I love Christmas. I’m blessed with wonderful family and friends and I love all the party going, hosting and socialising. However I have learnt that actually it is a time when listening to your body is equally as important. We all know there can be a lot of pressure for this time of year to be perfect, for us all to be jolly when the opposite can be felt.
In December 2018 I think I came close to a breakdown. I was midway through online counselling for anxiety, I was working on a very complex project at work, recovering from an injury, a few other health issues were at breaking point (chronic IBS and some worrying blood test results) and then our boiler broke the week before Christmas. Unfortunately the boiler repair man (who quite frankly had been as much use as a chocolate teapot! – still, no excuses) got the full force of my angst. At that moment I knew I was burning out and I had to get some rest and refocus.
We were hosting Christmas but actually that didn’t bother me as I enjoy all the planning and prep and having a focus I found was quite therapeutic, but I knew I would be tired after days of full on partying. We were due to visit other relatives straight after Christmas and whilst normally I would love the festive hustle and bustle I realised that if I didn’t listen to my body and actually take a few days to rest before returning the work, I would head into 2019 run down and heading for a fall.
I spoke to my husband and we agreed we would postpone our trip and go up in February. I felt awful, like I was letting family down, but I knew if I didn’t actually take some time I would be become even more ill. Family would understand – and they did.
The time between Christmas and New Year was actually so valuable. I started to re-evaluate a lot of things. I needed to start changing my lifestyle but instead of just plumping for the latest New Year diet I actually did some proper research into what I wanted my lifestyle to be. This started the great nutrition journey I have been on this year. I started doing some gentle exercise from home (what my ankle would allow) so that a good habit would be started. This habit has been embedded throughout 2019. I miss exercise if I don’t get chance to do as much as I would like. I managed to injure my toe last week but I have been able to adapt my workouts so it can recover but I still reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise. I also started doing some creative bits just for me. I had bought a drawing a day book which I got well into in that in-betweeny time and I think that kickstarted a lot of the creative activities I got involved with in 2019 (mosaic, painting, crochet, wreath making and choir).
At the time none of it seemed life changing but they sowed the seeds, gave me a chance to reset and now I feel unafraid to say enough and prioritise my health if life is getting too hectic. At Christmas we want everyone around us to be happy and I know a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to make it happen, but actually we have to prioritise our own happiness and health too. I truly believe we can achieve both with a bit of compromise and communication.
This year I am looking forward to a fun packed Christmas that will be delightfully crazy and party filled. I am also looking forward to a few days of “nothing planned” where I can plan what I’d like my 2020 to look like. It is equally fine to like a bit of both, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I hope you get the mix of everything that is important to you this Christmas