It’s usually just about now that I have a meltdown.  December is notorious for high stress levels, overdoing it financially, rushing around trying to cram in work, kids activities, various appointments, family responsibilities and factoring in looking after a dog too.  I’m sure you agree that December is a time, when for many of us, we go to the bottom of the pile.

This year I’ve been trying another approach as I was determined to learn from last year’s mistakes.  Come Christmas last year, I was knackered and I spent my birthday not very well (I’m an early Jan birthday girl) totally fed up and wondering if it was all worth it.

This year has been much easier.  I’ll admit that having teenagers is a much easier affair when it comes to pre-xmas activities.  There are none.  This has its pros and cons.  I love all the build up to Christmas so I’m wishing I had a nativity play to see.  However, after buying a new tree this year I was never prepared for the lengthy debate that ensued with my son in the shop; a trip to a nativity would have been much shorter in duration!

Here are my Christmas self-care and survival tips for the busy parent of teenagers:

1 – Continue as if it’s not Christmas.  Go to the gym, walk the dog, and put yourself at the top of the pile (for once!).

2 – Diarise time with yourself.  Nothing is coming between me and my dance sessions! It’s my time to let off steam, keep my endorphin levels high and make me smile.

3 – Take a lengthy bath with a Weleda bath milk in it.  My all time favourite is Arnica Muscle Soak as it has rosemary to improve the circulation (great for a cold day), arnica for aches, pains and strains, and lavender (to aid rest and relaxation).

4 – Use a slow-cooker.  You can cook family meals quickly, easily and prepare them at times of the day when your kids are still in bed!

5 – Cook one-tray meals.  I did this Chicken recipe last week.  The family thought it was great and less washing up for all.

6 – Have some great remedies at hand that are simple to use.  I love Weleda Stress Spray – it calms me right down.  I use Aconite if I think a cold is coming and Sea Buckthorn Elixir on my porridge or morning yoghurt to get a super high dose of vitamin c and b12.

7 – Learn to say no!  You don’t have to do everything to please everyone.

8 – Buy gifts that are simple to purchase; from a small local business, vouchers,  or give an experience.  Heading to shops like Argos or Primark near Christmas is enough to stress the calmest of calm people out.

9 – Treat yourself to a session with a therapist; homeopathy (of course!), massage or acupuncture are my favourite ways to stay well over winter.

10 – Get your kids to help out more!  This week my 13 year old made dinner.  He cooked fajitas and they were delicious.  He enjoyed doing it, I loved not doing it, my 15 year old washed up and we all were happy smiley people!

Self care is so important.  I say that as a woman who has learnt the hard way!