Surviving The Great Christmas Panic

It’s that time of year again. Christmas.

I feel like I’m being bombarded by perfume adverts from every direction. I DON’T WANT PERFUME, PEOPLE.

Christmas and gatherings of family bring stress, and stress brings panic as its plus one. We’ve only got a week until the big event, and I’ve still got a mile-long list of jobs for work.

The joys of being self-employed.

What was once a time of peace and recovery in my youth has now become a time of trying to look happy while desperately hiding the panicked thoughts of work at the back of my mind and forcing as much food into my mouth as possible.

Actually, that last bit about the food happened in my youth as well.

So here I am. Sat on a train heading towards a Frenchier climate. This year, I’ve decided to preempt the terror by making a plan.

I do love a good plan.

The overall aim of the plan is this:

  1. Keep stress levels to a minimum.
  2. Get enough work done so that I can sleep, but still have time with the family.
  3. Don’t Panic!
  4. Have a great Christmas holiday.

But how am I going to achieve this? Well, in the mad panic of packing, I managed to assemble a small box of things to keep me in a positive frame of mind!


Good question, Brad Pitt. I’m glad you are taking such an interest in my well-being! Let me tell you:

    1. A book: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
      It’s no secret that books are the perfect escapism tool.

      Although not the perfect escape tool. Good to remember that next time you’re locked in a cage.

      After I read American Gods, Gaiman became one of my favourite authors – so when I need to take a break from real-life, this will be my go-to tool.

      I have noticed that when I get too stressed, I find it hard to focus enough to read. That’s where other items in the box come in handy.

    2. My journal/diary
      I’m never without this tome. It helps me write down my thoughts and feelings in a safe space away from everyone else. I can write, scribble, curse, judge without the fear of getting into trouble or being judged myself for what I write.It’s an amazing de-stressing tool and I advise everyone to get a journal if they don’t have one. I also like to have a reason to use pens of different colours. Yay colourful!
    3. My Gameboy Advance SP
      Quite the relic in the gaming world nowadays, this Gameboy has seen me through many adventures. I lost track of it for a while, but recently found it tucked under my bed in a blanket of dust looking very sorry for itself. Feeling guilty, I rescued it and charged it back up to full.I’ve got a handful of games from various previous adventures which will give me another way to balance my feng chi or whatever name you wish to use:Pokemon Leaf Green. I hope this will remind me of my childhood and bring me some of the Christmas joy from way back, when forcing monsters to fight for my entertainment kept me engaged for hours.Lord of the Rings. A terrible game, but I can’t stop playing it. It’s awful, really. Just awful. I just like to play as Samwise.

      Sims Bustin’ Out. So many hours were spent cutting the lawn on this game, I can’t help but smile every time I think of it.

      Golden Sun. A classic game for the GB that I keep dropping into every few years. One day I’ll finish it.

      Was that a list in a list? This is getting out of control.

    4. My Calligraphy pen
      I’m not good at Calligraphy, but it slows my mind down and makes me feel better. So of course I was going to bring it.
    5. My Fiancée
      OK, I haven’t actually put her in a box, but when I need a cuddle, she’ll be there.
    6. My project book
      This one is a little more ‘work’ oriented.It’s filled with to-do lists, and I get to cross off every item of work as I complete it. This can be a bonus for the ‘yay’ feeling as I get closer to the end, or it can drag me down because I see all the work I still have to do… so it’s a double-edged sword of sorts. But what’s an adventure without a sword?

An ancient relic of joy
To help me stay on the happy road of happiness, I have a few rules too. GUESS WHAT, HERE’S ANOTHER LIST:

  1. STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA/KEEP IT TO A MINIMUM – Facebook recently admitted that it was bad for your mental health. So keeping away from this tool of evil is a good idea.Unfortunately, I still need to use it for work, but if I have a clear set of goals (get in, type stuff, get out) I think I should be able to conquer this self-esteem crushing landscape of information.
  2. Appreciate the little things – The cool air outside. The connections of family. The fact that I’m going to eat a LOT of chocolate. I need to live my life, not live my jobs.
  3. Celebrate the small victories – every time I cross something off my to-do list, every time I get one step closer to my goal, I’m going to say ‘booyah!’ and high five someone. Also eat more chocolate.
  4. DON’T EAT TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE – Got to think of my teeth. Dentists keep telling me.
  5. Blog more about stuff – I am so bad at this. Come on Richard, blog more!

I have a good feeling about this Christmas. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get it right this time.

Until next time.


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