When December hits, the sheer volume of ‘stuff to do’ escalates wildly. Presents, food, hosting, travelling, work parties – and managing your own expectations of ‘the perfect Christmas’.


This often puts us under intolerable pressure, and ourselves at the bottom of a very long list.


But what if it could be different?


1. Christmas ‘Expectations’


Do you have to have a three-course meal? Do you have to spend a lot of money on Aunty Mabel’s Christmas gift? Do you have to see ALL of your extended family in the space of two weeks? Spend some time thinking about what a good Christmas would look like for you? Are there some compromises to be made with your partner, children, wider family? An open and honest conversation is a good place to start.

2. Eating to support your health


Christmas is the time to eat delicious food, and you should eat what you want. However, on a normal day in December, especially if you’re heading out for dinner, or drinks, try and support yourself in the lead up. Eat a protein-rich breakfast and/ or lunch, and think about adding healthy fats and fruit and veg into the mix as much as you can. Frozen is more than fine, and protein sources in packets such as pre-cooked chicken or salmon works too when you’re pushed for time.

3. Sleeping (when you can)


When you’re not out and about in December, try to prioritise your sleep. Your mood, skin, and general wellbeing will all thank you for it. Set an ‘ideal’ bedtime and try to stick to it – but equally accept that it won’t always happen, and that’s ok, too. Create something nice for yourself to do at bedtime – read a few pages of a book, put on a nice moisturiser or hand cream or light a scented candle. Create an experience to look forward to.


4. Saying ‘no’


If you’re a natural people-pleaser (like me) you’ll find this hard, but learning to say no sometimes is probably going to help you not just at Christmas, but at any time of the year. Think back to your Christmas conversation. What have you decided to prioritise? With that to refer to, saying no to things that you can’t, or don’t want to do, becomes a little easier. Start with a small thing and practice the conversation before you need to have it.


5. Carve out something just for you


There are always compromises and difficulties with families at this time of year, and having something to look forward to during this time that’s purely a self-indulgence might just hold you together when Uncle Barry’s making yet another inappropriate joke at the lunch table. This might be as simple as meeting with a good friend, going to the cinema alone, or a nice dinner out with your partner.

Wishing you a restful and happy Christmas.

If you’re struggling with your health, or feel like you’re heading for burnout, I’m offering new clients 10% off my signature health coaching package if booked in December. Please get in touch via my website.


Claire Vivyan Roberts is a partner coach with Careering into Motherhood.