10 TIPS FOR HOLIDAY BURNOUT

Stressed Woman

10 TIPS FOR HOLIDAY BURNOUT

by | Dec 3, 2021

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”– e.e. cummings

At this time of year the answer to the question “Are You Stressed?” is an easy YES for most of us. There are many reasons for added stress, anxiety and depression during the holidays. The key is to find your personal trigger points and act to reign them in. Try these 10 tips for holiday burnout. I hope you have the time to read this article from start to finish, especially if you’re stressed or short on time😃, but if you just can’t find the time, skip to the video at the bottom of this post. It’s sure to bring a smile.

Just a few reasons why you might be stressed are

Your expectations are too high…

It’s easy to get into the mental loop of striving for perfection during the holidays. We’re so looking forward to being with family and friends during the holidays. We want everything to be the absolute best that it can be for them and for ourselves.

You simply have too much to do…

And I know you do. I’ve been there. You’re struggling with purchasing and wrapping gifts, writing cards and letters, decorating your home, preparing lots of yummy holiday treats not to mention dinners, attending holiday parties etc. This is all in addition to your everyday responsibilities at home and at work.

You have SAD…

A perfect acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD is a kind of depression which affects many in the fall and winter and is thought to be due to the lack of light.

You’re seeing family members for the first time since our universal COVID experience began…

Many of us went for long periods without seeing family members and friends to protect ourselves and them from the virus. The expectation of seeing these loved ones for the first time can add additional stress to our already stressed out lives.

You’re stressed about your finances during the holiday season…

The holidays can bring lots of extra expenses such as money for meals away from home, gifts, cards, groceries, gas, holiday decorations to name a few .

You’re worried about gifts that you’ve ordered arriving on time…

Let’s say you know that little Tommy is counting on you for that certain special something. You may be particularly worried that you won’t have it on time this year with the supply chain issues that our economy is experiencing now.

Package Delivery
Ivan Samkov at Pexels

You’ve experienced a loss of a family member or friend during the year…

These kinds of losses can bring particular stress, anxiety and depression. Many of us did not have the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to a friend or loved one due to COVID restrictions. The has made the mourning process all the more difficult.

You’re alone for the holidays or a part of your family can’t make it this year…

The holidays are a very difficult time to be alone. And it may also be hard if a part of your family is not joining you this year as they always have. This could be for many reasons including children who may be with in-laws for the first time. Depression and anxiety can easily overwhelm you.

You’re anticipating discord at the holiday table…

Sometimes those at our holiday tables have a knack for creating controversy. These days, there is no lack of subjects likely to bring on loud and argumentative conversations especially if there’s alcohol and politics involved.

You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family, an’ they’re still kin to you no matter whether you acknowledge ’em or not, and it makes you look right silly when you don’t.”-Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

Traffic, traffic and more traffic

Car Traffic
Life Of Pix at Pexels

Whether it’s foot traffic, automobile traffic or airline traffic, you know what I mean. With everything else that’s going on, you don’t need to be spending your life in lines and they’re making you NUTS.

Over the years, I’ve experienced nearly all of these stressors at one time or another. They zap your energy, lead you to eat and drink more than you want, prevent you from enjoying the moment and even lead to physical symptoms. For me the physical symptoms showed up as heart palpitations and twitches in my eyes. How does holiday stress show up for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Whatever the reason for your stress, there are ways that you can work to limit stress and make the upcoming holidays a season to remember for the best reasons and not because you couldn’t wait for them to be over.

Here are my thoughts on how to make this holiday season more JOYFUL and less stressful with 10 tips for holiday burnout…

Have a little chat with yourself…

Settle down in a quiet place with a cup of coffee, tea or your favorite beverage. If possible, do this before the holidays begin. Think about what your holiday stressors are. Write them down. Then think of three ways that you can work to minimize the stress that you’ve identified. Here’s an example. Say you’ve written down “I want this holiday to be perfect for my family.” First you’ll need to ask yourself if this is setting your expectations too high. Nothing is perfect or ever will be. Just what is perfect to you? Do you need to make all of your families’ favorite holiday foods, have the house decorated to the max and buy everyone multiple gifts that they will love. What are three things you could do to bring your expectations down?

  1. I can cut my usual decorations in half. Instead of putting everything out, I’ll choose a few decorations that my family cherishes and keep everything else in a box or even donate it to someone else for their enjoyment.
  2. I can ask each family member for one of their favorite holiday foods and only prepare those instead of my usual “more than everyone can eat in a week.”
  3. I can buy one thoughtful gift for each of my family members. Instead of shopping at the mall, I can shop online.

