Coping with Christmas and the Importance of Making Time for You…

What is it about expectations from others in the run up to Christmas?

I don’t know about you, but the 25th is still a few days away and yet the deadlines are looming, the client requests are mounting and my workload feels like a giant mountain that is ever growing.

And when it comes to the festive season, let’s face it, most of the time - the present buying, the wrapping and the food preparation mainly falls to us mums. Hats off to you if you have a partner who is a dab hand in the kitchen, (thankfully I have one of these) as this helps lighten the load.

But in between the festive ho ho ho’s, office parties and nativity plays where can we find the time and head space to be able to balance everything?

As working mums we’re used to stepping things up a gear, being ultra-organised and on top of everything. We have to be – otherwise we would have tears, tantrums and a whole lot more besides, and that’s just from the boss!

Seriously though, it’s about setting realistic expectations around what you can and can’t do and perhaps more importantly finding time to breathe. I don’t mean the necessity to breathe in and out, but more of finding a sense of calm in the craziness that is surrounding you right now.

It’s always worth taking a five minute walk (away from your desk and the shops) at lunchtime. Yes, it’s freezing cold outside at the moment, but notice the sky, the trees, the birds. It’s about stopping for just a moment and coming up with three things that you’re grateful for in your life. The health of your children, the fact you will even be having a Christmas dinner, and that you will spend some of your holiday time with your loved ones.

And yes the deadlines are still there, but people don’t mind if you give them enough warning that a project is going to take longer than expected. It’s when you don’t let them know this is the case and let them down at the last minute that usually leads to additional stress all round.

And when it comes to Christmas Day itself, please ensure that after all your hard work you get to put your feet up, even for just half an hour. Watch a favourite film, have a tipple or two, or eat some chocolate. Basically do something that makes you happy. Not the children, not any other family member. You!

Because when the festive season has passed as it always does, in a blur, it will be those moments of calm and how you felt, that will remind you of this year’s Christmas.

And at least you’re in a better place to ring in the New Year, than if you operate from a position of needing to please everyone else all of the time.

Nicola J Rowley is an Author, PR Strategist and Founder of the Working Mum Association, a global community to support, encourage and inspire working mums everywhere, so they never feel alone.

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