Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season


Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.


IMG_0373.JPG 2 - Click to view full size photo

Ewan in his Santa suit!

Boxing Day walk
Boxing Day walk

Christmas is a joyous time, which I look forward to every year. Sharing this magical time with my two and a half year old son makes it even more special, as he revels in the wonder and newness of it all; the glittery Christmas decorations, the Christmas trees, the beautiful Christmas lights shining out on dull December evenings, the endless glitzy parties, the excitement (and trepidation) of meeting Santa, going on a steam train, seeing many relatives, eating delicious food, opening so many presents, the list goes on…

DSCN1697 - Click to view full size photoEwan and Mummy enjoying a pre-Christmas walk

Yet behind all this magic for our children are frazzled parents. All the commotion, the stress, the expense, the exhaustion and the wastage, to name but a few of the many pressures. In trying to please everyone else it is easy to lose sight of oneself. This year, perhaps more than ever, I was swept up in the numerous tasks I felt I needed to perform, which certainly took its toll on me by Boxing Day (the day after Christmas Day). Worn out, I almost collapsed after a brisk Boxing Day walk with our local running club, gobbling down some food before racing to my parents house, where at last I could relax and be looked after a little, before more social visits began in the lead-up to new year.

IMG_0988 - Click to view full size photoDogs and children posing in-front of the Christmas tree

Yet sitting on the sofa I became more aware than ever of the toll the holidays was again taking on my parents, who for five days hosted fifteen people in their home, an endless round of meals, washing up, laundry and bed-making, after weeks of preparation, including present and food buying. Was this really what Christmas was all about? For adults to be exhausted and stressed, under pressure to please others, with low bank balances and the worries of the New Year hanging over us all?

Ewan snug in the sling and babywearing jacket, as we walk off some of the Christmas Day
Ewan snug in the sling and babywearing jacket, as we walk off some of the Christmas Day

Ewan also began to suffer from an over-indulgence of people, parties, presents and food. It all became a bit too much. Those late nights and excitement, a complete lack of routine, and yet more presents, turned him into a tired out, overwhelmed little boy. Talking to friends with children, I realised their experiences were similar.

IMG_0602 - Click to view full size photoEwan and Mummy on the Santa Express

New Year’s Resolutions

On reflection, it was simply too much. As the year drew to a close I made a decision; next year a quieter, kinder Christmas for us all, one where we would spend more time doing simple activities together in a more relaxed manner. I sat down and wrote my New Year’s Resolutions, which a week in I am trying very hard to maintain. They are;

–          Slowing down; this is easier said than done. As an active, busy person I find it difficult to stop, even more so since having Ewan. However, yoga has taught me to listen to my body and respond to what it says. Attachment parenting has taught me to listen to my child and respond to his needs. Slowing down involves learning to say no, not taking on too many commitments, simply doing less as well as making more time for relaxation and quiet time. This is time both with my son as well as time alone. Both are important in order to be kind to myself and my child, to nurture and nourish my family unit. I have already made a conscious effort to fill up my diary less, doing no more than one scheduled activity per day, and have also stepped down from some volunteering work. As difficult as this was for me I know it is necessary.

–          Writing in my diary everyday; last year I attempted to do this but didn’t achieve it. This year my aim is not to write an essay of the day’s events, instead to write a sentence or two just noting one or two things Ewan has done/said/achieved, and any other thoughts I may have. It is more reflective and less journal like. It helps me to consider what that day has meant for me, giving me some perspective on the day’s events, and will serve me well in the future as I look back on 2013..

–          Yoga and meditation; It is so easy to put this off to another day. I do it all the time. Yet when I practice yoga I feel more refreshed, energised and calm. It is a chance to unwind, tune into my body and treat myself to a little time out. This is essential for everyone, but perhaps even more important for parents, who are constantly thinking about the comfort and happiness of their children. Again, it is easy to lose track of our own wellbeing when we are thinking about our offspring, yet if we do not look after ourselves, how can we look after our children? This year I am trying to do at least ten minutes of yoga practice per day. It is an achievable aim which will greatly benefit me, helping me feel more grounded both physically and emotionally. Without this grounding I tend to become a little uprooted, which can lead to stress and burn out.

I’d love to hear your experiences of the holiday season and any tips on how you are recovering from this happy, yet difficult, time of year.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • We’re Saving their First Christmas for Next Time — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

13 thoughts on “Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season”

  1. We similarly got caught up in all the things we wanted to fit in… and ended up doing a little too much. January has been a time to slow it back down! Lots of return to our simpler routines.

    1. That’s what we’ve found, January is a time to slow down, heped here by the snow which has meant we can’t go about our normal routine anyway. Thanks for your comments

  2. No doubt, slowing down is hard. I too have let go of some commitments I enjoy for the peace and well-being of myself and my family. I desperately want to begin yoga again, but am not sure it that will work due to cost/childcare. So, instead, I’m hoping to begin something at home. I’m sure my children would enjoy a peaceful yoga routine with me 🙂

    1. Sure they would, I try to do some yoga at home as well as at a class, I also use a DVD which although not as good as a class gives me some direction as opposed to trying to do it all alone. I would like to incorporate Ewan into the practice too, I did when we was a baby. There is a local toddler class that I may start attending, to get some ideas, then do some with him, as I know everyone, children included, would benefit from some yoga. Good luck with it, and thanks for your comments.

  3. Your New Year’s resolutions sound wonderful, Caroline! It sounds like you had many awesome activities over Christmas, but I know what you mean about the need to slow down. I’ve simplified Christmas activities over the years, and it’s a very happy family time for all of us that way. Your resolutions should be a great way to slow down and enjoy your year. 🙂

    1. Thanks, they are, I am already slowing down and feeling better for it. I need ti take a leaf out of your book and do less next Festive season, make it a family, relaxted time instead of a manic time. Thanks for your comments.

  4. I got lucky and had a pretty relaxing holiday! The only hectic day was Christmas Eve but even that day we found so much time to relax. We didnt overbook ourselves or make too many commitments over the break and it was really enjoyable. We still had a transition from holiday relaxation over to real life again.

  5. I’ve been really careful to keep a calm schedule ever since we had our little one. The demands on us moms in this season of life are high as it is without packing in too many activities. Here’s wishing you rest and balance in your new year!

  6. Wow! That sounds like a majorly stressful holiday! My suggestion would be to put a reminder on your calendar… maybe on October or November. Something to remind you as your life winds up towards the holiday again to take it easy before you get too deep into the excitement of it all.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly about yoga! I never WANT to do it, but feel so good after I have! I read something today about scheduling ‘parenting’ time in your calendar, to just BE with your children. I think that’s soooo valuable. Often, we get so busy, what we don’t schedule, we don’t DO!

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