This year I was somewhat surprised to realise it was December.
Whereas in years past I have seen it coming, this time round not so much. Sunday morning whilst looking at the calendar, I had a ‘gosh it’s here’ moment and decided that as unready as I felt and as inconvenient as it seemed to now have to accommodate all a festive season entails, procrastination would not be the best idea. I needed a plan.
It’s not like we haven’t all done Christmas before but still, given the same conversations take place every year and the stress levels that escalate because of the to do’s, I think there’s a space for a few simple strategies for any of us feeling unready or simply too occupied with other things.
1. Start now & define your season
Inclined as we may feel to put off the things we are not ready for, when something is going to happen or has to be done, there’s no time like the present for simply biting the bullet and getting on with it. Delaying will not make any of our to-do’s go away.
Before you press repeat on the season, it’s worth taking a moment to ask if your version of Christmas matches the current version of you. Have you been doing Christmases in a way that is expected but isn’t you? What can you let go of that only stresses you out anyway?
Your season will always feel imbalanced whilst ever the version of Christmas you are trying to live is not yours, but someone elses.
If you find that the season always feels fraught, maybe its time to look at what Christmas means for you and then drop anything which doesn’t serve that ideal.
2. Have a Brain Dump
Now you’re clear on what’s important, write down everything you need to do. Writing things down takes all those thoughts swirling around in our head and grounds them. Once you have a list, you have a visual and we all know the importance of a visual! Our brains are wired for making happen what they think we want. Seeing a list strengthens that connection to take action.
3. First the worst
Begin by doing the thing you least feel you want to. The longer we put a thing off, the bigger it gets in our head as ‘THAT THING I still need to do’!
For me, synonymous with the season was getting year-end paperwork off to the accountant. In my mind it had become one of the biggest jobs I had to do in December. Much as I didn’t want to, I made myself spend Sunday getting all that paperwork done so it would be out of the way and not an element of dread in my festive season. Needless to say, I was so pumped to have it finished and immediately got on to the next thing on the list.
4. One bite at a time
is how you eat an elephant. Well so they say – I’ve never tried. Breaking down big jobs into smaller components is one of my go-to key strategies in life. Having completed the accounts paperwork, I had a 45-minute window in which I started hauling the boxes of decorations out of the cupboards. With time still on the clock, I got one swag up and a couple of other dec’s. Later that evening, the decision to just write a couple of cards a day ended up being four.
Making time for getting any dec’s up at all this week was not on the agenda but having the boxes out and cards in sight to be written, along with the intent to do what I could/when, has disarmed the power of that big chunk of time my mind was telling me I needed in order to make a start.
These simple strategies have made the shift happen for me this week so that with a plan, I am now able to enter into the season and enjoy. There is so much to appreciate and be thankful for at this time of year. Don’t let all there is to do to arrive at the destination of Christmas Day overshadow the journey of the season itself – it’s the season that holds the magic!