It’s that point between Christmas and New Year where many of us feel like we are in Chrimbo Limbo. Christmas is over but it’s not quite time to take down the decorations yet (although I do know a few people who have), and there are still a few days until the new year. I’ve seen quite a few social media memes about not knowing what time of day it is or what is happening, and I can relate.
For the first time in almost a year I took a period of annual leave that was more than just a few days. After working so hard for such a long time and experiencing high levels of stress over the last few months I found it disorienting and difficult to relax at first – even when I was in my jammies and watching Christmas films I felt a little agitated, like I should be doing something and it took a few days to be able to get into the it’s ok to have a rest mindset. I think I needed to decompress. It has made me think about the importance of regularly taking some time for myself next year – the mental state that I was in before Christmas wasn’t an entirely healthy one and despite the fact that I enjoy my job, I need to start setting some very clear boundaries when it comes to workload and client demands and expectations.
I look forward to Christmas every year. Since we got married (can you believe that was over four years ago already??!) The Bloke and I spend Christmas at home, visiting family and friends in the weeks before (although last year we weren’t able to do that). We have developed a bit of a routine and traditions – when we buy presents and send cards, when and how we decorate, when we go food shopping etc. Usually by now everything would be done and ready to go well in advance – the cupboards would be full, presents would be wrapped, our Christmas watchlist would have been planned to the nth degree to avoid missing any of the Christmas specials, The Bloke would have braved Marks and Spencer to grab a pre-rolled turkey and stuffing (there’s only two of us and there’s no way I’m spending half my Christmas Day cooking a massive frozen turkey that will go to waste) and I would have posted on the blog several times about how drunk the tree looks etc.
For the last few years The Bloke and I have established a Christmas routine – we have our own little Christmas celebration a few days early, I get the train up to my Mum’s house on the 23rd, he drives to his Mum’s house (which is about 50 miles away from my Mum’s) early on the 24th, and then he drives across to pick me up on Boxing Day and we drive back down to Birmingham together. It’s a tiring day for him, but it’s quicker, cheaper and easier than battling with the trains and he always insists on doing it to ensure that I get home safe. It normally takes him about an hour to get to me and then a further two hours to drive home, but time always seems to pass really quickly as we spend the majority of the journey blathering at each other about the events of Christmas.
Yesterday, however, turned out to be a little more of an adventure than usual. The Bloke is an experienced and excellent driver and I always feel safe with him when I’m a passenger in his car, but despite his driving prowess he also possesses no sense of navigation or direction whatsoever. What should have taken him about an hour to meet me turned into a three-hour epic that involved a number of phone calls and texts after he missed the one crucial junction he needed. I felt really sorry for him during his regular updates, but although I felt mean in doing so I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself – it isn’t the first time he’s phoned me from the middle of nowhere after becoming totally lost. I eventually jumped in a taxi and met him in the nearest town to me, where I found him in a rather stressed-out state and sporting a chest infection. After he had calmed down we made onto the M6, where the sky quickly went dark and we were met with a blizzard – the first snow of Christmas. I always feel a bit strange when travelling in snow storms, the oncoming snow often makes me think I’m going into warp drive aboard the Starship Enterprise.
Thankfully, we made it back safely, there was a parking space right outside our house, the heating was on and the cats were pleased to see us. I had been spoiled yet again with gifts from his family and we snuggled up on the couch and watched some TV. Unfortunately his chest infection has got worse so I’ve ordered him to stay in bed and let me look after him today – he’s one of those really annoying patients who wants to get up and carry on as normal. He needs the rest, bless him, and it will give him a chance to wind down from the last few weeks…
What about you guys? Are you beginning to wind down or are you gearing up for New Year?