The holidays are upon us, and along with the holidays comes burnout, the inevitable result of feeling spread out too thin and depleted of your energy. There are several different reasons why people experience burnout by this time of year – Do any of these sound like you?
- For students, finals are approaching and they may be stressed about the grade they want to get for a class. Some people even have college applications due. Some just want to graduate.
- Others may have personal goals they have set out to achieve for themselves and the end of the year is a reminder of that one goal they still haven’t reached, even after working on it for so long. And now they feel too burnt out to keep going.
- Maybe you’re burnt out because people around you are experiencing Seasonal Depression / Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and you’re the person they go to when they need some comfort or reassurance of their worth – I’m proud of you for being that person of respect, but please, remember to take care of yourself too.
- And you know what? Perhaps you’re the person experiencing Seasonal Depression as well. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, SAD is “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.” The gloomy days can take an affect on your mental health, causing you to feel sluggish, prone to social withdrawal, and drawn to emotional eating. (Just as a few example.)
No matter which one of these categories you fit into, I have 5 tips that can help you avoid holiday burnout before it’s too late.
Get the holiday shopping out of the way, early!
The holidays are a stressful time, and one of the biggest reasons why people stress is because of the money and/or the typical procrastination of last minute gift purchasing. So what better way to prevent this stress, or at least mitigate it if it still arises, than to get your holiday shopping done earlier?
Whether you bought everything Black Friday and need to distribute the items accordingly, or want to shop online and and not worry about the shipment arriving after Christmas, being prepared will serve you well.
In addition to getting your shopping done early, you can also manage your finances earlier than later. You can see how much money is being spent on your family, friends, and partner and budget accordingly. The amount of stress you feel will be reduced if you’re aware of your money as it leaves your bank account rather than buying everything last minute and seeing that you overspent. You want to show people you care, but it doesn’t mean you self sacrifice your finances and your own well being to do so.
Take time to relax in solitude.
Solitude can be one of the most important things you give yourself during the holiday season, as counter intuitive as it may sound. But self-love doesn’t take a break, especially during the holidays. Take the time this holiday season to read the book you’ve been wanting to read, take a yoga class or meditate, or take a nice warm bath and pamper yourself! The possibilities are endless of what you can do on your own, in comfort.
If you’re at a party and need a break from socializing, take that break. It’s okay. You have the permission to do so.
Get some fresh air, drink a warm cup of egg nog (or your beverage of choice), or take a nap. You can’t be present 100% for others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
We burn out during this busy holiday season because we don’t take the time to slow down. We don’t pursue slow living in solitude. We don’t tend to ourselves enough. I want you to know that you are more than deserving of that time. Protect your energy, my dear.
Reflect on what you’re grateful for each week.
Normally, I would say wake up everyday thinking of what you are grateful for, but the practice of gratitude is not normal for everyone. If anything, it isn’t realistic to implement now, seeing how close the holiday season is. However, if you were to think of what you are grateful for at the end of each week, listing out maybe 3 things that happened or made you happy to be alive, that could make a difference.
Listen, just four weeks and three items of gratitude at the end of each week. Adjust it accordingly so you can keep yourself accountable. Gratitude is a practice that can produce impactful results.
Remember, you’re permitted to say no.
This may sound oddly phrased, but what I mean by this is don’t say yes to everything. Don’t put too much on your plate. Don’t over commit and overwhelm yourself with more than you can handle.
You are allowed to say no if you feel like you can’t complete a task. You are allowed to say no if your budget is not within the limits to participate in a White Elephant or a Secret Santa event. You are allowed to say no if you don’t want to talk to that toxic family member who brings you down for the choices you’ve made in your life.
The holidays are supposed to be a time spent with those who uplift you, so make sure you are saying yes to experiences with those people, as they will be the ones who understand you most if and when you say no. Those who uplift and love you want the best for your well being, and will understand the reasoning behind your actions if you’re working to prevent holiday burnout.
Listen to your body.
Since it is the chilly season, in most places around the world, taking care of your body is at the utmost importance! I value your mind and emotions, but the mind body connection is just as powerful. If you feel you are getting sick, take the time to rest before the holidays come up. Stay in, take medicine as needed, and rest.
Your body is smart and will do its best to fix itself on its own, but you can’t ignore your body if it’s trying to say something to you. Just like when you are in fear and want to run away, your body may have a gut feeling of uncertainty that you should listen to. If your body is excited, and you feel too shy to talk to someone new at a Christmas party, take that leap of faith to introduce yourself. If your body feels weak and you’ve been sweating tremendously, it is probably telling you to rest because you’re sick. There are so many things your body can and is telling you, so tune in and listen.
And there you have it! 5 tips to avoid holiday burnout this season. Let me know if you have any of your own tips!