From an outside perspective, holidays are full of love and cheer. They are supposed to be a break from the real world and a time to spend and celebrate with loved ones. Reality check — the holidays often add on to the day-to-day stressors and to-do lists, especially for moms. Things often start to go south between holiday parties, kids’ school events, day-of meals, and searching for the perfect gifts.
Take a second to breathe and read my tips below on how to avoid what we think is the inevitable holiday burnout:
1. Learn to say no.
It’s difficult to say no in the age of FOMO (fear of missing out). The holidays usher in every kind of party and family events you can imagine, all crammed into two months. You do not have to attend everything. Let me repeat: you do not have to attend everything. Your coworker isn’t going to cry if you decline their midnight tacky sweater party that conflicts with your family’s Christmas tree tradition. Some of the best advice I ever received was “no is a complete sentence.”
2. Take time to recharge.
You can’t take care of everyone else if your physical and mental health is waning. Block off some time for self-care. I recently starting focusing on my workouts again because I know that one-hour block of activity helps me sleep better and gives me an outlet for any negative emotions that occur during my week. Since having baby #2 in July, I have put physical pampering on the back-burner. I finally booked a haircut for the first time in seven months and it resulted in a much needed confidence boost. I also FINALLY booked a spa day at the Woodhouse Day Spa after having two gifted gift cards sit in my wallet for nearly two years. Working out or going to the spa might not recharge you, but take time to figure out what does and make it happen. A happy, rested mama equates to a happier family.
3. Stop the comparisons.
These days we put it all out there on social media. Santa photos. Matching holiday outfits. Perfect lights on our homes and tress. Let’s not even start with the day-of Christmas present bragging. It’s almost impossible not to compare what you are doing versus what others are doing. It’s what they aren’t showing you that’s important. You have no idea how many meltdowns occurred before or after the photo was taken. You don’t know if Mrs. Jones had to put everything on her credit card to make her childrens’ holidays happen. If you can’t stop comparing, try limiting or taking a break from the constant updates.
4. Enjoy the present.
The holidays often give families a little extra time off from work and school to spend with each other. These days happen once a year; take the time and enjoy the present. Being intentional with your time will allow you to claim your time and enjoy it instead of wasting it.
5. Let it go.
I’m not talking about the Frozen song that my daughter sings about 72,646 times a day. I’m talking about that nagging feeling of anxiety you get when you realize you can’t do everything at once. Let it go. The world is not going to end because you still have cookies to make or presents to buy and you don’t have the capacity to complete everything on your to-do list. Once that mindset changes, you will be able to breathe a bit easier and enjoy your holidays.