Chillax /tʃɪˈlaks/ : Calm down and Relax
A month (or two!) prior to Christmas, my facebook timeline will be full of people posting things like “I don’t want to alarm you, but it’s xx days to Christmas”. Maybe I’m too Indonesian to understand this, because in my family and friends circle, Christmas day is the day when my mom would drag my sleepy ass to church, we have lunch or dinner in a special restaurant with our closest family (although sometimes it’s just the three of us – me, mom & dad), and then spend the rest of the day in the shopping centres just like any other day off. No opening presents in the morning, no special home-cooked meals, no carolling, no egg nogs (well this maybe because Jakarta is too hot for eggnog!), and we are A-okay with that. Christmas is just another religious holiday in our country.
I lived in Melbourne for 8 years, but months of December were spent in Jakarta because Melbourne would be too hot to function. So back in Melbourne, I didn’t realise how huge Christmas is for people in Australia, until I moved to Canberra and spend a few Christmas here. For me, seeing people getting stressed over christmas is like a man seeing women getting stressed over pimples and cuticles.
I hope you don’t think that I’m a grinch, because I love Christmassy things myself and I love the idea of families getting together for lunch or dinner. I feel that the idea of stressing over christmas is very First-World-Problem-ish, which in 9gag terms means that it is so not important. Trying to finish our work before the end of the year is stressful enough, I hate to add “getting freaked out over christmas” on my list.
Don’t believe that people are actually stressing over christmas? Try googling “don’t stress over christmas” and you will find gazillion posts on how to de-stress on christmas planning. This is by far the most ridiculous one (spoiler alert: the article ends with suggestion that you get help from the doctor, OMG).
Here are some things that you have to remember when you start getting stressed over this holiday that’s supposed to be joyous and stuff:
1. It’s not the only day in the year you can give gifts
There is birthday, valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, just-because-i-love-you days, thinking-about-you days. I actually prefer getting gifts out of the blue, because it means that the other person is really thinking about me when buying it, and not because it’s Christmas.
2. Spend only the amount you’re willing to for gifts.
Christmas gifts are not charity. They are just things to make your loved ones happier than they already are. Will they be sad, hungry, thirsty or poor without your gifts? Nope. Just spend the amount that you’re willing to. If you’ve just had a big spending year; whether it’s because you just bought a new home, set up a business, or retail therapy over your recent heartbreak (hey, you need that!), it is okay to cut back on how much you spend on christmas gifts. You could maybe even try making those gifts yourself. Here are 5 printable christmas gift ideas from me, all you’ll need is just paper and printer. Let your loved ones know that you’re cutting back on gifts this year because of your reasons. I’m sure they will understand!
3. Kids don’t need that many toys
“But Wita, you don’t even have kids!” That’s true, I don’t. But doesn’t mean that I don’t know any kids. I have seen the amount of toys some kids get during christmas, and for some reason those toys just disappear into the thin air as the months go by. Come another Christmas, here comes another ridiculous amount of toys. As a Toy Story fan, I feel a little sad when I see toys get left behind just like that. I always imagine them crying in the darkness because they’ve been put into the toy chest and never been played with again. So sad. Here are some ideas for non-toys kids presents: enrol them into craft/drawing workshops, enrol them into children martial art classes, give them something to make (crafty boxes such as The Makers’ Box here seems like a great idea).
4. Remember, it is just Christmas
Really, it is JUST. CHRISTMAS. You might not believe what I just said at first, but repeat that again over and over again to yourself. You will then realise how ridiculous it is to stress over christmas. There are so many things in your life that you could focus your energy on, and those things might not come too often. While Christmas, in the other hand, comes every year. I hope I don’t sound selfish, but I think that my self is more important than Christmas. I don’t want to get all stressed out, and then sick, and then unable to actually enjoy what I want to do the most, all just because of Christmas.
5. Work for your miracles.
The only miracles that you’re gonna get during christmas are the ones that you’ve been working hard for the whole year. Here’s a great idea: set a “christmas miracle goal” at the beginning of the year, a big goal to reach before the next christmas. Then work towards the goal, and by next christmas, you’ll have your “miracle”! Miracles that come after a long hard work is more fulfilling than those that come out of nowhere.
So do you get stressed over christmas? What makes you stressed and how do you over come that? Sometimes sharing about what stress you out makes you feel a lot better, so please share your experiences in the comment. Have a stress-free Christmas!
I love the idea of stocking stuffers. They may not be as meaningful and expensive as your main gift, but they still bring little bits of cheer to the christmas morning gift-unwrapping ritual. Or if you’re short on the gift budget this year, these 5 printable stocking stuffers won’t cost you any money (except maybe paper and printer ink), and they are a lot of fun!
1. Reindeer Colouring Cards
This would be perfect for the little ones. It can also be an activity to do after your christmas feast!
2. Instagram Photo Gift Box
If your friend is an insta-addict, he/she is going to appreciate having their instagram photos printed and packaged in this cute instagram-inspired gift box. Printing instagram photos are easier than you think! You can also set a theme: wedding photos, he and she photos, pet photos, children photos, food photos, and many more.
