The holidays. A time of entertaining, celebrating, visiting with family and friends. The holidays are also a time of stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. Holiday stress is a very real thing. WebMD suggests that things such as Unhappy memories, toxic relatives, life changes (i.e. divorce, death in the family, etc), monotonous sameness (same people, same jokes, same food), and lowered defenses (bring on the cold and flu season) can all be triggers for holiday stress.
Four "don't"s tips for getting through the holidays:
- Don’t do the same old thing. You usually host the family dinner? Pass it on to someone else.
- Don’t expect miracles. If your holiday anxiety stems from a deeper history of family conflict, don’t expect that you’ll be able to resolve any big underlying issues now.
- Don’t overdo it. Pace yourself. Decide on limits and stick to them. Too many parties to attend? Don't attend them all. Have to attend a few? Stay for a couple hours instead of all night.
- Don’t worry about how things should be. "Should" can be a very powerfully negative word.
For those who may not struggle with stress nor anxiety but are more connected to the feeling of being overwhelmed, we have some tips for you, as well:
- Change Your Choice: Feeling overwhelmed is a learned behavior. So if overwhelm is a learned behavior that has become a habit, it is also, at some subconscious level, a choice. And that means it is possible to choose something else.
- Get Curious: Overwhelm can sneak into a lot of different aspects of your life. What kinds of situations trigger it? What are the thoughts that accompany it? How does it feel in your body? How do the people you’re in relationship with react when you start feeling it? The more aware you are of your overwhelm habit, the easier it is to change.
- Track Your Time: Once you pinpoint where overwhelm shows up in your life, then do this: Track how you spend your time. You may be shocked to learn that you are only truly working for 38 hours a week (when you thought you were working 60). Remember, overwhelm works by confusing you. So let this exercise help you fact check your reality.
- Do Less: Delegating some tasks effectively buys time back. It also helps to minimize the time for overwhelming chores like tidying up the house. Can you just do one big clean-up before bed? Or ignore the mess sometimes and just get on with living your life?
- Aim for Consistency: Figure out your “feel good” baseline. You may need 2-3 hours a week of marketing to ensure your business is humming along. Or at least 10 minutes of meditation daily to feel calm. Whatever you absolutely need to manage overwhelm, make it a priority. This is about being compassionate with yourself.
Take some quiet time for yourself. Maybe take a long walk (with or without a dog or friend). Take a yoga class. Enjoy your book in a quiet corner of a coffee shop. Take care of you. (Before you take care of everything and everyone else.)