Pack away the decorations, take down the tree. The mayhem is over for another year.
All that is left to do is sweep out the old and welcome in the new.
As much as I enjoyed Christmas – and it was a smashing family gathering – I’m glad it’s done.
Not the actual day with the food, the laughter and the wonderful company, but the whole shooting match which saw the festive season officially start on December 1, and try to maintain enough momentum to stagger through until the 25th.
I got a press release all about last minute shopping. It was dated December 14.
And it’s inconsequential nonsense like that which racks up the pressure on everyone to do more, go faster, to fret and fuss, and, ultimnately waste money on tat no-one wants or needs.
But, more importantly, it conspires to rob us of the most precious commodity of all. Time.
Life birls 24/7.
The 12 days of Christmas have been stretched into a month-long festival.
Twixmas – the black hole between December 25 and Hogmanay – now requires its own events because it seems we cannot have something as blissful and simple as peace and quiet.
And it isn’t just Christmas.
Clubs once filled by 10.00pm don’t open before then and keep going until 4.00 am.
Supermarkets open round the clock, TV broadcasts every hour of every day. We channel hop through hundreds of stations and see the same shows screened on a loop.
We binge on Netflix because one episode is no longer enough, we pour our attention into XBoxes , waste endless hours on YouTube, and social media never stops.
We work harder and longer than ever, and, when we finally get home, we’re still hardwired to the office; checking emails, making notes and doing reports.
We’re expected to do more with less, and every re-structure, every cut and closure takes us one step closer to the point where it’ll be our turn to go. Nothing personal, of course. Oh, but it is.
Little wonder, more and more people are struggling.
We need respite more than ever; a shelter from a world that spins like a fairground ride with its lights flashing and music pulsing.
We have to find the off button in our heads as well as our laptops.
It cannot be good for our mental health to live like this.
So, if you do one thing different in 2018, make it this. Take a step back ... and breathe.
Doesn’t matter whether that’s simply sitting doing nothing, walking the coastal path, going for a swim or switching off your phone.
Put your mental health first – those emails demanding, or hinting at the expectation of, a reply can wait – and set the pace that you want to let you enjoy life.
January is a good time to clear the decks and start with fresh goals – ones that don’t need spreadsheets either.
Our with the old. In with the new.
Let’s make 2018 the Year of You.