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10 Tips To Keep Calm At Christmas
Kate Ibbotson, Declutter Expert, Professional Organiser and Life Simplification Coach
Our environment has a huge impact on our mood and wellbeing. We all deserve a refuge, a place where we can relax and re-energise and we can all make a few changes at home to create a stronger sense of calm.

In the run up to the holiday season, the home tends to become a hive of activity but if you're feeling more fretful than festive, it's time to step back and read these top 10 tips to keep calm at Christmas.

1. Be a conscious consumer

Going shopping without a clear plan and a list can end up being a scavenger hunt for things you don't really need.

Be intentional about what you buy and if you find yourself about to panic buy a gift for someone, consider getting them a voucher and consumables instead.

2. Free up fridge space

If you’re cooking the Christmas dinner at home, you will need as much space as possible. If you’re going away, you’ll want to come back to a fresh smelling fridge.

Check the use by dates on your condiments as they are often sold in too great a volume to allow you to use them up before they go off.

Remember that freezing food only slows down the decaying process rather than halts it, so it’s not great for things to lurk in there for more than a few months. Use up as much as possible before your main Christmas shop.

3. Do a pre-Christmas declutter

This applies particularly to categories where there will be an influx such as toiletries and children's' toys.

Declutter in bite-size chunks of between 30 minutes and a couple of hours.

Focus on contained spaces such as a drawer, cupboard or shelf. Arm yourself with paper and a pen to make notes of 'actions' and designate rubbish, recycling and donation bags.

4. Value experiences over things

Instead of buying extended family gifts, suggest you all book a shared experience you would never normally have in the new year.

A trip to a theme park, a night away in a cottage or simply a lovely meal out.

If you have children, write a gift list together and ensure you put some experiences on yours. Mention to them that it's not all about material stuff.

5. Practice self-care

At this time of year, emotions tend to run high. Trying to please everyone can result in pleasing no-one, including yourself.

Let go of any guilt you may feel over things which are beyond your control; it’s self-destructive and not useful in moving you forward. Show yourself some compassion and build in little treats just for YOU.

6. Share the load

If a group of you are getting together for Christmas lunch, can you each bring your own section of it, thus saving both cost and excess?

Teaming up and buying joint presents for people can not only be easier but can result in a gift the receiver will value more.

7. Communicate

Don't be afraid to have a conversation with family and friends about putting a cap on what you'll spend on each other. Chances are they'll be relieved.

Likewise, why not tell each other what you actually need. Yes, it cuts out the element of surprise but the upside is you'll avoid acquiring clutter.

8. Rethink cards

A controversial one, I realise, but has that Christmas card list spiralled out of control?

Of course, it’s nice to keep in touch with people but what about replacing the physical card with a phone call or a visit? Or meeting for a coffee/lunch?

Yes, it takes more time but it will also be more meaningful and the sentiment will last far longer.

If you don’t want to take the time to connect properly, it could be time to question why you are sending the card. If it’s through guilt or obligation, how useful is this to either of you?

9. Say no

We all have the same 24 hours in the day and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to get the utmost value out of each one.

If you won’t get anything from a social event, don’t attend.

Like our possessions, how we spend our precious time is up for question. If it isn’t a useful, valuable or enjoyable experience, consider decluttering it.

10. Develop traditions

These are what translate to truly happy memories and they probably won't involve physical things.

Movies & mulled wine on Christmas Eve, going to a carol service or a pantomime, a game of Charades or a brisk local walk on Christmas Day (isn't it nice how everyone greets each other so warmly!)

I’d like to wish you the calmest of festive periods whether you celebrate Christmas or not. Have a Happy New Year; celebrate what has gone well, learn from what hasn’t and take forward into 2018 only that which adds the utmost value to your life and the lives of your loved ones.

This article was written Kate Ibbotson, who says:
With the busy festive season in full flow, it's important to find a sense of calm amidst the chaos. As a Declutter Expert, Professional Organiser and Life Simplification Coach, I founded A Tidy Mind (www.atidymind.co.uk) to support overwhelmed people across the UK (and beyond) to organise their homes and simplify their lives.

10 Tips To Keep Calm At Christmas, 18th December 2017, 17:18 PM