’ve been putting off and write yourself a tax rebate. These are the jobs you’ll be dreading come January, so give yourself a break. Get them done now, and let yourself just be miserable in January…everyone else will be.
Perhaps the easiest way to take yourself out of Christmas mode? Music. There are only so many seasonal songs you can listen to before wanting to scream, but there is a gloriously unlimited array of non-festive tunes to escape into when it all gets too much. A happy summer playlist? A soft romantic track? Disney songs, musicals, theme music or 80’s power ballads. Whatever you listen to in the 11 months of the year, where everything is semi-normal, listen to it now, and just enjoy the balance.
Sport has no seasonal sentience. Footballs don’t glitter gold and red at Christmas. Swimming pools aren’t filled with mulled wine. Yoga mats aren’t replaced with wrapping paper, and hockey sticks aren’t made out of gingerbread. Exercise is exercise in every season, come rain or shine, and no matter what you do, Christmas can’t follow. Take an hour out of tree decorating to go for a run, or break out of the baking to hit the gym for a while. Whether it’s the same class you’ve been going to all year, or just a one off attempt at shifting some of that mince pie munching guilt, a little bit of fitness could really relax you as the big day approaches.
We all know that baking is the trend of the festive season. Cinnamon scented cookies, icing sugar stars, gingerbread mansions and glacier cherry Rudolf noses adorn every inch of your kitchen. It’ll take weeks to get the smell of nutmeg out of your hair and that melted marzipan snowman has definitely ruined your favourite apron.
So why not cooking something. Whip up some ordinary boring spaghetti. Have a salad. Eat a pie filled with actual meat, and plate up those British bangers and mash. Cook anything that’s not turkey, stuffing, pigs, blankets, or anything containing cranberries and sprouts. Make those weekday meals your priority…the big dinner can wait.
Read a book
And yes, the Night Before Christmas is definitely off the list. Find the most un-festive book imaginable – The Hunger Games, The Missing, 50 Shades of Grey – anything that takes place in a universe, time period, or genre where Christmas is absolutely unmentionable.
Find a room with no decoration in it. Grab a cup of tea (or a glass of water…hydration always helps those Holly Jolly Christmas Headaches) and just curl up and enjoy it. Turn off your phone, your laptop, your dancing snowmen and all other December-based distractions and read.
Finished all of them? Ok, breathe in, and now breathe out. It’s Christmas 2016, and you can do this. Now go hang those stockings, crack open the Celebrations and watch something disgustingly festive. Before you know it, it’ll all be over, and you’ll be itching for next December again.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope these tips have helped anyone struggling with the insanity of this most joyful period! If you have any more tips to help ease those anxious minds, leave them in the comment for others to read!