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The self care regime I will be following this Christmas

Isn't Christmas bloody cracking? You can do anything you want for a WHOLE month and blame it on the festive period. Eaten 4 times more than you usually would for EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY? Oh well, it's Christmas. Got a bit too carried away on the free drinks at the Christmas party and spilled the beans on what you really think about your colleagues? Oh well, it's Christmas! Spent far too much on yourself this month, let alone on presents, and have to pop a few things on the credit card? Oh well, you guessed it, it's Christmas!

Christmas really does have it's perks but for some of us, it can also get a little overwhelming. It's the time of year where you are expected to live your very best life and the pressure can all get a little bit too much. Am I right or am I right? This year, I refuse to let myself get sucked into the idea that there is a standard model that we all must follow to have an instagram worthy Christmas.

Living away from my family means that I return to the nest during the festive period. Can't be missing out on Aud's DELICIOUS Christmas roast. Going home also gives me a chance to catch up with my friends who live down south. Two birds, one stone and all that jazz. However, when there are quite a few people to catch up with, the days soon fill up. The 'relaxing Christmas break' I'd envisaged since January 1st no longer looks quite as relaxing as I'd hoped.

I don't know why things are different this year, but I am determined to put myself and my needs first this Christmas. This isn't something I feel I've ever done before. I knowwww it's all about giving and trust me, my bank account proves there will be plenty of that over the festive period, but I've got to look out for myself too. I need to leave some gas in the tank, you know? Who wants to start the new year stressed, anxious and depleted of energy? In the wise words of Skepta, 'that's not me'.

As some of you might have read before, saying no to things doesn't come easy to me. I struggle to say no to things in fear of being considered boring, unhelpful or difficult. However, this Christmas time, I intend to stick to my guns, only agreeing to do things that bring me real joy. For example, like offers to watch the Grinch on repeat, sipping a baileys hot chocolate in my lounge wear with 1, 2, 3 or maybe even 4 cute dogs on my lap. It's really easy for any of us to feel like we HAVE to say yes to everything over Christmas, but we really don't. If I want a day of slobbing in front of the telly doing sweet F A whilst eating all the best options in the celebrations tub before anyone else gets their hands on them, that's what I'll bloody well do. Sometimes, it’s a little more appealing than slapping on a load of make up and having to fiercely wrestle my increasingly tight clothing onto my body now I have my new post Christmas dinner food baby bump.

A couple of years ago, I recall going out three nights in a row. That's right, three days of heavy drinking. We're talking prosecco, shots, double vodkas, the lot. Anyone 21 or younger will be thinking 'pft, is that it?', whereas anyone 25 or older will understand just how much strength it took to get through those three days. I lived to tell the tale and that is quite the achievement. Safe to say, now I'm 27 and the hangovers last far longer than they used to, that won't be happening this year. I simply cannot handle 'the sesh' anymore, huns. Don't get me wrong, I would be INCREDIBLY in denial if I told myself that I will 'only have one or two drinks this Christmas', especially given I'm that person in the group who can't help but order 8 jagerbombs at the earliest opportunity. But, instead of lining up all my plans one day after another, I have spaced things out this year, especially when I know a few drinks are involved. I know how much a hangover or a late night can set me back and it's just not how I want to spend the 8 days I have off from work. I have 8 whole days free from stress and I feel no need to fill the void with dreaded hangxiety. No thank you very much, I will pass on that one.

Talking of anxiety, knowing that I can't go to my beloved JD gym over Christmas does make me a little uneasy. Before you judge me, I'm not going to suddenly start banging on about the gym. For those who don't know me and conjure up images of a beautiful young woman with a six pack and the perfect arse, you can get that right out of your head. I only have rolls to offer here I'm afraid. So, with the promise of no gym lectures, I will continue. The reason the gym is important to me is because it helps me manage my weight. I get paranoid that my waist line is quickly growing every day. Sometimes, I think I can convince myself it's growing 5cm a second, I swear. Like most, I also find that exercise is a really good way for me to cope with stress and anxiety. Without it, I do tend to tense up a little. Thankfully, my brother is an avid gym goer so I intend to tag along when I can (or when I'm allowed, I should say!) And, on other days, I'll wack on my trainers and go for a walk. Just some sort of movement will do me some good, physically and mentally, so it's a commitment I most certainly will make. Just for the record, dancing in the club counts as physical exercise to me, especially if you saw the shapes I can throw.

Arguably, the most intense day over the festive period, other than Christmas Day, is New Year's Eve. Over the next week or so, we'll be asked approximately 750 billion times each what we're doing for New Year's Eve. In all honesty, I’m starting to question the hype. There are so many occasions where I’ve gone out on New Year’s Eve to please others when I don’t really want to. Given the anniversary of dad’s death is 30th December, and therefore the day before, understandably my emotions can be all over the shop and I can’t always guarantee I’ll be in the mood for a night out the next day. The 30th alone can be quite emotionally draining let alone the added pressure of needing to throw on a smile and be happy as Larry the next day. I always feel so anxious about whether or not I’ll be able to successfully suppress the unpredictable and uncontrollable response to loss that is grief. I feel as on edge as Donald Trump’s press team must feel every time he stands in front of a camera or microphone or says he’s about to tweet something. Why put that kind of pressure on myself if I don’t need to?

My other issue with New Year’s Eve is that too many times I've spent a FORTUNE on a night out that was reasonably average and bought a dress that I've never worn again.

Not this year.

This year, I plan on doing nothing at all because that’s what I actually want to do. Call me boring, but I simply cannot be arsed. I don't want to start the new year with a stinking hangover, eating my body weight in crappy food and crying about a seriously reduced bank account. I’m fully aware that I'll have to endure all the New Year's Eve insta stories with people determined to prove they're having the best night of their whole entire lives, but I'll be too busy lazing on my comfy sofa, enjoying a night free from heel induced pain, letting it all hang out in my incredibly comfortable but equally unflattering lounge wear. I might even push the boat out and throw in a face mask. Entering the year as I intend to feel for the next 12 months - sexy as hell.

So, this Christmas, I'll be paying more attention to my wants and needs than usual and creating a Christmas that is as close to perfect as it can be for no one else but me.

Just like Glen Coco, I will bloody go.

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