More people than will admit get to a point somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving where they shift into “Lets just get through the Holidays” mentality. The meaning of the holidays gets lost in the hustle and bustle of planning, prepping, and executing a myriad of events. Work parties, school parties, friends, family, the list goes on and on. Parents of young children get bombarded with daycare and elementary school “theme” days, which is meant to be fun and exciting however often leaves you frantically searching for a specific outfit or trying to remember is it “dress like a turkey day” or “bring something with a G day”? The season can take a toll on you, your relationships, your wallet and your sanity if you try to be all, do all, attend all. Below are five areas to keep in mind as well as tips on avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to holiday burnout:
The most common point of contention during the holidays is between you and our spouse. Trying to accommodate your family, their family, mutual and individual friends, the list goes on. Remembering you are on the same team through this time can help alleviate a lot of stress:
- Keep your attitude in check-don’t project your own frustrations to your partner
- Make a plan.. and stick to it-map out your holiday visits so each other know what to expect, can help prep adequately, and are not caught off guard
- Make decisions based off what’s best for the two of you-don’t be afraid of not making every event.
- Remember you do have control-schedule time for just the two of you to help break up the frenzy of the season
- Communicate-be open an honest with you partner about what is important to you, including alone time.
Falling into the trap of thinking the more you give the better it is appreciated can often lead to financial hardship. Creating a holiday budget and sticking to it can help avoid going into the New Year behind financially.
- Make a list of gifts for each person you are buying for, then stick to it. Marketing geniuses are in full force trying to add items to your cart each year. A good thoughtful shopping list will go a long way in avoiding over spending.
- Pay in cash-this helps avoid over spending versus using a debit/credit card
- Don’t count on your holiday bonus. If you do not budget holiday expenses throughout the year, consider doing so. Counting on your holiday bonus to go towards holiday expenses is a dangerous gamble.
- Remember that almost everyone (including children and grandchildren) will remember you Presence way more than they will remember your Presents
Its party season! In late October my wife and I mapped out our calendar through the end of the year. At that time, I was delighted to see we had 3-4 open weekends. By November 15 every weekend through January 1 had something on the calendar.
- Schedule out slow days, pick a couple days to go to the park, watch movies or just relax at home
- Pick and choose wisely. Is it better to make EVERY gathering and be fried before December 25 or make the ones that are most important so you are able to fully enjoy them? In years past we were guilty of “Ok, we can make this lunch but have to leave by 2 so we can make this dinner, then get home, repack and leave at dawn to make this lunch…” leaving us unable to enjoy any gathering.
- Sidebar to this, pick and choose wisely who you spend your time with. If someone drains your energy, fills your space with negativity, or more often than not creates a toxic atmosphere, even if you love this person, it may not be the best investment of your time this season.
- Reduce social media-I know, I know…this is the prime season for posting. Numerous studies show direct links between overuse of social media and depression. While the temptation will be strong to post, like and share all the adorable pictures, think of it like this.. if you don’t like every single thing that comes across your screen, will these people still be your friends? If they won’t, are they really friends? Also, with limited time and energy this season, your focus can most likely be better utilized elsewhere.
A lot of people are guilting of neglecting personal care during the Holiday Season, with the anticipation of magically fulfilling their New Years Resolutions. We get lax on our diets, get off our gym routines, stay up later, generally lose a lot of personal progress we have made through out the year. Something I am doing this year is reaching fitness goals with a January 1 deadline vs setting goals to begin January 1. The purpose of this is to go into 2020 at the top versus spending the first quarter rolling back the damage from November & December.
- Maintain your discipline through the holiday season. Don’t skip workouts, keep your sleep routines, eat healthy so you can not feel guilty with a little indulgence on the holidays. Referring to the hangover portion of the article title, over doing it with food and alcohol can lead to needing recovery days you do not have. Keep that in mind when making your choices.
- Take time for yourself. When I wrote that I laughed at myself, just as you probably laughed or rolled your eyes as well. As cliché as it sounds, for 50% of the personality types out there taking time alone to recharge may be the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. Self-care is a discipline and a commitment just like any other. What ever it is that helps you as an individual recharge, do it. Refer to Relationships 1.e. as well.
- Visualize. There is nothing new or revelatory about visualization. Self Help gurus have been touting this for years. Because there is truth to it. Picture the person you desire to be this holiday season, then take the steps to become that person. If you want to be fit, well rested, organized and relaxed, what does it take to get there? Make a habit out of quite calm meditation, visualizing who you want to be and what you need to do to get there. Then do those things.
The Holiday Season can be a time filled with fun, family, laughter, and joy. This time of year can also be a time of stress, anger, disappointment and longing. We all choose our paths, through choosing our frame of mind. Remember to guard what is the most important to you this season. Focus your energy, resources and time on the things that give the most return on that investment. Keep at the front of your thoughts the true meaning of each holiday and make every effort to live that. Best wishes to all going into the holidays, my hope is each of you look back on January 1 with a sense of peace, happiness and gratitude.