How to keep your cool over the holidays

Christmas is meant to be a time for family. loved ones and happiness but with this it also brings a lot of stress. We all feel the pressure to provide the "perfect Christmas" for our family with lots of presents, laughter and great food and drink.

The reality, especially with kids, is often very different. We all know the issues that we face - it might be choosing where to have Christmas (or who to disappoint), family that don't get on, stress over money and presents or the pressure of having to be the perfect hostess or chef. Add to the fact that our kids probably won't sleep at all tonight there is a reason many of us feel extremely frazzled by the time the big day comes around.

Within the craziness and the presents I will give you some advice on how to keep your cool and make some time for yourself. 

It is even easier than ever to neglect yourself over the holidays, the time issue is even more critical for a lot of us so we just try and muddle through hoping to avoid any arguments or conflict.

My recommendation to you is to make sure you have at least 30 minutes to yourself every single day over the holidays. Think about when you can have this and stick to it. Ideally you will still be able to do some of your morning routine but if you are staying somewhere different or the kids are in your bed before 6am this could prove difficult. 

As a minimum have your water by your bed to drink as soon as you wake up to combat dehydration (this is needed even more if you have been partaking in some Christmas drinks), do a few stretches and eek out a couple of minutes (even hiding in the bathroom) to do some breathing exercises. Then set your intention for the day to help give you focus, mine is "I intend to focus on my children, my partner and myself and our happiness and not be influenced by other people"

If you have time in the morning I would suggest doing your journalling and saying your affirmations. If you can't then later in the day works - especially if you are journalling about what you are grateful for. By writing down how grateful you are for your health, your partner, your family it helps ground you and focus on what is important not family politics, squabbles or traffic!

Many of us feel pressure points throughout the day. When you feel that you are going to say what you really think or snap at a relative take a moment to focus on your breathing or countdown from 10 to stop the retaliation.

One of my sure fire feel good activities is always exercise, on Christmas Day see what you can feasibly do - even if it is just a walk outside it helps to clear your head and will make you feel better. Over the rest of the holidays see if you can schedule in exercise every day - I am lucky enough to be a member of a gym that only shuts on Christmas Day (although I feel for the employees) but it doesn't need to be rigorous, things you can do as a family and incorporate into your day work just as well.

I always talk about how you should surround yourself with positive people, you can't choose your family (or your in-laws) and I am sure we all have a few whose energy is pretty negative. When they are speaking to you think about how you will deal with their negative comments - if they say something to you that you don't like accept it and move on. Repeat your positive affirmations to yourself and choose not to let it get to you.

Finally, think about your trigger points and what you can do to avoid them. I know I can be a nightmare when I am tired so have already planned a mid morning power nap before we hit my in laws so I am refreshed and I won't let my narky, sarky side out. Other people can get hangry so if this is you make sure you eat (even if you have a massive lunch ahead). Get your partner on board or other allies so if you feel that it is all getting too much you have someone on your side.

Most of all, look after you. If you need to go and have 15 minutes time out don't be afraid to do so. Protecting your sanity and looking after yourself is always important and in times where the pressure is on to have the best time it is even more so.

I hope you all have a wonderful day

Ruth xx