I received an email newsletter recently with the subject line: 13 weekends until Christmas. My heart skipped a beat, and I immediately went into panic mode and rushed to do ‘all the things’.
Every single year, we put on our metaphorical power walking shoes and stride so fast towards Christmas that when the day arrives it takes all of our energy to keep ourselves from drooling in the trifle or falling asleep on the couch with grandad after lunch.
The ‘silly season’ is silly for a reason. It’s silly because things should be winding down. We should be closing up projects, saying ‘no’ more often than ‘yes’, and focusing our energy on summer plans with whānau (family) and friends. Instead of what we should be doing, we’re usually rushing around as if we were in a global contest to see who can tick the most things off their to-do list.
After a challenging and uncertain 2020, let’s collectively make this ‘silly season’ less silly and more fulfilling. Are you with me?
How to avoid the silly season…
Repeat after me: Just because my diary is empty, doesn’t mean I’m free. Just because my diary is empty, doesn’t mean I’m free.
Blank space is space for your family, space to sit outdoors and enjoy the summer heat, or space to get an extra-long sleep. To ensure you don’t end up spending every day at work and every evening at ‘silly season’ events, book a few evenings off or weekend slots of home-time. When I say book, I mean literally write them down in your diary.
If you’re an active-relaxer like me, it might be helpful to list some things that make you happy (e.g. gardening, hiking, or spring cleaning). Regardless, during this scheduled downtime you have all of my permission to throw your guilt to the side and relish this time of simply existing.
Push projects to next year
I know postponing tasks is hard for people who live by the mantra ‘why do tomorrow what can be done today’. I know, because I’m one of them. Even though this mentality is incredibly productive, it’s important to determine your priorities in order to avoid burnout. Delaying projects that do not need to be actioned until the new year also means you have more to look forward to!
Practice self-care – not the cliche kind
Self-care doesn’t have to smell like lavender; self-care looks like the paragraphs above. It looks like a solo walk without your phone, five minutes of breathing while ignoring all the thoughts in your head, listening to your favourite album from front to back, or making a meal from scratch without a deadline.
If you are the type of person who thrives off traditional self-care practices, lives for a bath, froths over face masks (not the COVID 19 kind) and adores skincare treats, here are three sustainable self-care products that will help you unwind and look after yourself while you boycott the silly season.
Handmade in Aotearoa New Zealand, this clay face mask is the perfect excuse for time to unwind. Containing activated charcoal and coffee, this mask will absorb nasty toxins plus stimulate blood flow. Your skin will be left glowing and refreshed.
An incredibly healing product for your entire body, rub this on and enjoy the soothing effects of kawakawa that has been used for generations by Māori for its ability to calm dry, itchy and inflamed skin.
Clinically proven to improve sleep, these bath melts are a simple way to step up your ‘bath game’. Simply throw them in the bath and relax.
Say ‘no’ properly
Did you know that when you say ‘no’, you’re saying ‘yes’ to something else? I’m not going to lie, I struggle with saying ‘no’. I’m like a Labrador; I get massive FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and constantly want to please people!
Understanding that saying ‘no’ is only opening space for something else, ensures you can say it confidently and frequently. Saying ‘no’ shows you understand your physical and mental limitations, have boundaries, and clear priorities.
Here’s an example:
“Sorry I can’t come to your Christmas lunch, I have another family thing on.” Even if that family thing is watching television with your immediate family, your priorities are your priorities! Shake the guilt off, and carry on.
What tips and tricks do you have for avoiding the silly season? We would love to hear them in the comments below!