December can be a bit bonkers. Officially it’s ‘the season to be jolly’, to celebrate and share and spend time with loved ones. Often it’s all these things. But it can also be stressful and expensive and exhausting. If you’re in danger of sinking under a flood of festive season pressures, you’re not alone. Here are five survival strategies that may help you stay afloat. They could also set you up to sail into a successful 2019.
Take care of yourself
Commit to doing your best to protect your physical and mental well-being. Write yourself a promise; make a plan and share it with someone you trust, consider getting an accountability buddy.
The Internet is choc full of advice on how to celebrate and stay healthy. Here are three of our favourite posts.
- Balance indulging with sensible eating and drinking (recipes included)
- Keep moving
- Take time out – 10 quick ways to take a break from festive stress
Whether or not you’re flush with festive invites find some quiet time to recharge your batteries. Do whatever works for you, curl up and read, swim, sleep, make a new playlist, meet one close person for coffee.
Be ‘good enough’
We’re pretty certain that nobody’s real Christmas mirrors the shiny picture perfect images we see in shops and on our screens. Tell yourself that ‘good enough’ is actually great.
Do your best with food and gifts and friends or family members’ festively challenged behaviour. If things fall short of your own or others’ expectations, salvage the festive spirit by not taking this too seriously or too personally.
If Christmas lunch turns out to be a ‘turkey’ (but not on a good way) or the dinner discussion gets dicey remember you’re not alone. Millions of people everywhere are sharing their version of your imperfect experience.
Budget both money and time
Decide not to go on a spending frenzy. Increase your chances of sticking to your guns by:
- Shopping smart and early – make year round time to choose great little gifts. Avoiding the desperate last ditch moments like Christmas Eve can save you heaps of stress and money
- Agreeing on who gets gifts – set limits with your nearest and dearest. Maybe relatives you rarely see outside of Christmas or your siblings’ adult children simply merit a kind word or a card
- Go for secret Santa – protect your budget with anonymous set price gift giving. Take the hassle out of organising your Secret Santa with this free app.
When it comes to organising events, share the load. Save time and earn yourself a break by calling for contributions to a shared meal, Rope in family and friends to clean and sort and organise.
Prepare for the New Year
Whether you spent 2018 loving your current job or looking of fulfilling work, take time to review at the year that was.
Look back and smile
Take a gentle, non-judgemental look at what worked well and what didn’t. This will help you make personal and work related New Year resolutions you can keep.
Ask yourself these ten questions
- What, or who, am I most grateful for?
- Which small things gave me the most pleasure day to day?
- What new things did I learn about myself?
- Which of my personal strengths was most valuable this year?
- Which stand out achievement am I most proud of?
- What was my biggest work related break-through?
- What was the trickiest problem I solved?
- Which worrying events never actually happened?
- What one thing would I do differently and why?
- Which funny moment still makes me grin when I think about it?
Record your answers. Dot points, doodles and drawings are every bit as good as complete sentences. Use your answers to help you decide what you might do more of, less of or differently in 2019.
Look forward to a fresh start
Make the kind of practical, measurable plans that could put you in the 20% of people whose New Year resolutions last longer than February.
If you’re looking for work here are four kick starters
- Ask three people in your network of family and friends if they could put you in touch anyone who works in field that interests you
- Create a skills based resume to apply for jobs you’ve no direct experience in but know you could do
- Do one new thing every week or every month – take a class, join a group, cook a new recipe, change your exercise routine,
- Volunteer – trade an hour or a day or a week of your time for new skills and experience in a job you’re keen to explore
Get and give support
Beyond the feasting and gift giving the great festivals of Christmas and New Year celebrate kindness and connection and our potential to grow and change.
Besides getting the support you need and sharing the work of organising for a fun festive season, think about lending hand to someone who may be struggling to celebrate.
The Festive Season can be very tough for people who are disconnected from family and community for a variety of reasons. People who are bereaved or separated and travellers and migrants can feel terribly lonely and isolated when everyone else seems to be having a fine time.
Throw an Orphans’ Christmas, volunteer for a charity that serves Christmas lunch or be brave and simply reach out to someone who you know is having a difficult time.
However you choose to celebrate it, the Forrest Personnel family wish you and yours a peaceful, happy Festive Season.
Numbers to call if you need urgent support this Festive Season
• Lifeline on 13 11 14
• Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
• MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
• Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
• Parent line 1300 301 300
• Q Life (LGBTIQ) support line 1800 184 527