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5 ways to feel less busy at Christmas

5 ways to feel less busy at Christmas

Right now I have that ‘this time of year’ feeling. In November, I feel like I want to feel less busy but life is getting even busier so you get stuck somewhere in between.

It’s the overwhelming feeling that the year is slipping away from me and I haven’t done half what I wanted to do. So I ramp things up and get even busier trying to make things happen. Preparing for Christmas, school holidays, work commitments at year end, all while feeling decidedly flat about the whole thing. 

Both overwhelmed and underwhelmed at the same time. That feeling. I think these days they call it languishing.

I took a minute to breathe this morning (in then out, in then out – it’s actually not as hard as I make it out to be). During that minute I (ahem, I’m a little embarrassed to admit this) well, I actually pushed my nose and said ‘I’m changing the channel’.

When you were little, did you ever use a nose push to ‘change the channel’ when you were having a bad dream? Well, turns out it works just as well to change your own channel and reset your thinking. Doing the nose push thing made me feel less busy because I changed the channel to a less overwhelmed station. Hmm. Can it actually be that simple?

I wonder what else might work to make us feel less busy about and a lot more engaged with the festive season?

Here's how to feel less busy at Christmas

How to feel less busy right now

1. Do the nose push thing

Go on. It feels ridiculous (and, really, don’t let anyone see you do it) but somehow it works for me. In the midst of all the frantic, press the tip of your nose and say ‘right, I’m okay, I’m changing the channel’. See, you just reset yourself. The rush of Christmas might continue around you, but you’re choosing to let a lot of the overwhelm slide straight on by.

2. Let at least one thing go

Doesn’t matter what it is, you can choose from your long list of ‘things to do’. Find something on that list and write ‘don’t do it’ next to it. Then cross it off the list. Better yet, find three things, four things… I chose “buy present for the postman” – I’m sorry, postie, I’ll catch you next year. I also chose “make mince pies” – sorry honey, I don’t even like them. I’ve also hidden the stupid Elf on the Shelf forever – I mean, c’mon, my kids are practically adults.

3. Embrace the shortcut

We’ve got friends coming to dinner on Saturday night and ordinarily I make everything from scratch but, guess what, not this year. I’m buying in the lot. I also vow to not go crazy with the decorations and absolutely forbid myself from making bunting of any kind. I also refuse to sweep up all the fallen gum leaves that are all over the yard. Whatever shortcuts are available to you, I strongly urge you to take them and instantly feel less busy.

Christmas is for snuggling not feeling overwhelmed

4. Ignore the list

See that ‘to do’ list. Let it go for an hour or two or more and do something just for you that’s not on the list. Last week I ignored all the things I had to do for a little while and took myself off to see a film. I find a movie, a trip to the beach without the kids (sacrilege!) or a visit to a friend is always a good way to let it all go for a little while.

5. Do something ordinary

The pressure to be doing exciting festive things right now is all too much. Last weekend we did… nothing. Didn’t meet up with friends, didn’t go to the beach, didn’t plan a thing. We just hung out for the day, read books, pottered in the garden and listened to the kids tell us they were bored (right up until I told them that the floors could really use a wash if they really had nothing better to do).

So, that’s my five, all guaranteed to make me feel better about the busy at Christmas. Of course, I could also recommend the ‘start at the top of your ‘to do’ list and work your way through it’ approach, but that would sort of defeat the purpose. That busy ‘to do’ list… that darn list!

What’s your best recommendation to feel less busy at this time of year?

Feature image by Taisiia Stupak; presents by Michelle; snuggle season by Preslie Hirsch.