Surviving the Christmas rush: be brain fit Dr. Jenny Brockis It’s that time of year again. The shopping malls all have their decorations up and radio jocks have been telling us since September that there are only “x” number of shopping days left until Christmas. While it’s been possible to live in a blissful state of denial so far, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s now December, and school holidays, end of year preparations and Christmas are coming up fast. So how do you tackle this crazy time with all it’s silliness, Jingles and Mingles? There are probably three options. My colleague April*, approaches December with same military precision she devotes to all her work. Her todo list is complete, colour coded for clarity. Christmas presents have all been bought, wrapped and labelled. Cards are written and in neat piles for family, friends and business. The dog has been booked into a kennel for while they entertain and she’s just awaiting delivery of the Christmas crackers she ordered from the States which are two days late. She has this strange calm expression on her face, which I’m never quite sure what it signifies. You might call it beatific. You could also call it smug. The second option was taken up by my pal June* who has announced that she is about to head off overseas with her family for a six week sojourn to Dubai, Italy and Canada returning after Australia day. Lucky duck. The third option, which is the one I seem to naturally fall into every year despite thinking that things could be different, is to assume that with 31 days in the month there is of course loads of time to get everything done. I mean we are only talking about two actual days of public holiday when everyone can sit back and relax with a nice glass of something cold and wet, stuff our faces silly with lots of good food and enjoy catching up with good friends and family. What could be easier? The trouble with the third option is that it assumes Christmas is at the end of the month and so I’m never ready for the 25th. The Christmas letter to the ‘rellies doesn’t get sent until the New Year. That great idea for a present for Uncle Ted, who is impossible to buy for, isn ’t available until March and on top of that there are work tasks waiting for completion, and new projects waiting to get unpacked and developed properly to roll out in the New Year.