Lifestyle Blog

How to prioritise you this festive season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song goes. But for many, the highs of the festive season can come with some almighty lows. Anxiety, burnout and stress can often mean that the festive season can take its toll.

With a never ending “to do” list ahead of you, self-care is often the very last thing to get a look in. However, it seems now is the time to start prioritising your well-being so you can survive unscathed and truly rejuvenated for the new year.

For women in their twenties and thirties there are some key areas to look out for, says Life Coach and author of The Quarter- Life Coach Paula Coogan. And for Paula, it can depend on the individual. “For single women, a major cause of stress this time of year is feeling lonely, family prying into their personal life and being able to say no to demands on time as people assume “what else will she be doing?” For people in a relationship or married, again boundaries are a big thing. People pleasing behaviour, but here you’re trying to please two families and two sets of friends potentially.”

Boundaries, or the complete lack thereof, can cause underlying levels of stress. For many, being able to say no, and prioritising your own time is crucial.

Friends and family intruding into your life can also add stress. “This again comes down to boundaries and having the strength to say “I don’t want to discuss X part of my life right now” and being able to let go of the fear of what they will think. Do you really care what they think? Is what they think more important than your integrity? Often the reason we don’t like being around certain people is because they get in our spa, physically or emotionally, in a way that is uncomfortable to us. On those days, limit the time that you will be around them if you can.”

Another trigger for stress is the expectations we put on ourselves this time of the year. This can have a negative effect on our well-being.

“Don’t put crazy expectations on yourself because you will end up feeling disappointed and that inner critic will have a field day telling you you’re not good enough, organised enough, quick enough etc. It is the season of giving however, in order to give your personal resources and time, energy and attention to others, you need to ensure that you fill up your own well first.”

Having non-negotiable time in your diary is about prioritising you. What are you going to that party? Is it the fear of missing out? “ Challenge your reasoning. Often I see people who go to events that they really don’t want to out of fear of what other people may say about them if they weren’t there. If that’s the case, do you really case, do you really care what these people think? And what is driving your decision making process? Fear or desire?

For parties, you have to go to, set an intention. What’s the purpose of the evening? Decide what you want to get from it. Would you like to have fun and have a few laughs? Do you want to get to know that decision maker? Do you just want to show your face and then slip away for an early night in? Decide before you go and that will set the tone for your night, “ she says.

It is also a time when your immune system and physical well-being takes a hit and so when you do eventually get to enjoy a few days off, you can find you are either too exhausted to truly enjoy it or are nursing a cold or flu. “Self care in the proper sense of the word, is not a treat of a glass of wine, some chocolates or overspending; it is about sleep and relaxation. It is about ensuring that you are nurtured physically, emotionally and physically. Prioritise sleep, go for that daily walk and stock up on vitamins.

And what final piece of advice would she recommend as we approach a brand new year? “Create time and space reflect on the previous 12 months so that ultimately it ends as a positive experience. Even if it was a very bad year, acknowledge that you had the strength and resilience to get through it and that you honour that. Then set an intention or theme for the next year and create your own goals and focus on that feeling instead of the other wat around.”