Decorations. Cookie Exchanges. Gift Swaps. Work Socials. School Assemblies. Travel Plans. Parties. Reunions. The swirl of the holiday season is filled with a lot of emotion. It’s wonderful to share these cherished moments with the people you love but it’s also easy to get swallowed up in the responsibility of it all.
What is Holiday Burnout?
In short, burnout is defined as fatigue, frustration, overwork, or stress and holiday burnout is any or all of these during the holidays. The winter months are supposed to be a time of reflection, reconnection, and recharging. For many of us, it can feel like the opposite. We overschedule, overcommit, and overindulge. Parents, (mothers in particular) take on the burden of making sure the holiday is perfect for everyone in the family. In fact, 1 in 3 Americans experience Holiday Burnout before even getting to Christmas.
Layer on the existence of social media and the pressure deepens. Many feel they have to make the holidays not only memorable for the people they love but likable to the people who follow their feed.
Possible Thoughts That Could Lead to Holiday Burnout
Is my Elf on the Shelf set up clever enough?
Is the cookie decorating Instagram-able?
Are the family holiday PJs matching?
Did the holiday cards go out on time?
Are our outdoor lights festive enough?
Will anyone admire my homemade door wreath?
Tips to Avoid Holiday Burnout
Say “No” to 1 Thing
Chances are likely that there are several things about the holiday obligations that you fill you with dread. For some, it may be the cooking, for others it may be the parties or the shopping. Give yourself permission to say no to one thing you don’t want to do this holiday season. Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you have to be all things to all people. Saying no will open up some free time to focus on what is most important to you.
Say “Yes” to 1 Thing
On the flip side, there are things you probably LOVE about the holidays but don’t get the chance to do. For some that may the parties, for others it’s the cooking or shopping. Take a minute to make a list of what makes you happiest during the holiday. Just you. Highlight and make it a priority to yes to something that’s just for you.
Ask For Help
There are no medals given out for making it through the holidays without asking for help. It’s a hectic time and there’s lots to be done. Call in reinforcements! But be careful and try not to overuse your own family.
Do a Social Detox
Commit to spending less time looking at and posting to social networks. Studies have clearly linked the amount of time spent on social networks to increases in stress, anxiety, and depression. Instead of scrolling or posting, invest the time in doing something just for you. Put on a face mask, read a book, start a puzzle, have a quiet cup of tea. It’s amazing how much better you feel by resisting the mindless scroll even 1 time per day and reinvesting that time into you.
Embrace the Hygge
‘Hygge’ is a Danish expression for a state of coziness and comfortable conviviality. The term is typically accompanied with images of blankets, hot chocolate, and warm socks. But in this instance, let’s think of cozy less in the aesthetics and more in the state of mind. Being cozy often means you need to slow down. Take moments to be cozy for yourself. Slow down and smell the smells of the holidays without having to rush to the next thing.
Overall, give yourself the gift of prioritizing your needs this holiday season. What that looks like varies by person. It can mean calling and hiring a babysitter so you have a few hours of solo shopping or getting to attend a party without having to keep an eye on the kids. Or it can be making one less cookie from scratch or going on a social media diet. You could even build it into a new annual family holiday tradition to make sure that it happens every year. You’ll be less likely to burnout if you give yourself space and freedom to listen to what you really need this holiday season.