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  • Writer's pictureAntonia Higgins

Fight the Festive Frazzle - Part 2

Time for a check in! If you read the first part of Fight the Festive Frazzle series I hope you’ve found things that have been useful and that are helping you to make a difference to your life right now. If you have, take a few minutes to think about what are the things that have helped. What’s been helpful about them?

Read on for more ideas and strategies in part 2.

8. Check your budget

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, and often people feel a real pressure to spend more than they can afford. Does that sound familiar? It’s easy to get caught up in all the bright, shiny things, and wanting to spread the love around by gift-giving and it feels good at the time. But that happiness can be short-lived when Christmas has come and gone. January is going to feel like a very long month if overspending means making a lot of sacrifices at a time of year that’s not much fun anyway.

Now would be a good time to check your financial health. Making a realistic budget is good way of keeping some control over your Christmas spending. Earlier this month we talked about making lists, so hopefully you already know the number of gifts you want to buy and have an idea of what you want to spend. Check your gift budget against that list and see if they match up. If they don’t, consider making some adjustments - buy less expensive gifts; buy for fewer people; if you’re a crafter or a baker, consider giving something handmade or home-baked to some of the people on your list that you know will appreciate it.

Remember to budget for any social events you’re attending too, and think about how you will manage spending while you’re there. For example, buying rounds of drinks when there’s a big group can be expensive, so consider opting out of that if you’re limiting you budget.

Above all, remember that not everything that’s fun costs money!

9. Make time for what you love

Make plans to spend some time doing what you love over the next couple of days. What brings you joy? Maybe you love being outdoors, among hills and lochs or walking on a beach. Maybe you’re a film buff who loves cosying on the couch with a blanket and some snacks, watching a good movie. Or maybe you’re a creative who loves making things - knitting, sewing, crochet, painting… Whatever your passion is, make some time for it and take yourself away from the frenzy of work, shopping, organising and ‘peopling’ for a little while. Your mental health will thank you for it.

10. Reflect on what’s working

Now is a good time to have a think about what’s working for you in terms of selfcare. Are you noticing a difference in your stress levels or in the amount of energy you have?

The things that help most might not be the things you expected (or hoped!) For example, as much as I love a long bath with a good book, I find that taking a bit of time every day to tackle one task on my to-do list is often more helpful for my selfcare. It’s really satisfying to tick things off my list.

Reminding yourself too, that you might not see everyone before Christmas, and that you can make plans into next year could help you preserve the time you need to slow down and relax.

11. Nobody’s perfect

If you’re still trying to organise Christmas things then feelings of stress might be setting in and you might be using this as a stick to beat yourself with. But how does that help you? Self-criticism, guilt and shame aren’t really the best motivators. So try something different…try self-compassion.

Self-compassion is the ability to turn understanding, acceptance, and love inward and care for yourself in the same way as you would care for a friend. It’s accepting that you are not perfect and that things will not necessarily always work as you’ve planned, and that’s OK. So try this: when you catch yourself starting to go down the rabbit hole of self-criticism, stop for a minute, place your hand over your heart and tell yourself “I’m human and I’m doing the best I can”.

To learn more about self-compassion and why it can be a life-changing experience, check out the work of Dr Kristin Neff here:

12. Plan YOUR festive treat

Christmas is a time of giving and sharing, usually with the focus on other people. But what about you? Have you thought about a festive treat for yourself? Giving yourself a gift as a pat on the back for everything you’ve dealt with over the year is a lovely way to acknowledge how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved.

So what will your gift to yourself be? Whether it’s that new book you fancy, a day in bed, a meal in the restaurant you’ve wanted to try for ages, time on your own, or a day off from chores, give yourself permission to have that and to enjoy every moment, guilt-free. You deserve to treat yourself.

I hope you find these blogs interesting and helpful. If you’d like to read more of my musings you can subscribe to my blog at and follow me on Facebook at

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Contact me at to discuss how counselling might be helpful for you. I work face to face from my therapy room in Falkirk, and online.

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