As a kid, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. I would decorate the entire house, my mom and I would make cookies, and opening presents was my favorite part. We would go to so many family holiday parties and catch up on each other lives from the past year. When I started working full time, the holiday season just became a stressful time in my life.
For the past 2-years, I have been dreading Christmas. This is because of how much needs to get done and how much money I end up spending. I would also be working weekends at my job as an assistant buyer that would take up the entire Saturday. By the time Christmas day came around, I would be so overwhelmed because I have to travel between 4 different households to visit family and exchange gifts.
I think that many others feel the same way about the whole holiday season and dreading everything that needs to get done. As calendars fill with parties, shopping, out of town guests, and all kinds of obligations, it’s easy to get caught up in the hectic energy and thrown off our normal routines.
This year, I am determined to have a less stressful and more calm holiday season. Here are 5-tips that I will be following for avoiding holiday burnout and feeling happy and well.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
During the crazy holiday season, we are all thinking about other people. Who we need to get gifts for, who are we mailing cards too, or what food will other people like at the holiday party. It can be very easy to forget about your needs when you’re trying to care for everyone else.
This means exercising regularly (even if it’s a walk around your neighborhood), getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, eating nourishing foods most days, and taking 30 minutes every day to do something that brings you peace. Take care of your mental health by reading a book, doing something fun with your significant other, getting your hands dirty from a creative project, or simply from doing nothing.
This time of year our to-do lists are a mile long. We have so much to do in such a short amount of time. The best thing that you can do to ease your mind during this hectic season, is to be present at the moment that you are in. Pause and take a deep breath, consciously leave all your worries and lists at the door. Do not bring them with you when you are spending time with your family at home or a holiday party with friends or co-workers.
Actively listen to them when they are speaking and be present by taking part in the conversation. You deserve a breather from your daily life and a chance to improve your relationships with those around you. If you find your mind drifting around all the concerns and things you need to get done, reset by taking a small breath and focusing again on your loved ones.
I know this may sound cliché, but it’s important to stay grateful during the holiday season. We can get caught up in the busyness and buying of the season and forget to stop and appreciate what we already have. this includes the people in our lives and the things that we own. Take some time to think about the things you have in your life to be thankful for. An easy way to do this is to write down a list of things that you already have, instead of a list of things that you want.
The holiday season is a wonderful time to help others who are less fortunate. Volunteering, donating canned goods and toys, or baking cookies for a neighbor are simple and easy ways to show others that you care. As a bonus, while these acts of kindness serve others, they also help to boost our mood and gratitude.
I am constantly running around the entire month of December. Whenever I have free time, I feel that I have to be productive by wrapping presents, baking something, decorating the house, or out shopping for more gifts to buy. This is a very toxic behavior on my part because I don’t think that I can take breaks. This can cause a lot of stress in my life and create holiday burnout, which usually happens to me by the time Christmas day rolls around.
Whether it’s for a few hours or an entire day, actually put it on your calendar and let others know you’re busy. Then, relax any way you want. Watch your favorite movie, soak in the tub, read a book, sleep – it’s your quiet, alone, decompress time to help keep you feeling balanced among all the busyness of the season.
FIND YOUR FOCUS
The quickest way for me to go nuts is to get off track with my routine. To avoid chaos, I try to stick to a schedule so that my focus is only on one task at a time. I plan time for work, rest, exercising, creative activities, and family time. Sticking to a schedule can help manage the stress in your life by giving yourself a time and place to handle certain things.
Each morning, plan out your day so you know exactly what you need to get done, places you need to go, things you need to buy, and family that you want to spend time with. During the holiday season, it can be extremely easy to lose focus on the true meaning of the holiday season with all the parties, family gatherings, and gift-giving. But remember the things that truly matter are your friends, family, food, kindness, and love.
By taking part in these few simple steps, you can end this year and begin the new year on a strong note – feeling calm, happy and healthy.