How To: Slow Living At Christmas
Christmas is coming and the stress is building…
Is the tree up and looking fabulous? Are the presents bought and wrapped? And are you sure you remembered all of your nieces and nephews? Have you stocked-up on all the food you’ll need – all healthy, I hope (well, maybe we can sneak in a few treats… it is Christmas after all)? Have you remembered to invite the family for Christmas dinner? Have you even managed to untangle the Christmas lights yet?!
What about that New Year’s Eve party you were thinking of throwing – drinks ordered, nibbles planned, guests invited (make sure you don’t leave anyone off the guest list!)… maybe some entertainment? Will the budget stretch far enough?
I know, right? Crazy.
I know that after the last couple of years we all want to make this Christmas a good one, but it’s time to change things up a bit. It's time to forget the stress and the worry. Time to relax and rejoice in the company of family, friends and loved ones. Time to slow down and enjoy the festive season.
Here are a few ways you can embrace slow living this Christmas…
Aim for presence over perfection
The idealised representation of what Christmas should be is just that – a representation. And, to get a little cynical for a moment, it’s a representation forced onto us by marketers and media trying to sell us products and services. Forget “perfection” and choose presence – being present in mind as well as body when you’re in the company of friends and family. Create the Christmas experience that you and your family can enjoy, whatever that might be.
There’s something magical about Christmas displays in-store… but all that hustle and bustle? No thank you. Shopping online is a huge time (and stress) saver. You can easily get all of your present and food shopping done in one go and then sit back and wait for the postman to arrive. A lot of companies will even offer a gift-wrapping service which means even less work for you!
And remember, shopping online doesn't mean you have to shop with the big names, many small and independent businesses and artisans sell their products online, too.
Christmas is all about spending time with those you care about. Make time to meet up with friends, family, and co-workers in a relaxed and social setting. You could even host a drinks or dinner party. If you do, why not ask everyone invited to contribute in some way – providing drinks, cocktail-making skills, or their signature dish is a great way to get everyone involved (and means less work for you!).
I dislike the mass consumerism we’re encouraged to partake in at this time of year. Instead, I love to make gifts for loved ones when I can. Over the years, this has ranged from homewares, decorations and soft furnishings, candles, food items and sweet treats, and, of course, bath and body care. And if I really haven’t got the time to make everything from scratch, a make a few little things and create bespoke gift sets of homemade and shop-bought treats.
One thing at a time
This is, perhaps, the epitome of slow living… do just one thing at a time. Multi-tasking, along with “busy”, has been glorified, but it can mean we don’t really experience of enjoy any of those tasks fully. Slowing down and focusing on one task at a time – and really getting into it, not letting yourself become distracted or worried by other things – makes every task so much more enjoyable.
Take an aromatherapy bath
It’s important to find time for you. I know it can be difficult to find time for a relaxing bath with everything you've got going on. But even if you have to do it after everyone’s gone to bed, or before they even get up, spending fifteen minutes (or longer if you can) soaking in the tub can work wonders for your skin, body, mind and emotions.