Holiday Stress Got You Burnt Out Like An Old Bulb? Here's How to Survive

Alivia Whitaker | Dec 18, 2017

No holiday stress here! You're cozy and chic in your plush, organic red wool sweater, clapping your hands and singing at the top of your lungs along with Mariah. Your 3 children, dressed in their coordinating plaid outfits dance as they help you hang lights on your Christmas tree your family cut down in the mountains last weekend.

Gourmet hot cocoa brews in the background as you laugh together and playfully press gift bows on each other’s heads.  You wrap presents in the subtle and beautiful muted, wintery tones you chose to theme your holidays after this year. Coordinating home décor, homemade gifts for friends and oversized boutique stockings surround. You happily look around at the satisfying holidays you have seamlessly created once again this year.

NOT.

In real life, you’re yanking the baby away from the light sockets on the Christmas tree for the millionth time and frantically responding to texts about what you are in charge of for the school holiday party. You’re desperately looking for your daughter’s stocking that of course has gone missing from your Christmas storage. In between stuffing holiday card envelopes, you’re checking Amazon to quickly order another gift you forgot to get.

Grilled cheese and take-out have been your family’s dinner staples for a few weeks now as you dash back and forth in the evenings from holiday celebrations and commitments. You try your best to come up with creative gift ideas to match the thoughtful and handmade offerings from neighbors and friends but all you can come up with is a basic plate of cookies or worse, a group text. The holidays are burning you out like an old Christmas tree bulb.

Remember when the holidays used to be fun?

With all the fun commitments and traditions of the holidays, the perfect-Christmas pressure can get to anyone and lead to anxiety and stress. A never ending holiday to-do list and the desire to participate in all the fun parts of the holidays can lead to a no-win, stressful situation. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Here are some ideas on how to handle the holiday anxiety and take time to actually enjoy the holidays:

Simplify Traditions

Traditions are one of the best parts of holidays. Whether your family likes to drive and look at Christmas lights, serve at the local soup kitchen, light the Menorah or go caroling, there is an endless list of holiday activities to participate in and memories to make. But if you’re not careful, attempting to fit in everything can turn holiday traditions into a chore.

Before the season begins, decide what is most important to your family and focus on the things that matter most. If you have younger children and making a visit to sit on Santa’s lap is a big thing for them, maybe make that a priority.  Then, nix making homemade bread for all the neighbors. If Christmas cards are a big deal for you, start early this year and get them out of the way even before Thanksgiving.  This will ensure your days and evenings are freed up during the holiday season. Choosing the most important activities for your family allows the quality and enjoyment to shine in each tradition.

Stop Looking at Pinterest 

One of the quickest routes to dissatisfaction in your holiday cheer is via comparison. Your beautiful and much loved holiday décor might quickly become old and boring if you spend to much time surfing hashtags on Instagram or pinning blogger’s living rooms on Pinterest. In reality, no one is perfect and real life impedes on the visual presentation. But that’s not what is important. The love shared during this season is more important than how pretty everything looks through a camera. Don’t compare – absorb the goodness around you and find contentment in the present.

Focus On Values, Not Checklists - Nix The Holiday Stress!

Every busy person loves a good checklist. And there is nothing wrong with staying organized during the holidays. But if you get anxious as you go through those holidays to-do’s, change your focus. Focus on the spirit of the season, instead of all the things you need to get done. If the center of your season is found in values it will eliminate that holiday stress.

If you celebrate Hanukkah, try to focus on what the symbolism of Hanukkah traditions. Do this instead of stressing about getting picture-perfect gifts to open each night. If you celebrate Christmas, maybe find a live nativity to watch. Whether you are religious or not, the holiday season is a great time to serve those less fortunate than us. Nothing is as an effective de-stresser as perspective is. Maybe the values you want to focus on this holiday season are as simple as spending time with family – whatever your values are, taking time and head space to focus on them and feel gratitude is the best antidote to holiday stress and anxiety.

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Here is Ellen's funny take on avoiding holiday stress.