GUEST BLOG AUTHOR: Sara Marsden-Shreeve

Every year we get into the same Christmas rollercoaster of old habits, whether it be trying to get organised, buying the ‘perfect gifts’, planning-ahead, upholding family traditions and of course trying to keep everyone happy.

We all have a certain way of doing things every year and no matter how you roll there is always a certain amount of stress and chaos we endure somewhere and at sometime during the festivities. It’s part of the run up and let’s be honest, us gals tend to take most of the load (in my household for sure).

Well, I want to remind you ladies… that you cannot give from an empty cup and despite the additional hurdles we have to currently contend with, it’s even more important this year to make sure that YOU give yourself extra love and extra care.

I for one intend to tweak a few things this year and make them a seasonal blue print going forward because if this year has taught me anything… it’s that I am resilient, I am capable, and I am grateful for the small stuff (which is usually the big stuff).

Giving yourself time to reflect, breathe and just be in the moment is a powerful thing and if we can squeeze some more of that into the month ahead then we will feel like a fricken goddesses.

So if I may, I would like to share with you the top 5 things I will be doing to give myself a sprinkling of glitter and a huge festive hug so that I can enjoy this yuletide and also send out calming vibes to the rest of the peeps I’ll be
sharing it with. I will be damned if I’m going to miss the magic that my kids still see and that I’ve probably taken for granted, in the past.

I’m not reinventing the wheel here only giving it a spin.

#1 Wear the Jumper

Yes, I know, I can hear you shouting ‘bah humbug’ at me as you read this. I have written about my reasons before for my friends at Henpicked, but that doesn’t mean I am averse to wearable ‘chrimbo’ lovelies. We all have our own limits and tastes after all.

You see, I love a sock, a Santa hat, light up earrings and more. I will happily don swathes of tinsel all day from serving up the sprouts to knocking back the sherry during Pictionary.

In fact, this year, if you don’t see me wearing something Christmassy on a zoom meeting in December you have my permission to heckle me.

Laughter is so good for the soul and I am inviting you to get creative with your attire and feel the funny, even if no one can see you. After all it’s for your wellbeing too and there’s no fashion ‘faux pas’ at Xmas, you have a free reign where ‘gaudy’ is king!

On the flipside, if you’re not a lover of the above, then I invite you to wear your best stuff. Wear that sexy dress, those glamorous shoes, or sentimental jewels. Just because you might not be out living it large does not mean you can’t do it inside and for your own satisfaction. Dress up and bathe in that warm fuzzy glow of ‘gorgeous’, I guarantee you will feel the million dollars you deserve.

Or the snowman pj’s, or the novelty reindeer antlers! Whatever it takes to put a smile on your face, or someone else’s do it! Now when it comes to the Christmas jumper, I have to say I have not been a huge fan myself over the last few years, mainly due to the poor attempts on offer. However, I have to say that there are now plenty more stylish lovelies around these days.

#2 Change the Tape

No, I’m not talking swapping your Christmas ‘Micky Bubbles’ (aka Michael Bublé) songs for chanting mantras or anything, instead I want you to focus more on tweaking the usual pattern of panic or the critical voice in your head. You know the one that says things like, “should’ve done that earlier”, “could’ve done that better” or “I can’t do this” and “I’m useless at that”.

I want you to give yourself a break and realise that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have at this very moment in time. If you feel that you are starting to go down that self-berating path, then pause, take a breath, and give yourself time to put things in context and challenge that inner critic.

Xmas is but a few days in the calendar and to be honest, most people don’t care for the frocks and frippery because they just want to be with the people they love, eat well, drink plenty and laugh lots! Try to focus on these positives that this time of year can bring and give gratitude for them, no matter how small or how your Xmas might look this year, you are still here and present in this moment. No amount of money spent can replace love.

#3 Enjoy the Food

On that note, I would also like to remind you that the Christmas spread is merely just a pimped-up Sunday dinner so don’t get stressed in the kitchen trying to go all ‘Nigella Lawson’ to impress if it isn’t your thing. You already know how to cook a bird, so think of it as just another day and if you want to use ready prepared lovelies, then do it. There’s no shame and you will have more time to enjoy yourself outside of the kitchen.

If you’re not really a cook, then have what the heck you like because there are no rules that state ‘thou must eat turkey’! If you order takeout, enjoy
the smugness! Xmas is whatever you make it.

As a body positive advocate, it’s so important for me to also ask you to be more accepting of yourself, just as you are and even more so at Christmas. I want you to savor the taste of Xmas, guilt free, without punishing yourself about what you’re eating because that piece of chocolate you really want to eat but are trying so desperately to resist is not “naughty”, it’s food.

Worrying about ‘being thinner’ or ‘not sticking to diets’ crops up over the dinner table or at a party time and time again because we feel more indulgent this time of year (because we’re enjoying ourselves) and then vow every New Years to hit the gym or start the diet to rectify our so called flaws and bad behaviour.

I’ve come to enjoy life’s moments with much more acceptance towards my appearance and with less concern to my weight or tummy size, largely due to the practical and positive habits I’ve put in place all year round with my mindset, health and general self-care.

I find it also useful to note that if you add the word ‘yet’ onto most abrupt negative thoughts about yourself you automatically feel a little better because it doesn’t feel so absolute or detrimental. For example, “Argh, I’m not very healthy” becomes, “I’m not very healthy… YET!” or to put this notion into my favourite context, “I haven’t met Tom Hardy!” becomes “I haven’t met Tom Hardy… YET!”. There’s still time to make things happen girlfriend!

So, eat the chocolate and enjoy the extra roasties because a winter walk will create some balance.

#4 Take the Time

With age comes experience, so use the time to appreciate the small stuff or even create new traditions. There’s nothing I like more than wrapping presents with a sherry on the go and watching ‘Love Actually’. I also have a thing in which I annually choose a creative theme for my gift wrapping, combining papers, bows, labels and string. It’s a little anal I know, but I have a passion for colour and love being creative, so it makes me happy. Before you ask, yes, I’m the same with the tree!

However, ‘me time’ looks to you it is still an important factor in the whole arena of self-care, and it doesn’t matter what it is that makes you happy. It could be quiet time with a book, a nanny nap, slapping on that face mask you bought, playing xmas music or watching your favourite yuletide flick.

Just do it!

Being mindful of things in this busy and distracting life can be hard but I welcome you to take the time to use your senses.

As kids, me and my sister always discussed on Christmas eve that this year would be the year that we opened our presents slowly in order to lengthen the present experience, which of course never happened until I was in my twenties at least.

#5 Share the Load

Raise your hand if you ‘do’ most of Christmas. I’m guessing your one of the many that sort the presents, then wrap them, then sort the food and drink and then prepare it and cook it. On top of work, cleaning up, kids, pets, and the rest. Now, I’m not putting down the chaps at all as many may well have their duties or timely jobs but this year, I think we should ask for more help. Delegate and share the load with family and friends. Who’s with me?

I’ve decided to employ sous chefs (prep is king) for dinner this year by way of the kids and hubbie is going to be in housekeeping. I have just the pinny for the job!

We can also share the burdens of others too by helping them out, giving to charity or inviting people to share our company, food, and little luxuries.

All of this is not rocket science, granted, but it does warrant a thought when you’re running around like a headless chicken or losing the will to live. After all, this year has been such a challenging one and has put many things into perspective. You, being one of them… I hope.

Sara Marsden-Shreeve

Award Winning Image Coach & Body Positive Advocate 🙂

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Wishing you a holiday time filled with magic, peace and joy. May you have a super 2021 where all your dreams and desires come true. – Susan & Sara X

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