I'm so thankful for the happy Christmas memories from my childhood - the joy of decorating the house, the excitement of the last weeks of term, the magic of Christmas Eve and Morning... and the family parties. As a mum now, I see the effort my parents put into making it special for my brother and me. We were fortunate.
I've also experienced the pain Christmas can bring, losing my Dad suddenly at 16 and I empathise with anyone feeling that heightened sense of grief now. I've learned to cherish special moments.
I want to create the magic I experienced for my girls and now that they’re 8 and 4, it’s prime time. With a very busy business in my care also, this time of year is always full-on. Here are some tips I’ve learnt over the last few years that help me get through smiling. None of this is rocket science, but I think being mindful around certain things can really help everyone enjoy themselves - because in order to really have a great time, you have to feel good in yourself.
1 - Indulgence in Moderation:
This might be a little controversial, as I do believe that letting yourself go and indulging is lovely over the festive period - but only if it makes you feel good. For me, I feel pretty rubbish after binging out on food I don’t normally eat, so it’s just not worth it. This isn’t about calorie counting or wanting to fit into my jeans, it’s about how lethargic I feel after the sugar crash or how bloated and uncomfortable I feel after a mountain of food and endless snacks. I used to think - Oh it’s Christmas so I can tuck into the tin of Roses….but if I’m honest, it never really made me feel good. So now, I indulge in whatever I want with absolutely zero guilt, but I’m sure to not do this mindlessly…and this has just become second nature. It means that I can enjoy a lovely lunch, but still keep it healthy - and have some pudding, but not feel like I need an elusive nap afterwards.
2 - Plan Your Fitness Break:
Keeping your fitness routine, whatever that might mean to you, can be really tricky over the festive season. I’ve found in the past that once this slips, it can have a bit of a domino effect on other areas of your wellness. I now find that having a solid plan around the time I'm taking off and being strict on when to get back into it, stops this. Strength training is a big part of my life and when I’m not gong to the gym regularly, I really feel it. That said, I can also find I have to muster my energy to get back into the gym after a week off. Having a plan around training is energising in itself.
3 - Saying No:
We can’t do it all. Whether it be drinks, a dinner, or an extra trip to see relatives… spreading ourselves too thinly doesn’t serve anyone well. So don’t feel bad in saying you can’t make it. We used to drive up and down the country seeing family and were totally frazzled by January. Now we commit to either mine or my husband’s family and even though this can be tough, it makes things more peaceful and manageable. We also make sure we have some days where we can take it easy, even if this means turning some invitations down.
4 - Keep the Kids' Routines:
It’s so easy to let bedtimes slip throughout the festive season, especially if you’re not at home. I’ve found that after a string of late nights, my kids are in a foul mood, with less patience and understanding - which just ruins everyone’s day and also isn’t fair on them. I’m all for a coupe of later nights, but beyond that I try to make sure they’re in bed and eating at a similar time as they would normally, even if this means we have to cut things short. Happier children = happier parents.
5 - Small Wins:
Taking your supplements, keeping up with your skincare, taking a minute to stretch or do a bit of face massage, packing in a vegetable juice. These are quick moments that are an opportunity to pause and check in with yourself. I think taking Equi each morning is a real ritual of self care and sets you up on a positive trajectory for your day.
I think one of the real secrets in enjoying the holidays is continuing to ensure you feel your best. When you do, you can face most things - whether it be last minute shopping, a tricky family member or overcooked turkey.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas! Xxx