It’s that time of year, the time many of us rush around stressing to get as much done as possible before Christmas and the new year sets in. But, I wanted to write a little post to remind you to: just slow down! It is ok to press pause…
Time to get rid of unrealistic expectations to avoid unnesessary stress. If we stress too much to make Christmas as perfect as possible we tend to forget to enjoy those small moments, the little things that matters the most. Instead, slow down and soak it all in before it is over. Remember less is more, there is no need to overdo it when it comes to decor, gifts, activities… It is ok if your home is not perfectly decorated and clean, it is ok if you didn’t buy the most amazing Christmas gifts, it is ok if you didn’t have time to do all those festive activities you wanted to do…just pick a few things to focus on and enjoy them rather than running around to get everything done.
Ways to slow down:
- Take the opportunity to have a digital detox. Get off your phone and focus less on being precent on social media and more on being precent in real life. Christmas and the new year approaching is a great time to spend less time online, and it doesn’t not have to be a full detox but at least reducing it. A digital detox can help you to take a step back and reevaluate what is important. Instead of being on your phone, imagine all those things you could be spending that time doing.
Practice self care. It is important to make sure you take care of yourself. Think about your body and your mind, and focus on things that makes you feel good. Everything from getting enough sleep, doing exercise and eating right can help you, but it is also about the little things like taking time out of the day to do a facemask, meditating or just spending time on your own thinking.
Think to yourself, are gifts important? A lot of stress around Christmas revolve around gifts, but why not give the gift of your attention and time instead of physical items? This will reduces the holiday shopping chaos and help you connect with the people in your life that you care about which brings me to the next point…
Spend time with your loved ones. Whether that means your family, your partner, your friends or your pet – spend time with the people that means the most and enjoy it.
Get together to play games. As a homebody I love staying in playing board games, and Christmas is the perfect time to do so. We have a large selection of board- and card games which can be easily played with two people as well as a group (because most of the time me and my boyfriend play together). It is a great way to slow down and just have fun together.
Do a bit of festive baking. I don’t know about you, but for me baking is very therapeutic and calm. I love following a recipe and taking my time to make something delicious I know I will be able to enjoy afterwards. This time of year there are so many delicious festive treats, and the good thing is that if you make a lot there is always someone coming over for a visit tho would love to taste it or you can even give some away as a nice, thoughtful gift.
Catch up on your reading list. There is nothing better than to be snuggled up with a blanket and a good book on the couch when it’s cold and dark outside. And since we do tend to spend more time inside during this time of year, catching up on that long reading list is a great way to spend our time. Many of us are too busy in everyday life to take time to read, so the holidays are a great time to do so don’t you think?
Start a crafting project. Crafting is a great way to start embracing a slower way of life. If you are a knitter, take the time to make something for yourself or a friend, and if you do not know how to – get together with a friend who does and start learning. Taske up drawing or painting, which both are nice ways to slow down. If you have kids, this is the perfect time to get creative and do craft projects. This advent for instance, I took time to make my own dried orange decor for my tree which I really enjoyed.
Slow down for a meal. Take time to enjoy a meal together, and even do the cooking together to eliminate the stress and make it a fun activity. Living in Italy I have learnt the importance of slowing down for a meal, Italians are great at doing lots of smaller courses to prolong the time spent at the table. No need to make everything from scratch either if that will stress you out, opt for simple and easy solutions and your guests will be just as happy as long as you are all spending time together.
Listen to Christmas music. I love putting on those classic Christmas tunes in the background when I am at home during the holidays, it creates such a nice and calm atmosphere. No need to have the tv on, just music and a singalong if you want :-)
Light those candles. Many of us have lots of candles we accumulate over the year, and the darker days are perfect for lighting candles and making your home feel hyggelig. I especially enjoy having an advent candle in December to count sown the days to the big day – it gives me a reminder to slow down each evening while I light it and is such a nice ritual.
Spend time outdoors and enjoy your surroundings. Having a walk in fresh air is the perfect way to slow down, whether alone or together with someone else. And this time of year there are so many lovely things to enjoy around you like the festive lights and decor in your neighbourhood or city centre. Remember to take time to just wander and take in those beautiful sights we might otherwise take for granted.
If you need more advice, I highly recommend reading the book ‘Seeking Slow: Reclaim Moments of Calm in Your Day’ by Melanie Barnes which provides simple ways for you to slow down and reconnect with yourself, your family, and your surroundings – while finding joy in doing so.
“The secret to happiness is not found in seeking more, but developing the capacity to enjoy less,” – Socrates
With that in mind, this will be the last article from me here before Christmas, and I am looking forward to travel back to Norway to spend time with my family very soon.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas time full of hygge! Or as we say in Norwegian:
// Photo credit: Ingrid Opstad