Monday, 4 December 2017

When did we stop enjoying the magic of Christmas?

When did we become so busy we forgot to enjoy Christmas?

Everybody is busy. Especially the working parents of the world. I think most of us are only just managing to stay afloat. Am I right?

Take a moment to breathe and
practice gratitude

2017 has been one of those years where all we have heard is how busy everyone is. It’s one of the most overused words and it almost becomes a bit of a competition to see who is the busiest.
The year has absolutely flown by and I feel like I really haven’t had a chance to stop and enjoy the precious moments, despite making a conscious effort to do so.
However, over the last few weeks, I have really noticed the stress and overwhelm in people’s faces.
And I can relate.

This is the time of year when we have school finishing, break up parties (please bring a plate of savory/sweet/healthy/enough for two kids), swimming carnivals, choir performances, band performances, talent shows, ballet concerts, music concerts, awards nights, report cards, gym parties (#sorrynotsorry), work parties, family gatherings, visitors arriving, tired kids, the daunting arrival of school holidays and what to do with the kids, heat kicking in, financial pressure due to the expense of Christmas, the list is endless, I could go on all night.

When you pull off a costume
at the last minute!

I really can relate to this. I have had so many moments where I can feel my heart rate increasing and the feeling of panic when you realise they need a costume for a Christmas concert and you have ten minutes to spare and the kid is already at school (this actually happened), or you realise you literally have not left a spare hour for Christmas Shopping, or that you don’t have a single day off (including Sundays), before Christmas.
All based on actual events.

Oh and then you remember you have taken on an extra massive project that has a deadline.

But what if the dialogue you keep telling yourself at this time of year is actually making it worse than it needs to be.
Here are two facts I need you to wrap your head around.

1.     We all have exactly the same amount of time available to us
2.     You are not the only human who is overwhelmed right now

There are a few dialogues I am hearing on repeat at the moment, (and I’m talking EVERY person I speak to) that I don’t believe are serving us currently.

1.     ‘I just need this week to be over’ – PLEASE don’t wish for time to move by any faster than it already is. Every single hour and day that is available to you is so incredibly precious. Be grateful for the time you have, the extra days you get with your family, the beautiful weather, the gorgeous long summer days and the smell of Christmas in the air. When you feel yourself wishing for time to pass or the week to be over, try this: Stop. Breathe and practice gratitude for the time you have been gifted.

2.     ‘I have too many parties/events/functions to train properly, take care of myself or eat well’ – Every single person can manage three x 30-45 minute sessions per week, even when you are at your busiest. Not only can you manage it, but it is ESSENTIAL. Exercise is the best stress relief medication. Take care of yourself, book it in like an appointment and get your butt there. Try it for one week, I can guarantee your heart rate will slow down a little, your breathing will calm down and you will sleep better. Yes, you can.

3.     ‘I hate this time of year’ – seriously? This is the time when we come together with family and celebrate another beautiful year together. It’s that time of year when we are meant to inject some magic into our children’s lives. How do you think they feel when they hear us saying this about their most magical time of year? You may not openly say it in front of them, but I can guarantee they are painfully aware of how you are feeling. Bring back the joy and magic and I can guarantee you will feel more joyful. Try it, joy is contagious!

4.     I’m just going to drink my way through December, it’s the only way I will survive it’ – OR you could exercise your way through this season and reserve the alcohol for special days. Again – what message are we sending our children if they see us ‘drinking our way through the festive season’? We take the magic of Christmas away fro m them and all they will remember are stressed, drunk parents.

5.     And finally….my absolute favourite, ‘You have no idea what it feels like to have this much on’. I’m not going to compete with you, because I’m not going to allow that dialogue to enter my being and affect my experience of Christmas this year, but I can promise you this, I am practicing mindfulness daily, I am thinking about the things I am grateful for at every opportunity and I am considering my children’s experience of Christmas every time I feel the heart rate increase or the feeling of overwhelm start to wash over me.
Treasure the special moments
They pass by so quickly

So this takes me back to my original question, when did we become so busy we forgot to enjoy Christmas?
Take a moment to sit back and enjoy this festive season.
Let’s support each other as working parents, rather than compete with each other and allow the stress to take over.
Let’s be grateful for the fact that we live in a time where we can celebrate Christmas so freely and comfortably and finally, catch yourself out when you feel yourself slipping into the dialogue that is not allowing you to enjoy your final few weeks of 2017. Take a breath and remind yourself how truly lucky you are.
Time is fleeting  - treasure it, hold your children close, teach them healthy habits and traditions around Christmas and have a happy and safe Christmas together.


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