Thanks to a poll on my Twitter back in November, my wonderful followers decided that I should publish a blog post and film a vlog every day for the entirety of December! 

So welcome to December 2nd

I originally had a visit to York Christmas Market scheduled for today but for a few reasons, I decided not to go on the trip with Richmond Fellowship’s Tyneside service

One reason that I can talk about, though, was that I have so much going on this week! After my poll on Twitter, I received a message from a reader saying they hoped that doing Blogmas and Vlogmas wouldn’t be taking on too much but it wasn’t until I sat down to create the schedule for my Blogmas posts, that I realized exactly how busy I was going to be! It became daunting and all of a sudden, I worried that I couldn’t cope with the extra work/pressure/stress. I’d say I’m a very committed person though, in that once I’ve said I’ll do something, I’ll do it (even where this is something negative!).

I remember looking at InTheFrow’s Instagram last Christmas and seeing all of the gifted products and press trips she went on with companies and I thought ‘this is her reward for working her ass off all year! This is what I want to do next year.’ As much as I can recognize that I’ve achieved a lot through 2019, I also know that a last bit of dedication and hard work will really make Christmas Day so special and posting a blog post and a vlog every day for 24 days? Well that’s going to be hard work and it’s going to take dedication, but I really think that the sense of achievement I’ll have on December 25th will make everything worth it.

In order to have that achievement, though, I do have to be sensible about it and make sure that I don’t burn myself out by doing too much and seeing that Week One of December was going to include a Christmas Market in addition to two Pantomimes, Christmas drinks with friends, an appointment with my CPN, and Cats Protection Tyneside Adoption Centre’s Christmas Fayre… I was skeptical that it’d be a good idea!

So, here’s my top tips on how to pace yourself through this busy Christmas period…

1.    Prioritize

What needs to be done first? What can wait? Blogmas is quite a good way of creating deadlines for yourself in that you know that you need to produce content every day and can determine which piece needs to be – or can be – written first e.g. I have some Blogmas posts that can’t be written in advance so I’m typing up the ones that can, while I can, so that I don’t have to stress when it comes to writing the posts that will be published within days of being typed. But it isn’t just about the blog posts; I’ve prioritized activities too! Sometimes I’ve had two invitations for one day and I’ve had to make the difficult decision to only do one thing but it’s important to remember that you want what you decide to do to be enjoyable. I also know that for, personally, doing two things means half the effort for each rather than being able to put all my energy and dedication into one thing to heighten my chance of succeeding.

2.    Create a schedule

I’ve found my little Word doc schedule sooooo helpful in doing/planning Blogmas! So, the way I did it was to factor in doing an Etsy post (if you don’t know about my Christmas collaboration with Etsy, read this!) every other day and then I thought up ideas for content for the remaining days. Having a schedule helped me to create deadlines for my content which also helped with prioritizing my work.

3.    Spend time with the people you care about most

Spending time with your friends and family can be so great in helping you to make any decisions in prioritizing things and pacing yourself. Other people are always so great at giving advice from their position of being on the outside looking in; it’s easier for them to see the bigger picture and properly consider all of the options without being too invested in them.

4.    Utilize mental health services for support 

Christmas can be one of the hardest times for mental health service users and not just because of their mental health but because of the lack of support available for it. Of course, Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) are always Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 and so it’s usually on the Crisis Team to pick up the case load out of those hours, but Christmas is even more demanding and so services are even more stretched. You have to put that out of your head; if you see yourself as a burden then you’ll be more reluctant to get help. So forget that and concentrate on ensuring your safety and getting adequate support to help you to enjoy this time of the year!

5.    Factor in free time

Creating my schedule allowed me the opportunity to figure out if I had any free time and if I didn’t one week then I knew I needed to make some! Having ‘free time’ doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be sitting on my butt all day though! It usually means that it’s a day in the house for me to nap, eat, have a shower, do some blogging, do any Creative Writing homework, spend time with my cat and rabbit… just generally chill in my pyjamas and no make-up. Having free time allows my body the chance to catch up on any energy it’s used at events etc. and it leaves me feeling more ready and able to take on new challenges.
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