I would say most would agree with me when I say December arrives in the same way every year. It arrives with a bang: a big bang with no warning, and no idea what happened to was October last week…wasn’t it ?! Then you blink and suddenly its 2 weeks until Christmas. It’s amazing and I honestly think to myself every year – how did that happen??

I was chatting to my friend on the weekend and she asked “So, are you ready for Christmas??” It made me think about how many times I have actually been asked that question, and how many times I myself have asked the same question. Many, many times. And I wonder what most people are mean – are they asking “Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?” or “Have you stocked up on food & drink?” or “Are you ready for the madness??” I guess most would be meaning all the above. But my honest answer when I am asked, is quite simply “Yes I am ready! I am ready for the break!” and I’m sure I’m not alone.

At the end of the day, or in this case, at the end of the year, holidays are supposed to be restful, not stressful and while we know it’s coming, holiday stress still manages to blindside us every year. But why is that? Christmas is supposed to be one of the most wonderful times of the year. But for most working professionals, it can often be one of the busiest and most stressful. Increased demands from the boss to get things done, last minute purchases, end of year reporting… the list goes on. And the additional pressure we feel during the Christmas holidays is different to the general burnout and stress we can feel through the year. It also brings the responsibility (and stress!) of accommodating family, friends, putting on the perfect meal, arranging potential travel and of course, all the additional social obligations! And not to mention the cost!

So how do we cope and what can we do to make the end of year break a “break”? Like preparing all the presents, the food and drink, the extra school commitments, ‘playing Santa’ and for the sudden arrival of family. Not to mention being organised to finish off the last minute ‘surprises’ that invariably crop up at work so you can digitally detox which will definitely help to ensure you enjoy the break and holiday season and not dread it as the time off we take at the end of the year. Holidays should not only be an opportunity to spend quality time with family & friends and eat to your heart’s content, it is also the perfect time to wind down, relax, think about the year gone by and what you’ve achieved, and think about the year ahead, and what you’d like to achieve.

For me, just the thought and feeling of waking naturally without the alarm clock (OK, there is still the kids but one less noise in the morning can only be a good thing, right?) and just the thought of all the fabulous food and the taste of that glorious Christmas meal, makes me smile and relax instantly. And I think what’s important is to remember to celebrate all the highlights of the year (over a glass of champagne obviously!), and reflect which will help you create even bigger successes for next year.

Merry Christmas to everyone and cheers to 2019 !!!