3. Matryoshka Memory Game
They are so cheerful and fun, makes these matryoshka cards the perfect stocking stuffer!
4. Pocket Books
With three covers to print, all you need is some paper for the insert and stapler or just tie them up with twine to bind, just like what I did.
5. Retro Recipe Cards
For the cooks with a lot of secret recipes, they can finally write them down and have them as keepsake.
I like to get creative with my gift packaging, especially for christmas. Who wouldn’t love gift boxes that can be used as decorations afterwards? I have for you here three printable house boxes, and one of them is a christmas theme! Use them to wrap up stocking stuffers and candies, or simply hang them on your christmas tree! Download them after the jump, as well as folding and adhering points.
A lot of people seems to be interested to know more about what is it like to work from home; whether I get lonely, do I actually get work done and other questions. If “working from home” is one of your goals in the future, or if you’ve just started doing it, here are some things you need to know, and tips to overcome the problems that it may brings.
1. Being Alone
I am personally okay with being alone. As an only child with super busy parents, being alone is in my nature, so I’m very much used to it. Depending on the situation of your home, you might feel “trapped” to be in that same space day and night. Lucky for me, I have a dedicated room for working. If you don’t have an extra room in your house, you can have a dedicated space or nook or corner where you can have your desk. Decorate your space/room with the things that inspires you. If possible, decorate that corner/room differently from the rest of your home. Put on music when you work and lit a scented candle. Basically, make sure to differentiate your working environment with your living environment.
Remember, never ever work in your bed, and if possible, don’t work in your bedroom.
2. Getting work done
When you’re at home, it’s hard to push away distractions because there are too many loopholes for procrastination. The distractions might not come from someone or something else, it might be coming from yourself! There are times when I suddenly crave for corn bread in the middle of the day, and I just have bake corn bread right then and there. That won’t be possible if I was working in an office, but since my oven is only a few steps away, corn bread here I bake!
To overcome this, I have a list of things to do today, this week and also a list of all the projects that I need to do. Make them visible all the time from where you’re working. Don’t forget to write the “do or die date” for each project. Highlight the projects that needs to be done urgently so that you know which one should be done first, and which ones you can push aside and do later. Remember that even though there is no boss who would fire you if you don’t do your job, you do have clients who expect to get what they’ve paid for and you have a business and reputation to maintain. And that gives you a bigger responsibility to finish your work in the timely manner.
Sometimes you take on more jobs than you can handle, it happens. Communicate that with your clients, let them know that you need more time to work on the project. Let them know that it is important for you to have this extra time to deliver good quality work for them, and stick to what you’ve promised. A lot of clients would be happy to give you the extra time you need if it means that they’re getting the best of you, not the overworked, tired and uninspired you.
For more tips on project organising, read my previous post.
I read an article somewhere that suggests people who work from home should dress as how they would when working in the office. That person must have never experienced a near-40 degrees celsius summer in Australia with no air con at home. I say, wear whatever is comfortable for you. If you feel like dressing up helps you to be more focus in your work, go ahead! I love wearing something that makes me feel as comfortable as when I’m lazing around the house on a Sunday afternoon. When you’re passionate about something, you will still be passionate about it even when you’re naked.
4. Change of scenery
This is probably the best thing about working from home, you are mobile. I get bored of my workspace sometimes, so I grab my MacBook and sketchbooks, and work in my living room. Sometimes I go to my favourite cafe and do some work there. Changing scenery is also great when you’re stuck with inspiration. Check out my previous post on finding inspirations.
5. Don’t take your freedom for granted
Working from home means that you have no one to tell you what to do and answer to, and there’s no reason why you should take that opportunity for granted. Always remember that if you’re working as a freelancer or a blogger, you are your business. So if you didn’t take your office job for granted, why should you now? There are so many opportunities for you to grow and expand what you are doing into a real business (Gosh, I hate that word. We one-man/woman freelancers and bloggers are real businesses too, you know!). That gives me an idea… I might write about growing your creative freelance business next ;) !
So there you go, I hope that answers most of your questions about what working from home is like. It’s not as relaxing as it may seems, and if you think that working from home means that you have less responsibility, you are so wrong. You have the responsibility in giving your clients/customers the best of you 24/7 (although some clients don’t deserve that. Stay away from those clients!).
However, I have to admit that the challenges I face in starting and growing my own small business and being able to dream about making it something bigger and better is so amazing and I wouldn’t trade that for any office jobs!
Is it too early to do a Christmas-themed DIY? Oh well, Christmas is 6 weeks away, and better start now than be too late, right? Let’s bring the first sign of christmas into our homes with these DIY Christmas Baubles!
I purchased a pack of 5 Baubles in different sizes from my favourite packaging seller on ebay, Packitin. They came in 5 different sizes and are made of Acrylic. I decided to get creative using some paints this time. These baubles have such great quality, you can use them for many things, even as packaging for sweets or little toys. Click through for instructions…