I’ll keep this one short.
We know it’s coming. The push with the holidays. The gifts. The family. The work parties. The obligation.
The holidays should be fun, and for the most part they are, but once the peppermint smell is in the air of the coffee shop, the season is upon us. Often this season brings a great deal of stress and the addition of more than a few pounds.
As of when I wrote this article I had three amazing responses:
@thesayaninator – “Carry a little work with you in the holidays maybe? I don’t know, it keeps me busy and reminds me how refreshing a much needed break is.”
@resurrected_ghost – “Make a plan but set aside time for relaxation too. I plan how I’ll setup the lights without falling to my death; I plan ahead various little operations like getting the Christmas tree or planning movie nights to watch the classics. It doesn’t have to be full fledged and detailed plans. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Just has to be some kind of a game plan though. Other than that, I just enjoy the holidays. If you make a point of enjoying it, you’ll always have something to look forward to every year. You also want to make a point of having each subsequent year be greater/better and more enjoyable than the last. I may be a little biased though because my birthday is just a few days before Christmas.”
@quaecumqueiusta – “Keep it as liturgical as possible while ignoring all the songs, commercials and premature decorations. Tomorrow is the Last Sunday in Pentecost (which is about the End of Time/Judgement Day). Dec 1st is the start of Advent. Do penance. Fast and abstain from fleshmeat. Think on the Last Four Things. Look forward to the Second Coming of Christ. Then start Christmas…on Christmas. I dont put a tree up until Christmas eve.”
I absolutely loved these three responses as they all came from very different perspectives. @thesayaninator wants to be sure to stay busy. @resurrected_ghost is all about making plans, and @quaecumqueiusta takes a religious perspective. I have another perspective to add, and that is taking time for yourself and saying no.
Four Ways To Avoid Holiday Burnout
Usually during the holiday season you won’t have to work hard at “staying busy”. You may be hosting an event or two, traveling somewhere to visit friends and family or just dealing with the general holiday madness. One suggestion is to keep a sense of normalcy with your regular routine. Even if you are taking vacation from work, bring something to do with you. It doesn’t have to be work per se, but outstanding projects can be nice to tackle a bit at a time. Currently, I’m sitting in the airport with my wife writing this as we are waiting to board the plane home. I have a coworker that calls vacation “work deferral” because it’s all there waiting for you when you get back. Depending on your specific work, you may identify with that statement.
I’m a planner by nature, so making lists and checking items off of said list comes naturally. In previous articles I’ve talked about a program called Todoist which I love. My wife and many others prefer the old fashioned making a list on paper and crossing items off as they are done. Which ever way you like planning, make sure you list the things that MUST be done. It’s so much easier to organize your time when you have the to dos all down in front of you. There is something very satisfying about completing the tasks and watching the list dwindle down.
For many, the holiday season is synonymous with their religion. Both Christians and Jews have significant holidays during December. If you are celebrating for religious reasons you have many more items that are taking up your time, so you may not need to work as hard to stay busy.
Take Time for Yourself
As important as it is to stay busy (keep up your routine) you also must take time for yourself. How much downtime needed will depend on you and your needs. Wherever you fall in this spectrum, be sure to take time for yourself, read a good blog, read some books, listen to a great podcast, or get out and do something physical. Whatever your wind down, be sure to take it. As an addition be sure to get enough sleep every night. I can easily get absorbed in my obligations and put sleep last. I’ve started using an app on my phone that warns me when it’s 8 hours before my alarm to wake up, giving me a heads up that it’s time for bed.
Bonus reason – Say no
Don’t overextend yourself, if you can’t do something, or just plain don’t want to, say no! This holiday season is as much about you as it is anyone else. You are no good to anyone if you end up being a stress case. Be selfish. Focus on your immediate family first, then expand outward in importance time permitting. Turn your FOMO(fear of missing out) into JOMO(joy of missing out).
The holiday season is a time to be with the ones you care about and tolerate the ones you don’t care about. Make sure you don’t break from your routine too much, make appropriate plans, celebrate “the reason for the season” and take care of yourself to end the year.