Avoid Holiday Burnout with Simple, Sustainable Practices
Holiday burnout – it seems more and more problematic every year. There are always more people to see, more activities to participate in, more gifts to give, and more treats to bake. All of these things are joyous blessings in and of themselves but when they’re all added together—on top of the other daily necessities—it’s quite overwhelming. This article is all about how to avoid that holiday burnout.
You don’t have to let holiday burnout rob you of the joy of the season, though. It simply takes a few mindful practices to ensure that your season is full of sustainable traditions, joyful and meaningful experiences, and the best gift you can give yourself—grace.
Ask For (and Offer) Help
So often, people try to do everything that needs to be done on their own. This is especially true for many women and homemakers who take on the heavy load of “kin keeping” all year long (and even more during the holidays). However, no one was meant to hold the whole of their family’s traditions, memories, or to-do lists all on their own.
Sure, it’s another “job” to ask for help but the fact remains that if we don’t ask, we don’t get the help we need.
- Make your partner a list of what they can do to help. It’s cliché, but they are not mind readers. Oftentimes, they want to know what we need.
- Go over the family calendar with your kids and have them each choose one special holiday activity that they love. Then give yourself the grace to say “no” to the rest.
- Offer and ask for help from your neighbors. If you wrap all the neighbor’s presents, could they help you put up lights?
Embrace Ritual to Avoid Holiday Burnout
Some of the struggles of holiday stress are that it throws off our routine. We have errands to run and extra “stuff” to add to the evenings, weekends, and downtime. People function more easily, though, when they can depend on things and know that they can look forward to the moments that recharge them.
- Use your morning or evening quiet time for a holiday-themed devotional. Set your heart on the mystery, joy, and beauty of the season, and let yourself have a few quiet minutes a day to reflect on preparing your heart.
- Add holiday-ness to everyday tasks. Replace your regular coffee mug with a beautiful seasonal one that makes you smile. Cycle out your pajamas for a couple of sets of cozy winter pants and socks.
- Add winter herbs and veggies from your garden or local farmstead to your meals. When we eat for the seasons, our bodies are nourished in the way they were created to be fed.
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Repeat after me: I cannot do everything. Nor should I be expected to.
Now. Allow yourself to believe this. Then, take steps to prioritize what truly matters to you this holiday. The rest can either fade into the background (it’s okay!) or can be taken back up another year.
- Do you want to clean out your home and give it to others in need?
- Do you want to take some of the abundant harvest of your farm or garden and provide fresh food to those who can’t grow their own?
- Do you want to treat your family to an experience instead of traditional gifts this year?
- Do you want to look back at old holiday photos and tell stories to your children?
Plan Ahead (and For the Future) to Avoid Holiday Burnout
We know when the holidays are going to arrive and we know how much time we’ll have to accomplish the tasks we want. So, for what’s left of this year, sit down and plan time for the things that are the most important.
Then, make a list of things you’d like to try adding to your holiday time next year. Keep this list in a place where you’ll remember to pull it out around the end of fall. Then, you can assess how you feel, where your family is emotionally, and what is most important. You’ll be able to complete tasks and feel accomplished without being rushed and stressed.
All We Need Is Hygge
The Danish have a word for the things that make them feel warm and cozy inside: “hygge” (pronounced: HOO-gah). If it brings you joy and a sense of fulfillment, concentrate on that. If not, it’s okay to let it go.
The holidays are full of things that make us feel hygge, including lights, candles, music, baked goods, and family memories. However, try to concentrate your hygge efforts on the things that make your heart feel full instead of achieving it with “stuff.” You can visit Stoney Creek Farm for more ideas on how to incorporate this feeling into your holidays.
- Take time for yourself to recharge and allow your family to do the same.
- Take walks and look at lights, manifesting or praying for those you love.
- Listen to calming classical holiday music while you take joy in caring for your home, cooking, and spending time with your family.
- Volunteer in your community to remind yourself that it is good in the world and that you are blessed.
- Spread holiday joy with words, smiles, and random acts of kindness that fill your heart.
Think back to your childhood holidays and the memories that stuck with you growing up. Do you remember the “stuff” or the feeling? Alternatively, if the holidays were all about material goods and go-go-go, did it leave you feeling empty and depleted, even as a kid?
Concentrate your energies and time on bringing peaceful, grateful energy to your own life and your family this holiday season. You don’t have to bring more things into your home or overfill your calendar just to say that “you did it.” Your family will appreciate and remember feeling loved, thought of, and taken care of—especially if you can do it with peace and joy instead of stress and exhaustion. You deserve a holiday that you can enjoy, too, so prioritize the important feelings over holiday burnout.