Somehow it is November. I don’t know about you but the time seems to have zoomed by and I have missed chunks of the year somewhere? And now Christmas is just around the corner … there I said the ‘c’ word, the first one of the year. I have not even thought about it yet, however some have finished their shopping? Anyone else panicking? Feeling a bit overwhelmed already? Then you are not alone.
With the lead up to Christmas comes the huge to-do lists, the presents to find and buy, writing cards, posting in time for overseas, keeping the diary up to date with events and functions, getting the shopping done, wrapping presents … the list goes on! All in all, to many, including me, it can be a real headache and quickly become overwhelming. That feeling of what we should or should not be doing can be sickening, especially when online accounts seem to have it all under control and money no limit …
So what can we do? What practical things can I share with anyone else feeling the same?
When I put my artist hat on my answer to this seasonal madness and worry is to go for a walk, look around at the gorgeous trees turning and showing their skeleton shapes. The countryside seems to be the perfect balm for most worries, even if it is just a temporary five minute break or time out to clear your head. When was the last time you stopped and just looked when out on a walk? What did you hear or smell? We often walk daily routes and rarely take time to notice the smaller things, try it and become lost in the detail. It is a great way to escape and forget any worries.
I have noticed the ever changing woodland floor becoming carpeted with increasingly crunchy leaves, that chalky muddy aroma growing in strength and the low afternoon sunlight creating amazing shadows.
In a previous life I was a hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and well-being coach. When I put that hat on, there are some really useful reminders to deal with the overwhelm of the season ahead…
Often we can overthink or perceive a situation in a way that is not realistic or true. We find problems where they do not exist, the term making mountains out of mole hills comes to mind, I am great at this. Let’s look at an example, there is a family gathering or work party you are dreading … you assume what will happen, maybe from a previous experience or other factors involved. Firstly, is it really that bad or is it just your perception telling you that? What could you do or put in place to make it more enjoyable? What are the positives? Had you even thought about the positives! How could you reframe or look at the issue in a different way that would make it more favourable?
My next favourite for dealing with the festive season, write it down. It could be money worries, finding presents, organising the timings for dinner prep, arranging the yard to ensure everything is running smoothly. Instead of laying in bed worrying at 4.26am put some allotted time aside specifically for planning, make that time something to look forward to. How about a coffee date with yourself at your favourite cafe or maybe light a candle, some nice music and your comfy PJs on the sofa. No special stationary required, although it is a good excuse, and just write, write, write. The act of putting thought onto paper is not only cathartic, often it helps make sense and get things straight. You may find some of those worries keeping you up at night appear ridiculous on paper and you will wonder what you were thinking, you may find on paper that actually getting that dinner out on the table before the Queens speech is do-able and maybe some of those tasks you have listed could be delegated to someone else?
When it comes to money and presents, it is a cliche, but less is more. Do we really need to buy so much? The worry of finding presents for everyone can be a nitemare; the multiple treks around shops, maybe leaving it too late, the need for a secret santa or a large family where gifts are required for all. So, forget the plastic rubbish and huge chains, instead how about supporting local and have a look at what is out there close to you.
The farm shops are full of stunning gift ideas at the moment, many show-casing local products and putting together hampers to make life easier. Look out for local fayres as well, we have a Frost Fayre here along with lots of local craft and artisan events to look forward to. Not only is it a lovely escape in this hectic time, but you get to discover such an array of products that there really is something for everyone.
Just a few ideas that I hope may help and more importantly, let you know you are not alone if the festive overwhelm is creeping in.
Regional Reporter - South East
Hello, my name is Lisa and I live in a tiny rural village in Kent. I am a full time mum to Alex and Emily and a self employed artist. My artwork is inspired by the seasons and my daily walks, my favourite style being a quick pen and wash illustration and lino printing. I have recently rebranded as Notes from the Hedgerow to share my artwork and adventures with our new springer spaniel puppy Bramble. My hobbies include visiting local places here in Kent, landrovers, crochet and training Bramble!