"Winter is a season of recovery and preparation."
– Paul Theroux
I look up at the clock and its 3pm. I close down my work, jump in the car, whiz across Blackheath to do the school run. Actively working to calm my mind flow as the soothing sounds of Classic FM undulate over. When I feel pressed for time I always try to take a moment to be grateful for all that I have and then take a big breath of calming air in my busy body. It helps me to re-center.
By the time we are home its dark. Then, after dinner, homework and family time, it’s really dark.
When the children have gone to bed it’s a mix of television show re-runs, tidying up, finishing off emails, Christmas preparations and making school Christmas fair jars. In a phrase: Controlled Chaos
December is one of the busiest months and trying to stay focused and motived, while keeping Christmas in perspective, can be very overwhelming.
"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude."
- William Shakespeare
It is a month where nature hibernates and to save her energy in the chilly temperatures.
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home."
- Edith Sitwell
It is a month of preparation and anticipation.
If you can turn the high tensions and a hectic times into season of giving, not just presents but also stopping to remember to give time to yourself and others. Slowly and steadily, we can reclaim Christmas as a time of peace and joy.
These 5 top tips for maintaining a time balance for you and your Christmas to do list might help you find your way along the long dark road to the magic of Christmas day, and into the new year:
Start the day right
Let go of guilt
Reward you and your family
START THE DAY RIGHT
Whatever your home set up, having a calm morning keeps the day in perspective.
Always prepare for the day the night before. School bags, activity bags, work bags will all benefit from having a little time given to them while the kids are in bed so there is no last minute madness the next morning.
Wake up and have a glass of water. This immediately increases your brain power.
Set a daily intention, mine this morning was stay focused on the small jobs
Stretch – lie on your bed on your back and putting your feet together stretch out your inner thighs – lie on your front and one at a time lift your foot to your bottom and hold your ankle – lie on your front and stretch from your toes to the tips of your fingers – take 5 long intentional deep breathes
Make your bed
Put some music on, the music you and your house get ready to impacts the mood for the rest of the day
Eat right – breakfast like a king!
Walk – either to school or to work and breathe. Walking and breathing boosts brain power, lowers depression, burns calories and reduces stress
LET GO OF GUILT
At this very busy time we can feel very guilty if we miss the school play for work deadlines or miss seeing family or friends who are far away.
You can only ever try your best
Focus on what matters to you
Remember how lucky you are and why
Plan down time with family
Organise new year time with friends and put a date in the diary
Plan fun wintry activities during the weekend if the weeks are too busy to stop
It sounds cliché but sticking to a written to do list can keep you focused and guide you through the mayhem of a consuming day so you can get your jobs done.
Go back to your Christmas book and keep it up to date with all jobs to do with Christmas preparations – see our blog from November 15th, Easy Tips to Help You Get Ready for Christmas)
Start and finish one job at a time
Try to fit in 2 -3 household management jobs or Christmas prep jobs in each working day
Small steps at a time, so try to limit what you are doing to 15 minutes. This is a good time frame for tidying jobs and also for breaking down large tasks into sections
Reward yourself with a break, walk, stretch and a lovely cup of tea Pukka Tumeric Gold Tea https://www.pukkaherbs.com/shop/organic-teas/turmeric-gold/
Be prepared for each job and manage it in the right place. For example, if you are wrapping presents for posting aboard then make sure that have everything you need in front of you and spread yourself out on the kitchen table. This stops the distraction that comes when you need to get up to find something and helps you to be more productive with your time. Make a Christmas wrapping box, with everything from scissors, Sellotape, gift tags, envelopes and address book – whatever you know you’ll need to get the job done.
Make jobs fun and rewarding – you’d be surprised how nostalgically rewarding a cup of Horlicks can be!
REWARD YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY
Having kindness, compassion, excitement and time together at the end of a busy week can really help everyone to get through a busy week.
Decorate the Christmas tree and the house
Invite friends over for Winter solstice and let go of winter lanterns
Homemade wreathes with locally sourced materials
Go ice skating
Make bird feeders
Make your own Christmas cards and wrapping paper
Make a DIY present for your teacher
Go and watch a Christmas movie
Have a family day out at a Christmas market
See the Christmas lights in London – Kew Gardens is incredible
Make a food parcel for the food bank
Long winter walk with friends and a pub lunch
Games evening with all the Christmas tree lights on, PJs and hot chocolates
Time management is a big concern for mothers these days. Between kids’ activities, household responsibilities and, for many, the demands of a stressful workplace, mothers have given up on the fight to find time for themselves and are just trying to get everything done. These are some luxurious gift ideas for your Christmas list.
Make time to have some time. Unless you make time it won’t happen. Ask and you will receive! Plan in and it will happen!
All of the above will help you to create an inspiring place to wake up, a soothing place to arrive home in the evening and a relaxing place to live. It becomes apparent that time and energy put into creating a peaceful home can translate into energy saved and stress relieved.
"When things change inside you, things change around you."
Love and warmth to you all