As a busy working mum, you are already juggling a number of different roles every day – breadwinner, solopreneur, taxi driver, cook, cleaner, dog walker, do-er of tasks that no-one else wants to do, diary planner and PA, and now, with Christmas on the horizon, you are also probably the chief card writer, present buyer, party planner, hostess and cook.
You are amazing, and deserve a gold star for everything that you do. But I guess we tend to feel that these different roles come with the ‘job’ and it’s ‘expected’ that you will just take on all these extra Christmas responsibilities because, let’s face it, they won’t get done otherwise. And you love decorating the house and garden with twinkly lights, getting together with friends and family, celebrating with delicious food and wine …
But whilst all this sounds wonderful and makes for a fantastic Christmas, no-one, least of all your loved ones, wants this to be at the cost of your well-being.
Let’s not forget that it’s also wintertime, and like the hedgehogs, this is a time for hibernating, rather than going out in the cold weather, with your body trying to entice you into bed earlier.
Want to sparkle like a star that you are this festive season? Here are 7 self care strategies to help you feel more present, calm and in control.
7 Self Care Strategies
1. Take some deep breaths
If the feelings of overwhelm have caught up with you, then taking some slow deep breaths to help you reconnect with yourself and a feeling of calm.
2. Start a daily mindfulness practice
Mindfulness is a fantastic way to calm your mind, particularly when you are feeling overwhelmed by all the build up to the festive season.
You could meditate for 5 minutes, focus on watching a candle flame for a few moments or go for a wintery walk.
The beauty of this practice is that you choose an activity that will help you to focus on something other than your thoughts (and your to-do list!) for a few moments.
3. Listen to what you need
Often we get caught up by what everyone else needs and forget about ourselves. By giving yourself a few minutes to do a mindful activity to help you to slow down your mind and notice how you are feeling, this practice can also help you to reconnect with yourself and, discover what’s going on for you right now.
It may help to do this as a journaling exercise where you ask yourself a few of the following questions:
- How am I really feeling right now?
- What’s causing me to feel overwhelmed?
- What one thing can I take off my to-do list today to help manage these feelings of overwhelm?
- What do I need?
- What one thing can I do for myself right now to take care of myself?
4. Rest when you need to
This is a particularly busy time of year, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s also winter time. I find that taking a nap when I need to, helps me to recharge my batteries.
I don’t know about you, but I think it feels like there’s still an unwritten rule that we should always be on the go. But taking a nap when your body needs it, is a great way to take care of yourself and recharge. Having checked in with some of the experts – the ideal nap time is 20 minutes (no longer than 30 minutes), and this allows you to have a light sleep and not feel groggy afterwards.
5. Set clear boundaries with loved ones
How many of your boundaries could do with some realignment this Christmas?
- What do you need, to take care of you over the festive season?
- If you’re hosting Christmas, what support would you like on the day e.g. with the cooking, last minute tidying, hosting?
- How do you recharge your batteries, particularly when you are hosting/visiting family?
- What conversations around the table make you feel anxious or stressed, and would prefer not to engage in this festive season? (For example, in recent years, I have found that discussing what’s happening to the climate has been particularly triggering).
About 10 years ago, I attended an assertiveness course at work, and the key take away for me was that when you want to feed back to someone about something e.g. what’s making you feel anxious or stressed, if you start with ‘I feel …’ no-one can take that away from you.
6. Be ready to enjoy receiving
As a busy working mum, you are always giving out and Christmas is a wonderful time for giving e.g. our time as a volunteer, donations to charity or gifts to our loved ones. However it’s also a special time for receiving gifts, compliments, and support. For some of us, this can feel overwhelming. But let’s give it a go, be open to receiving from others, and notice what happens.
If it helps, think about the last time you gave something to someone you love. How did they receive your gift? How did it make you feel?
7. Ask for help
You may have a tendency to want to do it all yourself. You are a super mama after all. However, this can often make it difficult for you to admit to yourself let alone to others, that you may need some help sometimes e.g. with cutting up all the parsnips, potatoes, brussels sprouts, red cabbage ready for the big meal; wrapping the presents, or doing the final hoover before the guests arrive.
Even if you are used to cooking all the family meals, how would it feel to ask for some help this time round? Perhaps this could become a new festive tradition? I appreciate that it may take longer particularly if the kids are involved, but think of the memories that you create if you have enough time, and get everyone involved?
Which of these ideas are you most excited about taking forward to help you feel more present, calm and in control, in the run up to Christmas, even if you are feeling overwhelmed right now?
Would you like to create more focus and flow to your day and your week, and feel more fulfilled and less frazzled by the end of your working day but don’t know where to start?
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© Louisa Daubney Coaching 2022-23
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Louisa Daubney disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.