Although the Christmas break is supposed to be a chance to recharge our batteries, the pressures of the festive season can often feel like an endurance test. My Mind News investigates the rise of festive burnout and how we can safeguard our health and wellbeing during the holiday season.
Exhausted before it has even begun?
Although the forthcoming holiday season is a time of celebration, festivities, and spending time with loved ones, it is easy to feel anxious, drained, and exasperated before Christmas gets into full swing.
Rather than feeling anticipated excitement, do you feel flat, empty, or hollow? Instead of the usual child-like thrill of excitement that comes with the festive season, do you feel overwhelmed as you contemplate juggling numerous festive chores while simultaneously navigating all the bust-ups that might kick off as family and friends descend, sometimes uninvited upon you?
If you’re feeling positively exhausted by Christmas before the holidays have hit full swing, then you might well be suffering from a phenomenon called festive burnout. The name may sound like an oxymoron, yet there are plenty of reasons why the holiday season can bring on cold sweats before we’ve even emerged safely out the other side of the season.
Increase in obligations
The increased workload can inevitably pile up as you try to meet others’ expectations for the festive season. In addition, there’s the stress of hosting visitors and making them feel as though they are welcome (even perhaps when they might not be!). There’s also the expectation to banish your ‘inner Grinch’ and participate in over-the-top festive engagements.
Then there’s the actual Christmas season itself, which brings a whole new catalog of stresses. Buying presents for numerous friends and family who don’t need anything, and that you know full well, will automatically be relegated to the charity shop pile.
Fighting off the crowds on your Christmas supermarket sweep. Wrestling an oversize tree into your living room. These are all stress-inducing before you have that anticipated argument with your most diplomatically-challenged relative over the Christmas dinner table.
Are you experiencing festive burnout?
If reading that list of festive demands has you reaching for the nearest bottle of wine, then you’re not alone. A survey from Slumber Cloud found that one in three adults suffer from “holiday burnout,” with 36% of those surveyed claiming that the affliction sets in before mid-December.
A further 17% of respondents actually claimed that they felt burnt out before the festive month had even begun.
And if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or exhausted by the demands of the Christmas festivities, help is at hand. Here at My Mind News, we are happy to give you our advice for keeping your sanity intact through the next few weeks.
Five top tips to avoid festive burnout
Acknowledge that it is okay to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed. When the demands of our lives exceed what we can realistically achieve, it is natural to feel pressured and burnt out. Be gentle and kind to yourself.
2. Clarify values
Consider what really matters most to you deep down. Sometimes the pressures to have the ‘perfect‘ Christmas can drive us to invest too much energy into things that do not matter that much at the end of the day.
Think about what you really want your festive season to be about. If the way you are spending your time and energy currently does not reflect this, consider making changes.
3. Set boundaries
The Christmas season can increase our sense of obligation to others, particularly if we are prone to people pleasing or trying to live up to ‘ideals’ imposed by other people, such as family members.
Review the boundaries you set in your relationships. These might be around time, spending, communication, or making plans. What is acceptable to you, and what is not? Clarify your boundaries in advance so you can protect them if necessary.
4. Do what matters
What would bring you joy, vitality, and purpose at Christmas time? What matters most to YOU? Be deliberate about making time for whatever that is.
Don’t forget to consider putting self-care on that list. Sometimes what matters most is peace, rest, downtime, and connection with those who give us energy. There is nothing wrong with that.
5. Take time for reflection
Does anxiety or stress at this time of year reflect a more profound discontent about your life? Take time to reflect, and consider where you would like to find yourself this time next year. Taking charge of our lives and empowering ourselves to make positive changes is a great starting point for the year ahead.
Festive burnout is not inevitable!
It is important to remember throughout the festive season that it is about you and your experience too, and is not limited to simply that of others. You have as much right as the next person to relax, enjoy yourself, and indulge in the festivities too.
Using the five simple steps set out above, you might just avoid the feeling of burnout as you navigate your way through the next couple of weeks. After all, the festive endurance test can be enjoyed and shouldn’t finish you off before the new year has even started!
Are you dreading the thought of the next couple of weeks? How do you avoid festive burnout as you navigate your way through the holiday season? Let us know in the comments.