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Christmas Presence

Workshops facilitators notice a surge in bookings after Christmas, when instead of taking care of yourself you've let the stress levels skyrocket and taken it out on someone else. Avoid paying the price afterwards with this happy Christmas guide.

We want to make it special for our kids, get just the right present for Mum, visit the tricky relation just because we should, and so often end the Christmas season feeling exhausted and upset.

The best mothers, partners, friends and family are the ones that are happy, relaxed and present. So don’t forget to refill your own tank or run dry and end up being the person you are most trying not to be.

1 Balance the give and take this year by nourishing yourself as much as you nourish others, and really show yourself that you care.

2 Try and put some fun into the preparations. Put on your favourite music, take a minute to dance round the kitchen, buy a bottle of your favourite drink so you can treat yourself to a glass; stock up on whatever makes you stop, take a breath and smile.

3 Request free gift wrapping. Shops don't always publicise this service, so be sure to ask. It's so much more relaxing than searching for sellotape at 2am on Christmas Eve.

4 Book yourself a retreat for next year, so you can look forward to some time for yourself. Then if things come up and upset you over the festive season jot them in a journal so you can process them during your retreat rather than trying to deal with it while everyone is feeling jaded from too much food and drink.

5 Schedule time at home. Cuddling down close to the fire beats Christmas travel any day. A "stay-cation" allows for evening drives to see the lights, family camp-outs in front of the Christmas tree, and evenings spent with carols and mince pies.

6 Everyone says take a bubble bath. Well that's because it works. So while you're buying presents throw a bottle of your favourite smelly and couple of candles into the trolley for yourself.

7 Meditate. Just ten minutes a day has proven benefits. You know I'm right on this one, so put it in the diary and set an alert to remind you.

8 Watch your stimulants intake. Stock up on some decent herbal tea - we love the ones by Pukka - so that you can lighten your caffeine load.

9 On Christmas Day, right in the middle of the whirl, exactly when you should be basting the turkey or giving out presents, stop, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the floor and really be present to the people you are with. Look at each of them, take your own emotional snapshot and really savour the moment. Otherwise it's all over and all you have are someone else's pictures to remember the day with.

10 Get some exercise. Even if they moan all the way, a long walk on Boxing Day does wonders for sugar-wired children, hungover adults and grouchy grandmas. One family had a route they did every year and buried a bottle at the end of it, then they dug up the bottle they'd planted the previous year and all had a nip before the windswept walk home.

WIshing you a very Happy Christmas from all of us at The French Retreat.

The French Retreat has a range of courses open to all, as well as quieter weeks where you can come and have a few treatments, join in a yoga class and take a few long walks. The programme is being udated regularly so come and check again soon as there's lots in the pipeline.

If you ‘like’ our Facebook page before New Year’s Eve we’ll give you a discount on your visit next year.

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