Christmas. The most wonderful (and the busiest) time of the year. For those self-employed among us, this season is one of ticking off to-do lists, crazy deadlines and all of the Christmas sales. It can be easy to feel the burnout, as we forget to enjoy the festive season, glued to our desks and full of stress.
It’s so important for our minds and bodies to stay calm, healthy and relaxed this time of year, as we’ll need all of our energy for the festivities and staving off the chill. So I’ve put together the 12 Days of Mindfulness Tips for all my friends in the freelance communities – making sure we take the time to relax, reflect and reconnect in between the piles of mince pies and Christmas deadlines.
On the first day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
- Take one walk outside.
One of the easiest ways to reconnect to yourself is to get outside. Whether you take a lunchtime stroll, enjoy some time at the park or take a long walk to your favourite coffee shop, it’s such a benefit to your mind to get some fresh air in your lungs. You can even incorporate your outdoor adventures with your festive to-do list, taking photos of holly berries and mistletoe for clients, or brainstorming January sales slogans from your garden. Make sure to wrap up warm, and grab a flask of tea before you go, but make sure you take in some of the beautiful outdoors and breathe just a little more this season.
On the second day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
2. Drink two cups of herbal tea.
As simple as it sounds, the act of drinking de-caff tea is a great way to calm your mind. Whether you opt for a peppermint, a ginger or even a seasonal spiced apple, holding a warm mug of tea between your hands can help to slow your heart rate and calm your thoughts – even if just for ten minutes or so. Try to use your mindfulness tea-drinking time as a break from the screens, the sketch pad or your phone and just enjoy the stillness for a few moments.
On the third day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
3. Do three sessions of meditation
I know it’s not always easy to remember to meditate on a daily basis. So why not break it down a little, and schedule at least three sessions of mindfulness meditation into your December calendar? Planning these ahead can give you something to look forward, to help you be more aware of your daily stress and to use the meditative period more efficiently. Try to space them out throughout the month, on days just before or after particularly busy periods, especially in the run up to Christmas Day.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
4. Write four big to-do lists
Although the science may argue on both sides of the to-do list, whether it actually does reduce stress or not, for most of us – we love a good to-do list. Block off some time at the start of the month, and find your favourite planner, sit down with a cup of tea and start planning. One of the most useful strategies for breaking down your to-do list is the number 4: Having 4 lists for the whole month. Work: Plan your work tasks, include emails that need to be sent, campaigns that need to be approved, sales updated and social content posted. Domestic: What needs to be done this month in your personal life? Do you need to book that holiday, pay that bill or fix that wonky shelf? Are there are any guests coming to stay with personal requirements you need to fulfil or tickets you need to buy? From the smallest food shop to the biggest winter clean, make sure you jot it all down. Festivity: This list covers every Christmas-related, except the gifts. Planning your Christmas tree decoration day, the afternoon spent baking mince pies, getting the decorations out of the attic, crafting your wreath and writing out your Christmas cards. Christmas Presents: Here is where you work out everyone you need to buy for, what you want to get and when you have time to buy it. From your Secret Santa to your partner in crime, make sure you’re on top of your present game ahead of schedule.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
5. Make five foodie creations
There’s a certain satisfaction from being in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, chopping vegetables and stirring soups. It can be incredibly therapeutic to simply switch on the radio, blast some old fashioned Christmas songs and just cook something. Whether you’re whipping up a tray of gingerbread men, prepping your veg for the Christmas eve pie or mixing up leftovers into a rich, warming soup, it’s a mindfulness detox that has been a tradition at Christmas for as long as we can remember.
On the sixth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
6. Plan six personal visits throughout December
One of the best ways to relax at Christmas is spending time with the people we love. Getting tipsy at the office party, popping in to drop off the family Christmas cards or meeting up for some Christmas shopping with your friends are all great ways to switch off your brain for a while and just enjoy the season. Even if just for an hour or so, it’s a great excuse to get together and celebrate the year gone by, without worrying about hitting deadlines, drafting copy or checking your inbox.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
7. Do seven acts of kindness
Kindness – simple and wholesome, and one of the best things you can do to reconnect with yourself this time of year. Try to do seven acts of kindness this Christmas, whether it’s donating old decorations or clothes to charity, sponsoring a Santa run or coming up with your own shoebox to send to a child in poverty. There are so many ways to give back to your community, and not only will you be making someone else’s Christmas, you’ll also feel pretty great too – which is always a good way to feel more mindful.
On the eighth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
8. Journal at least eight times this December
The process of sitting down, locking your phone and writing out your thoughts is one that can really help to clear your head on busy Christmas days. When you put pen to paper, you’re reconnecting your physical and mental health, even if all you write is a summary of your day. Try to journal at least eight times throughout the festive season, setting good intentions, making plans and focusing on getting your mind clear for the month ahead.
On the ninth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
9. Have nine sessions of digital detoxes
In the month of December, it can feel like we’re bombarded with screens. From sending Christmas wishes to friends far away, to online shopping and festive film watching, we rarely take our eyes away. This month, why not make the effort to do nine offline activities, either on your own or with the ones you love! Crafting, cooking, walking, painting, reading…anything you can do to calm your mind and switch off for just a little while.
On the tenth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
10. Reflect on ten positives of your life
Christmas is a season of buying, gifting, shopping and consuming. It’s a month of wistfully gazing at the neighbour’s Christmas tree and wondering ‘why doesn’t mine look that good?’. This December, let’s start some mindfulness reflection on ten positive elements of your life. Whether it’s a warm home, a solid freelancing career, a great new hairstyle in time for Christmas day, or even just the chance to partake in mindfulness exercises…It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it makes you happy.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
11. Laugh at least eleven times
We all know that Christmas is a jolly old occasion, but when we’re buried in work, we can forget about some of the most important parts of the holiday. Laughter is such an important part of relaxation, it fills us full of good positive thoughts and helps us to switch off from the stresses of our jobs. So get stuck into your favourite Christmas film, watch a comedian on Youtube, play some TikToks you love or simply spend time with the person you know will always make you smile.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my freelancer needs to:
12. Do twelve acts of Christmas activity
We are so lucky to be able to celebrate this magical holiday. To be in our comfortable homes, wearing our terrible Christmas jumpers and eating those mountains of mince pies. That’s a privilege we should never want to waste. So take advantage of the festivities, and get stuck in! Bake those gingerbread men, drink that hot chocolate, visit that Christmas market and just enjoy yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little guide to mindfulness and relaxation at Christmas. It’s so important to stay calm and centred in this chaotic season, so make sure you take a little time to yourself this year.
Thanks for reading! My last post, ‘What To Buy Your Freelancer For Christmas’ is currently live, so get stuck in!