Updated: Dec 20, 2020
I'm pretty sure I’m not the only one who could really do with a week in a spa. Or an injection of sleep and energy. To be honest I would settle for a day on my own in a dark, silent room!
Like many, I am really looking forward to taking a holiday over Christmas and really switching off and recharging my batteries. But the reality is, Christmas is often much less relaxing as a parent than one thinks it should be.
While in normal times many non-parents are reluctant to get back to the office in the new year, many parents are often champing at the bit for some peace and quiet. No such luck this year, where for most of us a trip to the office is a distant memory and the lines between work and family life have become even more blurred.
Sometimes of course we are lucky enough to get a real dose of relaxation over Christmas. Last year was a real highlight for me. The kids were older and more self-sufficient than previous years and were well occupied by hijinks with their cousins. And we were truly spoilt, staying with the grandparents, where responsibilities in the kitchen were limited to chopping a few vegetables and stacking the dishwasher. For the first time in 7 years, we were able to relax on the sofa and I even read a whole book!
This year however, very few people will be let off the hook with all the household chores and kids entertainment.
So how can we still recharge our batteries and get that restoration that we so desperately need this year - more than any year before? And all in the absence of that spa weekend or family support?
Here’s my top tips on how to recharge and reboot this Christmas:
1. Give yourself permission to slow down, pause & be still
If you find it hard to switch off, I hear you. It can be really hard for us mums to pause and take time for ourselves. There is always something else on the to do list. Most of us are exhausted, desperate for a moment on the sofa to put our feet up. But how often do we actually do it? And even when we do, we struggle to know how to relax. It starts with the permission though, so if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids. I know from personal experience, we really can’t pour from an empty cup.
2. Let go of perfection
Are you getting stressed over things that really don’t matter? The perfect Christmas tree? The perfect roast potatoes? The perfect day? Perfection really can be the killer of joy. We only have a finite amount of energetic and mental resources (which are very depleted this year), and when we spend them on striving for perfection we don’t have as much to pour into our other priorities - like connection with our kids. How can you let go of perfection this year? What shortcuts can you take? Check in with yourself regularly to see where you’re spending your energy. Ask yourself what’s most important right now?
3. Communicate your needs
We are all feeling it this year. We all need a break. It’s really easy to get frustrated with your partner when your cup is empty and you desperately need some time to yourself and they don’t see it. They might also be better than you at just taking it for themselves! It can really help to consciously take some time to discuss your needs and theirs. They will most likely want to support you and when you communicate there is no guessing, no misunderstanding. If you can, try to allow space for your partner’s needs. When you do they are more likely to allow space for you too. You can then support each other and plan your days/weeks accordingly.
4. Get outdoors every day
Even if it's pouring with rain. Pull on your wellies, grab a brolly, wrap up warm. Listen to the changing sound of the rain drops on your umbrella. Feel the sensation of the cold air against your face. Seek out splashes of colour wherever you can. Jump in some puddles and find some joy and laughter. Even if the kids are kicking & screaming, make yourself that commitment to get outside in the fresh air and move. You will all benefit in mind and body.
5. Carve out small windows to dot moments of calm throughout your day
There’s lots of inspiration on the Nourish app. Maybe it's a yoga pose. Maybe it's a breathing exercise. Can you squeeze in 2 mins to breathe in some scent or essential oils? Or 4 mins for a meditation while escaping to the toilet? Give yourself permission to take those micro-moments out of the chaos, just for you. So you can re-centre and recharge and return to the mayhem with a little more energy and presence. When we are rushing through our days it can be hard to even find those little moments. So identify some cues - take a moment when the kettle's boiling; while the bath is running; as soon as the kids are in bed; while the kids are watching TV. Whatever works for you. Those little moments really do add up.
6. Super charge those opportunities for rest
Consider how you can carve out 10, 20 or even 30 minutes just for you and give yourself the gift of yoga nidra. Maybe the kids are watching TV, or your partner is doing bath time, or maybe he’s even cooking you dinner? Make that commitment to yourself that instead of spending 20 minutes scrolling through social media, instead of putting on another load of washing, you will plug into a restorative meditation on the Nourish app.
If you’ve only got 10 minutes try the Quick Time Out and Quick Fix Nidras or if you can stretch it to 20 minutes, I highly recommend the Deep Rest Nidra from Sara Johnson (Connect to Calm). This practice has literally saved my sanity during previous kids holidays! Finally if you can find a full 30 minutes, try the Reboot Nidra from Dot Zacharias (Restfully) to increase feelings of calm confidence and “I’ve got this” for the rest of the day.
I’m going to be doing my very best to walk the talk and adopt these as intentions for each and every day of the holiday.
I know it’s easier said than done sometimes, however when we make that commitment to ourselves, when we make set those intentions and when we share them with others, we are much more likely to follow through and make them happen. So I hope you will join me in making this small commitment to recharge and reboot this Christmas.
Wishing you all peace, love and joy this Christmas.
Sara Campin is a mum of two, a personal development coach and Founder of Nourish.
Sara is on a mission to empower parents to look after their mental health and make self-care easy and accessible for them by offering bite-sized wellbeing and calm at their fingertips via the Nourish app.
She is a passionate advocate of all things that nourish the mind and believes we all have the potential to achieve our personal and professional ambitions and find greater harmony and balance in our busy lives.