How to Avoid Burning out Over the Holiday Season

As much as we all love the holiday season, it can be a great source of stress for some. Trying to balance all of the holiday festivities with busy work lives can be a lot to handle.

Even though many of us have vacation time available, fewer and fewer of us are taking it-especially during the holiday season. This means that we are working long hours, racing to meet deadlines and driving long commutes all while rushing to get ready for the holidays.

Unfortunately, too many of us have adopted the attitude of, “just trying to make it through the holidays”, as opposed to truly taking the time to enjoy the season with our loved ones. Why is that? It’s because the preparation and anticipation is too damn stressful! We’re rushing around trying to figure out what to buy for people and dreading digging through storage to drag out our holiday decorations, all while trying to balance our usual obligations. Not to mention all of the travel visiting different family members who we love but are a whole different form of stress on their own.

How can we make the holiday season less stressful? How can we make it more enjoyable and return to work feeling refreshed, recharged and ready for action? Here are some pointers to keep the stress at bay and enjoy yourself this holiday season!

  1. Remember to breathe. When you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a step back and practice deep breathing. Take a moment to reframe your thoughts and get out of your own head. Sometimes we can create stress where is doesn’t exist.


  1. Don’t overfill your plate. We tend to feel obligated to take on more than our share of responsibilities during the holiday season. Don’t overwhelm yourself with extra projects at work; there’s plenty of time for that after the holidays. Don’t feel as though you need to buy a gift for everybody you know. You can always suggest a “Secret Santa” or “Yankee Swap” theme for family gatherings or office parties if money is tight. If you’re hosting a party, don’t be afraid to ask everyone to bring a dish. Don’t add unnecessary stress to your life.


  1. Just say “no”. If you don’t have the time or money to do something, don’t feel that you need to! It’s okay to politely say that you can’t. Many people have a hard time saying “no” during the holidays and end up spreading themselves so thin that they don’t enjoy themselves at all. Whether it be spending too much money or traveling back and forth to all of your relatives’ and friends’ houses for holiday parties, bending over backwards to please others at your own expense is no way to spend your holiday.


  1. Practice gratefulness. It’s too easy to get swept up in all of the stress this time of year. Remember to stop and think of all that you have. Count each and every one of your blessings and you’ll bring a sense of calm, comfort and peace to your life.


  1. Stop and smell the roses. Or the Christmas Trees. There is so much joy and wonder all around us this time of year. We tend to lose our appreciation for it as we get older. Remember the excitement you felt as this time of year approached as a child? There’s no reason you can’t tap into that excitement as an adult! Get out there and have a snowball fight! Go for a ride and enjoy the Christmas lights. Sip a cup of hot cocoa while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Don’t get so caught up in the stress that you forget to enjoy the most wonderful parts of the season.


  1. Enjoy your family. Gathering with extended family can be a major source of stress for some people. They have a knack for asking all the wrong questions and pushing all the wrong buttons. Remember to enjoy the time you have with your family. They won’t be here forever. Sure, they may drive you nuts and you may need a few extra glasses of wine to get through the visit, but they’re the only family you’ve got! Remember to appreciate them.

The holidays can be a very stressful time, but only if we allow them to be! Let’s make this year different. Remember to take some time for yourself, appreciate what you have, enjoy your time with your family and recapture the spirit of the holiday season! Happy holidays!