Are we really ready to party?

For all the twinkling lights, promises of goodwill, tidings of comfort and joy and advertising which borrows heavily from soft focus Hollywood movies, December is always exhausting both physically and mentally.

There are gifts to plan, buy and wrap and work to complete before waving goodbye to the year – and on top of this there’s extreme pressure to socialise.

People become obsessed with saying “we’ll have to do something before Christmas” as if the day itself is in fact the apocalypse. Planning and parties become a feeding frenzy and we ourselves are the feast.

But it’s been two years since the last party season – and statistics how that far from having missed it, we’re all pretty reticent about locking horns with December’s festivities once again.

Almost half (45%) of UK adults have enjoyed not having the pressure to socialise during lockdown and 40% felt anxious about socialising again after it was lifted.

Almost two years of seemingly relentless lockdown, isolation, mask wearing and hand sanitising has taken a massive toll on how we socialise. We have fewer friends and have adopted quieter hobbies.

And yet, now that we are – for the moment – ‘free’ shouldn’t we make the most of it? We can’t just sit around doing jigsaws and ordering Deliveroo for the rest of our days, can we? Is it just a case of ripping off the plaster by filling up our diaries and rocking around the Christmas tree until January?

Or are we all focusing on a more mindful festive period – one which allows us to take stock of one of the most important lessons the last two years have taught us, namely what and who is important to us and why.

The answer is, most probably, a bit of both. Balance and moderation are not exactly the dictionary’s most exhilarating words both are undeniably key to a happy life.

Mince pies and eggnog and mulled wine and The Fairy Tale of New York on repeat – we’re here for it, absolutely – but we’re also here for brisk walks, screen free afternoons and saying ‘no’ to the after party that you know is going to transform you from festive bonne vivant to duvet-shrouded Grinch.

One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself and your family is to look after of yourself. You can’t look after others if you’re depleted. Self-care means different things to different people, of course, but really it involves being kind to your mind and kind to your body. This means adopting equilibrium which will allow us to take what we need when we need it, and leave things that no longer serve us.

So, take this December at your own pace – and if you need a daily edge, you know where to find it!