As much as possible, continue your daily healthy routines…

  1. Everyone wants to enjoy the special holiday treats, but too much of a good thing is just that-“too much”. Excess calories and unhealthy choices such as too much alcohol or too many sugary desserts will lead to added stress and anxiety, poor sleep, lack of energy and excess pounds. Enjoy your favorites in small amounts. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Don’t go to a party hungry and bring along something healthy that you know you will enjoy.
  2. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep. I know that I need a certain amount of sleep or I will suffer the consequences the following day. Don’t hesitate to leave the party a little early to get in those extra z’s. I’ve been known to leave my own party early haha….we call it “Suzie Sneak Away” in our family.
  3. Take time to breathe. This may be continuing your daily yoga, prayer or meditation practice or simply taking 90 seconds to breathe. Breathing exercises have many benefits including reducing stress levels and lowering your blood pressure and your heart rate. Here’s a quick video from Dr. Andrew Weil on the 4-7-8 breath. Give it a try.

Make plans and learn to say no…

You don’t have to do everything! Write down what’s important for you to accomplish between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Pare it down if necessary. Then say no when things come up to disrupt your plan.

Continue your weekly exercise routine…

If possible keep your weekly routine as much as possible. If you’re short on time, try to work in 30 minutes of moving in between other activities each day. At the mall, do a few circuits around the corridors. Take the stairs. Park in the farthest spot in the lot from your destination. Do a few squats while preparing dinner? Lift some weights while you’re watching television. Every little bit helps to keep you sharp and feeling at your best.

If you’re concerned about finances, prepare a budget for your holiday spending…

Write it down. Add up your expected expenses. Make adjustments if necessary. Set a spending limit and stick to it. Some people find it helpful to add the allocated cash to an envelope labelled with each category of spending. Or you may want to move your budgeted amount to a special account. Google “How to make a holiday budget and stick to it.” There’s lots of advice online about budgeting.

Practice gratitude…

There is now significant scientific evidence on the many benefits of gratitude. Check out this article from PositivePsychology.com on 28 benefits of practicing gratitude as well as research on the subject. Don’t rise for the day until you’ve counted 5 reasons why you’re grateful for the new day or keep a gratitude journal. How about going over your reasons to be grateful when you’re in a long line of traffic or a line to checkout at the mall instead of allowing your blood pressure and heart rate to go through the roof? You’ll find 40 different ideas for practicing gratitude here.

Donate your time or money to help others…

Like practicing gratitude, donating your time and/or money can have tremendous benefits for the giver’s health and well being.

Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping and working with others can have a profound effect on your overall psychological well-being. Nothing relieves stress better than a meaningful connection to another person.  Working with pets and other animals has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.” Helpguide.org

Even something as simple as helping neighbors with holiday chores can bring relief from stress for both yourself and your neighbor.

People Volunteering
cottonbro at Pexels

Don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional…

Most of us need help at one time or another along the road of life. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional.

If you’re hosting a holiday dinner and you’re concerned about discord, declare it a no-conflict zone.

When conflicts are likely, your guests will thank you for paving the way for a controversy free holiday. Prepare in advance by thinking of topics of conversation to offer that won’t create stressful exchanges. Reminisce about happy family memories. Play soft, peaceful music. Limit or remove alcohol availability

Practice savoring your most precious holiday memories…

These memories can be as simple as the joy on your child’s face as they spin a dreidel or see a Christmas tree, the beauty of holiday lights or the magnificence of a clear sky on a crisp day. Like practicing gratitude, science tell us that the simple act of savoring can bring relief from stress and anxiety.

” Savoring involves mindfully engaging in thoughts or behaviors that heighten the effect of positive events and positive emotions. There are three types of savoring: Anticipatory savoring (looking forward to a positive event); Savoring the moment (intensifying and prolonging the enjoyment of a current experience); and Reminiscing (reviewing a past event to rekindle positive feelings).” StressAndResilience.com

Child Seeing Santa
cottonbro at Pexels

I wish you joy and peace during this holiday season.

My husband, Mark, created this silly “sad” song for my extended family on Christmas. We have enjoyed it year after year during the holiday season. It was born out of my compulsive need to always use china at the holiday table…..paper plates and plastic cups were not allowed. I’ve wised up a bit over the years. Someone once told me “When you’re gone, your children won’t remember whether you had a clean white couch.” Being present and engaged with those at your holiday table is what will bring joy and peace whether that table is set with china or paper plates and plastic cups.

Check out these holiday recipes from Chasing Beans…

4 Comments

  1. Jean W.

    A man of many talents!! ;). Thanks for the reminder it’s all about being present and enjoying the people and relationships in our lives and NOT about the perfect food, gift or decoration. Excellent timing at the beginning of the season. XO

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      HaHa!! Glad you enjoyed the tips. XXXOOO

      Reply
  2. Kathy

    👏👏👏🤣Thanks for the laugh!! Happy Holidays!! Love from the the Phillips’s XO

    Reply
    • Rebecca

      Glad you enjoyed the performance. He’s pretty funny when he gets going. XXXOOO

      Reply

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