In this post, we offer 7 self-care tips to avoid burnout around the holidays.
Though the holidays are all about nourishing our relationships with family and friends, it’s typically jam-packed with social gatherings, activities, and errands that can be exhausting.
Some might even experience burnout. Burnout can happen when our physical or emotional energy is depleted due to prolonged stress, including during cheerful times.
When you can’t remove the stress completely, self care can go a long way in preserving your energy and reducing stressors.
Here are 7 self-care tips to navigate the holidays and help prevent burnout.
1. Plan Ahead (While Managing Expectations)
Having a plan before the holidays is a must, especially if you’re the one hosting friends and/or family at your home.
This year, expectations may be higher since we’ve not been able to enjoy larger gatherings like we used to.
Whether you are keeping things small or going big, planning as early as a month in advance can make all the difference. Start by considering:
- Guest Arrangements: Who can attend? Do they have any special accommodations you need to make as host? Are they coming from a far distance and needing a place to stay? Keep things manageable and practical by being upfront with who you can reasonably accommodate. If, for example, you are tight on space, let guests know in advance what the plan is so they can find other accommodations if needed.
- Decorating: If you plan to decorate your home, can you get by with a less-is-more approach? Free yourself from perfectionism by making with what you have and avoiding the stress of shopping for new or over-the-top décor. Remember, your guests just want to spend time with you and enjoy the experience.
- Food: Are you up for cooking this year, or is ordering in an option? A hybrid approach like cooking the main dish and serving store bought sides and appetizers can work for some who like entertaining but find an 8-course homemade meal overwhelming.
- What day will you be hosting? What time will it start and end? Get clear on this and communicate it to guests so that you don’t over-commit yourself to multiple days of entertainment.
Even just a short list of brainstorming can seem like a lot when you are hosting. Planning all these details ahead of time will result in a calmer and more successful event, leaving you time to also enjoy yourself!
If you are not hosting, but rather attending an event. You should also figure out where you’re going, how long you’ll be staying, what method of transportation you will use, etc. Get the details ironed out to avoid last-minute stressors. When the day comes, you’ll be comfortable with what is happening and not have any surprises. If you have time to spare, offer a helping hand to your host.
2. Don’t Overcommit
Understandably, it can be difficult to reject invitations for holiday get-togethers. However, it’s essential to consider your tolerance for social interaction – now and in the pandemic world we’re currently navigating.
Spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for burnout.
Set boundaries for yourself and put your own health and social wellness before anything else, and only attend events or participate in activities that you feel comfortable with. The same principles should be applied to the idea of hosting, as mentioned above. If you don’t feel the desire or think it may contribute to stress, anxiety and holiday burnout – consider asking for help or not hosting at all.
If you are losing out on important health aspects such as a good night’s sleep, exercise, and/or eating a well-rounded diet – it may be time to consider taking more time for yourself.
3. Keep Things Simple
Though you may feel like a superhero to cook a 10-Lb turkey dinner, bartend, decorate, clean your house, buy gifts and socialize all by yourself, no one will judge you if you need a bit of help.
If one of your guests offers to help by cooking the side dishes, bringing the wine, or even doing the dishes – LET THEM!
Be willing to delegate some responsibilities and don’t take on all of the tasks yourself. Save some time and strain by accepting the help that is being offered to you.
To those who plan on attending an event, reach out and offer a helping hand. See what the host would find useful and hopefully that will guarantee an invite back next year!
If you have the resources, you could even hire some helpful hands such as:
- House cleaner (before and/or after your event)
- Event planner (depending on the size of event)
There are many different options for a range of budgets.
4. Put Some Time Aside for You (Even When it Feels Impossible)
As busy as it can be to plan and keep track of all of your holiday commitments, it is just as important to schedule in some time for yourself.
Think about the things that would make you feel happy and fulfilled; baking, a spa day, a massage, a yoga class. The goal is to opt for activities that replenish rather than take away your energy.
For those with family and other caregiving responsibilities, it can be difficult or impossible to carve out time for a planned activity. Instead, try to find small moments throughout your day. Simply spend time alone in another room and focus on deep breathing. Even little things can help calm your mind and feel replenished.
5. Don’t Forget About Physical Activity
It’s easy to put workouts on the back burner, but your body needs energy and strength to cope with overwhelm. This means exercising regularly should be a priority even through the holiday season. It could be things like going for a morning walk, heading to the gym, or playing outside with family or pets.
Research has shown that regular exercise:
- Improves sleep
- Reduces stress levels
- Boosts mood
- Raises energy levels
- Reduces tiredness
- Improves mental alertness
- Aids in weight
- Increases libido
Now go schedule exercise into your calendar, or else you’re more likely to skip it!
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting a good night of sleep is crucial, regardless of the time of year. It is when the body replenishes and repairs itself at a cellular level, helping you function at your best in the day to follow.
And yet, sleep is commonly disregarded when it comes to getting other tasks on a deadline completed. The quality and quantity of your sleep will make a huge difference in the day to follow, and without it you are almost guaranteed to feel sluggish and uncomfortable. While it is definitely expected to have a larger to-do list during the holidays, focus on one to two tasks a day, so you won’t lose sleep over a list that does not seem to get shorter.
Tips to achieving a better sleep:
- Put your phone away earlier (less blue light exposure = better sleep)
- Maintain a sleep and wake schedule
- Avoid late night snacks and caffeine
- Exercise (during the day)
- Limit alcohol consumption
7. Remember the Bigger Picture
Burnout is real. Still, it can help to appreciate what we have even while we are experiencing it. Gratitude for the people and experiences we have can put a stressful season into perspective.
So go soak up the love, amazing food and good company, if you’re able. Because before you know it, it will be 365 days until we get to do it all over again.
Happy holidays and best wishes from the Kondor Pharma team!