Get A Christmas Action Plan Together!

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I know it’s only November but I’ve already had several emails from people worrying about those dreaded festivities lying just around the corner. Time does have a terrible habit of running away with itself so I know it’ll feel like Christmas is upon us in just a matter of minutes.

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In anticipation of the worrying I know lots of people will be doing in the coming weeks, here’s my guide to making the festive season a lovely experience that will definitely NOT derail your alcohol-free intentions…

  1. If you convince yourself that alcohol doth make Christmas special and magical, I guarantee you’ll spend the whole of the holidays feeling like you’re missing out. Booze is not a good thing when you can’t moderate the amount you drink. It makes you argue with people, fall asleep on the settee drooling, make an arse of yourself at the work Xmas do, have the hangover from hell on Christmas morning (making present opening and cooking dinner truly horrendous experiences that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy), and adds countless calories to your already wildly-exaggerated daily intake. So remember – you’re not missing out on anything by not drinking!
  2. Get organised with the whole festive shebang – and make the organising a thing to enjoy! I’m never one to pass up any opportunity to write lists and plan stuff so perhaps I’m slightly biased with this one, but hear me out. If you aren’t organised, things become super stressful, right? And when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to want a drink. So it makes sense to start shopping early, work out your budget, write Christmas card and pressie lists, and put together a theme for your decorations and tree. The earlier you start with this, the better you will feel. Plus, it has the added bonus of keeping you busy when otherwise you might be thinking about booze.
  3. Buy a nice outfit. Have your hair done. Get a new lipstick. Focus a bit of energy and thought into looking and feeling glamorous during the Crimbo period. You’ll feel amazing, get loads of compliments (thus boosting your self-esteem and confidence), and it’ll help get you into the celebration mood.
  4. Spend a couple of hours before the holidays start making and testing out some mocktails. Make sure you have all the ingredients in ready for Christmas, and enjoy drinking your special creation on the day. Nothing will make you feel flatter than drinking water with your Crimbo dinner.
  5. Be creative. When I drank, I never really did much creative but when I stopped, I found that I LOVED making things. Whether it’s baking or conjuring up some homemade Christmas decorations with the kids, being creative is a brilliant way of staying mindful and not letting your brain run away with anxieties and worrying about booze and how you’ll manage to stay sober.
  6. Look after yourself REALLY well. Get as much sleep as you can, eat as healthily as you can, get lots of exercise, meditate, and spend time alone rejuvenating and winding down. This could be in the bath with candles and some luxury smellies, going for a run or listening to music, wrapping up and going on a gorgeous country walk, or whatever else takes your fancy. Just make sure you take care of YOU this Christmas. Because when YOU are in tiptop condition, everything else becomes so much easier to manage. I’m also a fan of buying yourself a few presents alongside those you’re choosing for loved ones…
  7. Last one – remember what Christmas is. And what it is not. It’s a holiday, lovely downtime for spending quality time with family and friends (this is my definition because I’m not religious, but if you are a Christian then it’s all about celebrating that – either way, it ain’t about booze). In the run up to Christmas, focus your thinking, whenever you get a quiet moment, on what Christmas means to you – really zoom in on what you want it to be, for you and those around you. Give it a new meaning, whatever works best for you.

When you apply all of the above, it should be entirely possible to start making new, much happier festive memories! Wishing you a very happy time this Christmas. Lucy xx

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What Christmas Means to Me

It’s that time of year again when everything goes slightly nuts and the world turns a little bit Technicolor. Christmas can be overwhelming for many people, for a myriad of different reasons. Personally I have struggled with the festive period in the past because I was a single parent and had to share my daughter with her Dad on Christmas Day, because I went wild in the drinks department (more than usual) and got even more hammered than my standard level of drunkenness, and because I suffered worse consequences as a result of being more sozzled than normal for much of the holidays.

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Being drunk and then hungover, and having to deal with the associated mood swings in between, rendered me completely unable to be content with life’s simple pleasures. I was forever searching for happiness, but was unable to find it when in the grip of alcohol. I therefore turned to increasingly inconsequential means in my efforts to locate that elusive state of mind; retail therapy when I had no need for new stuff (and could ill afford new stuff) romantic dalliances that kept me enthralled by their complicatedness and emotional rollercoaster turbulence, radical life changing decisions, the list goes on…

What I did not have when I regularly drank alcohol, was an appreciation of the simple things in life, of what is truly of worth in our little worlds. I have spoken to many people who have given up drinking and who have since enjoyed similar moments of wonder at seemingly banal things; watching the rising sun, waking up feeling healthy and full of energy, seeing flowers in bloom bursting with colours never noticed before. What those people all have in common is the experiencing of an almost evangelical awakening in the weeks and months after ditching alcohol, when suddenly they are filled with a sense of clarity; life becomes obvious; it all falls into place.

As time goes on, this awareness grows stronger and stronger in me; I just know what I want, who I am and what life is all about. I understand me, I get it. And no time is it more prevalent than at Christmas when it can appear that all around you are losing their heads in a sea of alcohol.

For me, it has become wonderfully apparent that the next couple of weeks are about my two gorgeous girls having a special and happy time surrounded by their family who adore them, having more time than usual to spend with my other half, sharing delicious food and having a good laugh together. It’s about appreciating everything that we have, remembering people who aren’t so lucky, and trying to do something for them too.