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  • Writer's pictureAntonia Higgins

Fight the Festive Frazzle - Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my Fight the Festive Frazzle blog series. If you have read part 1 and part 2 I hope that by now it's been giving you lots of strategies on how to manage your self-care over the festive season.

13. Energy savers

If you’re anything like me, this is the time when you may be feeling like this year is just a couple of weeks too long and you’d like the holiday to start now please! You might feel more tired most of the time, maybe a bit more grumpy than you’d like, and maybe you’re not getting through stuff as quickly as you want. If the thought of all the holiday prep you still have to do is becoming overwhelming it’s time to reassess, and think about what’s important and what’s realistic. This is when energy savers become a real gift! Here are some suggestion:

  • Make a charity donation instead of sending cards

  • Any evenings in with friends planned? Opt for ready made nibbles or takeaway instead of giving yourself more cooking to do.

  • Replacing wrapping paper with gift bags is a great energy saver and they have the added bonus of being reusable, so that's a gift for the environment too!

  • Think about Christmas dinner. Do you really have to prepare everything from scratch? Ready-made trimmings and ready-prepared starters and desserts can save loads of energy and time.

  • How is your workload looking? If there is anything that you can delegate or park until the new year, do it.

  • What is your home/social calendar looking like to the end of the year? If there is anything that feels like an energy-zapper? If so, remember it’s ok to cancel or reschedule plans.

14. Shop smart

The shops can be much busier at this time of year, between shopping for Christmas and ‘January sales’ that start on Boxing Day! If crowded places are feeling uncomfortable and you’re trying to avoid being surrounded by throngs of people, minimise your stress by shopping at times when it is likely to be quieter - early morning, later at night and midweek can be less frantic. Or move to shopping online, which can also be quicker (no checkout queue!) and can save you money if it minimises impulse buying.

15. Write your ‘permission slips’

Anyone who has been in my company for more than an hour has probably heard of Brené Brown (if you haven’t, look her up - she is one of my biggest inspirations and her wisdom is in my counselling room often). Among many of the things that Brene talks about, she talks about writing yourself permission slips. She says these are “A practical and familiar way to think about what might get in the way of us talking about how we feel, asking for what we need, or trying something new.”

Spend a few minutes thinking about your precious time over the next couple of weeks, what you want to do with it and what you want to give yourself permission for. Do you need to give yourself permission to say no to things you don’t want to do, or people you don’t want to see? Or permission to express your grief when you think about someone no longer with you? How about permission to enjoy days of doing nothing without feeling guilty?

Whatever it might be, I suggest that you make notes of what you are giving yourself permission for and put them somewhere you will see them often. Post-it notes on the inside of cupboard doors, reminders in your phone calendar, notes in your purse, wallet or pockets are all great permission slips.

16. Boring but necessary

Self-care doesn’t always feel like fun. Sometimes self-care is the boring but necessary stuff you have to do to keep life running smoothly (think cleaning, clearing out cupboards, ironing,...) This is probably stuff you don't relish doing, but imagine how chaotic life would be if you didn't?

Come 25th December you're likely to have an influx of new 'stuff' in your house, especially if you have children. Where will all this new 'stuff' live? Is there a home for it?

This is a good time to make some space. Check the places you plan to store this stuff and declutter them - throw away, recycle or donate anything that is unwanted, not needed or broken/damaged.

Not only will this create physical space but it can also help declutter your mental space. There is something quite satisfying about the process of clearing out that can make you feel lighter generally. And isn't that always a good thing?

17. Think about food and health

Tis the season of overindulgence! But while rich food, alcohol and sweet treats are a lovely sign that the festive season is upon us, they can have less-than-lovely consequences too! Think indigestion, hangovers, lethargy, weight gain...not to mention feelings of guilt about overindulging, the effects of alcohol on anxiety and depression and the effect that weight gain can have on self-esteem. So there is a balance to be struck between indulging and maintaining good habits for good health.

Today, have a think about what you really want to enjoy about the festive season and make a pact with yourself to really savour those things. And think about when you can balance those times by having days without leftover pigs in blankets, mince pies or Baileys. Set a goal to drink more water, eat more veg and make sure you move more. Hopefully that balance means you can enjoy guilt-free indulgences, knowing that you have balanced these with healthier days too.

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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