The holidays are coming and there is so much to do. One might think when there is a holiday, you get plenty of days off and have a chance to relax and practice self-care. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not only do you have a multitude of end-of-year projects that need to be completed from work, but it is also common to tack on extra commitments to family, friends, travel and other holiday-related obligations this time of year. Additionally, research points out that feelings of depression and anxiety that may be spurred by reminders of loss, relationship strain or simply the bonus stress of the holidays can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. And if you’re a giver, you may notice some excess overwhelm about what to buy your loved ones or the lack of time you have to go shopping. That adds a lot of stress in the back of your mind, which can lead to burnout before you know it.
Burnout can look and feel different for everyone. It can be that:
- You have trouble falling asleep
- Your relationships are suffering
- You are getting sick a lot
- You feel exhausted all the time
- You are moody
- You don’t feel as happy as your normal self
- You’re skipping meals or making bad eating choices
- You have a lot of trouble concentrating
- Your body hurts without any reason you may think of
- You are irritable or feel easily annoyed
Burnout, though normal, should only remain temporary so as not to risk more chronic health or life concerns. So, the question still remains:
How might you help yourself find calm amidst the chaos of the holidays?
Here are some pointers to help you manage this holiday squeeze and still be able to enjoy the people you love.
Prioritize your time
Sometimes you feel bad if you have to say “No” to an invitation, and instead you force yourself to attend all the social gatherings. However, if you are not feeling good or are tired, you’re not going to enjoy the outing, nor will you be at your best. Forcing yourself to meet all social obligations, even in non-holiday seasons, will contribute to emotional and mental burnout. It’s okay if you don’t go to all of the gatherings as you must set boundaries and limitations. Choosing to live without boundaries, you can end up self-sabotaging your mental well-being. So instead, ask yourself this: “Is it important that I make myself present at this event?” If it is not vital to your job or relationships, then it's perfectly fine to skip and enjoy a night off. Afterall, healthy boundaries and limits are a must!
Take a time out
Speaking of taking a night off, more now than ever, it is important to remember to take a break and to do things for yourself that will keep you sane. You must prioritize self care! Take your time to enjoy that cup of coffee in the morning, hit the gym after work for a heart-pumping workout, or take a stroll outside at a local park on your lunch break to keep the stress at bay. Whatever hobby or activity that you enjoy doing, make time to do it. It is very easy to go on autopilot during the holidays, and simply go through the motions without actually experiencing any joy of the daily activities we do. Instead, choose to ask yourself every day, “What will I do today to take care of myself and find joy in life?”
Skip the stores
If the shopping part is stressing you out, it may be time to try online and get everything shipped direct to your front door. Starting the month of November, stores are launching their Black Friday deals three weeks in advance, and often offer free shipping. This option not only allows you to shop from the comfort of your own home, but also helps you save on gas and time spent shuffling store to store. For more bang for your buck, check out this national website BlackFriday.com for all the sales and deals. In order to ensure you stay on track and truly eliminate the shop-strain, ask, “Who am I buying for?” and, “What is my budget? Now it's time to make your shopping list and check it off!
Sleep on it
Sleep is so important and losing some Z’s every night will contribute to burnout. During the holidays when we have so many activities to attend and can feel the overwhelm creeping in, it is easy to skip a full night's rest. Activities such as gift shopping, grocery shopping, or attending a holiday gathering, is emotionally taxing. This emotional drain from extra activities may go on later than your normal bedtime, leading to loss of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping less than 6 hours a night is the top indicator of burnout. Even taking a nap during the day can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing. So try asking yourself, “How will I ensure I get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night this week?”
Think outside of the box
When it comes to gift giving, it truly is the thought that counts. Stressing over what size, color, or item is normal. First, think about why you are stressing over the gift. It is easy to put pressure on yourself over choosing the perfect gift for your loved ones. Then, ask yourself “What activities does my loved one enjoy?” Instead of stressing over the perfect item, think about your special person’s hobbies, activities or what he/she spends time on. Gifts like gym memberships, movie gift cards, travel tickets, or other life-giving gifts can communicate to your receiver that you observe who they are and what they enjoy. Moreover, you may also want to join them in the activity for a little quality time. LEARN MORE
Ask for help
If you are hosting a gathering this holiday season and are stressing about all you need to do, you may want to reach out for help. Those attending your holiday get-together can bring a dish or even utensils to ease the strain of hosting. It’s appropriate as well, if you don’t have time to cook a large meal, for everyone to make it a potluck-style event. Another option is to order food from a restaurant, pick it up cold the day before the event, and simply throw it in the oven to heat up for your guests. You can even get UberEATS to deliver. So as you plan your event ask, “What is the least stressful option for me to host this holiday?”
The holidays are meant to make long-lasting memories with your loved ones. If you have already gotten to the point of burnout, those temporary circumstances may keep you from making those beautiful memories. The first step is reducing the stress and returning to a balance in your life. If you are finding it difficult to get back to your old self and solve the problem you find yourself in (no matter what it is) remember we at Wellview are always here to help. CLICK HERE to learn more about the services available to you this holiday season.
– Yajaira Escobedo, LMSW, LCDC, TFCBT, CCTP