Pinch, punch!

This is always one of the busiest and most stressful months of the year, so before the month starts running away with itself, and because it's Sunday, here's a few of my favourite tips to keep the festive season in perspective and keep stress and debt away from your door!
Manage expectations
Slow down, pause and ask yourself do I really need to do this, or buy that, or go there etc. It is ok not to follow the crowd, and do your own thing, whatever that may be.
Be realistic about what you can afford and what you can do. Having big plans with lots of expectations often leads to feeling stressed and overwhelmed when things go wrong. Drop the high expectations and be happy with having a day full of the unexpected.
If you are doing Christmas for everyone, create a plan and ask your family to bring something and give them things to do to help you. You do not have to do it all yourself. Get the kids involved, they love helping out at this time of year.
Help your children to be realistic about Christmas, build it up enough for them to have fun and enjoy it, but remind them that it's a family day and everyone pulls together.
Remind your children it's about sharing together as a family, not the gifts they receive, so help them be realistic with what's on their wish list. And don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty if you just don't have the money to splurge on the latest gadgets for your children, believe me, they will survive without them, and there's every chance they will be lost under the bed by the time spring arrives!
Set a budget and stick to it - if possible, avoid using credit or store cards. Not always possible I know, but if you have to use these take advantage of any interest-free offers or pay them off before the interest is added, otherwise you will still be paying for this year's gifts next Christmas.
Avoid temptation - This time of year is always full of lots of glitter and sparkle, (I refer to this as Shiny Bright Object Syndrome (SBOS) with my clients) and if like me you love anything that sparkles it's easy to be tempted to buy stuff that you don't need or will never use again.
When you are out shopping, make a list and stick to your budget, that way you will be less tempted to impulse buy!
Avoid overindulging - We buy more food and booze at this time of year than at any other time, and that means we also waste way more at this time of year too. Think about the environment, only buy what you actually need, all the other stuff is just going to pile on unhealthy pounds or end up rotting somewhere in a landfill. Be kind to your body and the environment.
Stop buying stuff for people you never see, a card or a note to say hello is enough to remind people you think about them and love them.
Go for a walk or take some time out - The best way to reduce stress is to exercise, so if you are feeling the pinch of lots of unhelpful thinking and it's starting to turn into stress, go for a walk.
Take the family for a walk or find a quiet space for five minutes to let all your unhelpful thinking settle down, slow down and remember that it's not up to you to make sure everyone is happy.
The only person's happiness you are responsible for is your own, so do what makes you happy. When you are happy it will have a positive ripple effect across everyone you come in contact with. Make sure you make your happiness a priority.
Reuse, repurpose and upcycle whenever you can.
Less is always more!
Wishing you all a stress-free month ahead.
Avril xx

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