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Christmas Holiday Expectation V Reality

Christmas holiday image of exhausted parents not having a relaxing holiday
Expectation: relaxing holiday. Reality: exhausted and frustrated parents

Christmas is over for another year. So is that time between Christmas and new year where you have have no idea what day it is let alone the date ... and really you don't give a sh*t. You spending your days dreaming of ways to use up the Christmas ham, reading all the books you've neglected through the year and swan around doing what.ever!

I was chatting with a coaching client this week who said “when people at work wish me a happy new year and ask me how my break was I can barely look at them.”

“Break?” I think to myself. “It was terrible. I barely had one. I feel more tired than when I left.”

Can you relate? I definitely can!

I had such high expectations for my break over Christmas. Visions of myself swanning around by the beach in my bikinis reading books, eating delicious food, afternoon naps … whatever. But I quickly learnt that holidays at the beach with a toddler aren’t even a little bit relaxing and after sharing an Instagram post on the topic of ‘holiday expectations v reality’, realised I wasn’t alone in expecting to feel refreshed but instead winding up resentful and unmotivated. So with the start of the new year and with many of us back at work how do you energise yourself for the year ahead when you feel more exhausted than you did before the end of the year?

More rest, less expectations

We put so much pressure on a set few weeks in January needing to provide us with fun, rest, relaxation, play, adventure, inspiration & creativity. But, just as the countless catch ups we cram into December are unnecessary, so too is the notion that we can only reset during the Christmas break. Create and protect pockets of rest into the coming days and weeks as if you’re on holiday. Opt for an early night with your book, switch off the TV and walk with a friend after work, enjoying a staycation at the weekend, treat yourself to a Monday night dinner out, play with the dogs in the middle of the day and have the damn ice cream. Relax” is a verb, so do it!

Be kind to yourself

This comes back to expectation versus reality. The expectation is to get back to your desk and immediately get cracking on the to-do list. And/or to start moving towards those SMART goals you set on 31 December (more on that in the next email). But the reality is if you’re feeling more exhausted at the start of the year than you were before Christmas this is either not going to happen, or it’s going to take a huge amount of work and dedication!

So be gentle with yourself. If you aren’t achieving allllll the things talk to yourself like a wise and kind friend would. Ignore the mean person voice in your head telling you “you can’t … or “you should be ….” and instead consider “what would feel really good right now?”

When you look after yourself, everyone benefits from your energy and happiness. So, don’t second guess yourself and for the love of God don’t feel guilt!

Jolts of joy

There’s a reason videos with animals and children doing funny things are so popular on YouTube … because they bring us joy! Positive emotions are good for our wellbeing.

Get the laughs where you can. Do what makes you smile. If cat videos are your thing carve out some time in the day to search the interwebs for said videos. I can’t go past memes and videos of swearing children never fails to make me laugh and that’s what I’m reaching for right now! THIS had me crying.


Music is bloody amazing and should never be underestimated. It’s been scientifically proven to bring us joy and comfort. To motivate us and to help us relax. A simple song can take us back in time and calm our anxious minds or boost our mood. Researchers found there is (literally) a song for every emotion.

When my Assistant Rach started working with me last year she warned me that if I see the words ‘Treaty Moment’ it meant she was feeling all the overwhelm feels (and to back away). At the time I thought “umm okaaaaay!”. Then she explained that she literally can’t sit still when she hears that song, so she turns it up loud and dances around her living room like a crazy woman and literally dances it out!

Whatever works right?

If you're low in energy and being gentle with yourself means levelling up your self-care gam check out this blog for some tips on creating a routine you'll actually love!

So, whether you need more motivation, you’re feeling overwhelmed, even sad, pop on your favourite playlist and see the difference it makes. If you’re like Rach and feel the need to dance it out go for it!

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