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Do you experience feelings of overwhelm over the holidays? Do you feel like there is pressure to live up to the expectations of others? Or, do you place high expectations on yourself? 
The Christmas season brings up a lot of feelings that are kept under the surface throughout the rest of the year. There may be childhood memories, grief and missing those who are not here to spend it with us or our need to be ‘perfect’ may come out to play. 
We may have a list of things we need to do? Get the presents, make a three course meal, clean the house, pay the bills, send cards to everyone, make sure that work email is sent out in time and make sure the tree gets watered. But, are we putting ourselves on that list? Are we making sure there is time for us to unwind, take a nice bubble bath, go for a walk, play, listen to music, read our favourite book or spend time with a friend? 
Putting our needs and self-care is important all year. However, the added pressure of this time of year means that putting it first is difficult, but more important than ever. 
I wanted to share a few things that I practice over the holidays to avoid burnout and overwhelm. 
Learning to say to “no” to events, conversations or overspending at this time of year. This can be difficult for some of us. We have developed ingrained beliefs that we have to attend all the work functions, the family get together and the social events. However, these interactions can put us in a state of stress and uncomfortable feelings. Prioritise your events, which ones are important to you? Which ones will feed you and not drain you? Say no to the ones that you don’t want to go to. Conversations with friends and family about plans, presents and the future can come up and evoke a lot of feelings. We can always say “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” We can come back to it when we feel more comfortable or prepared to do so. Lastly, overspending. I have been guilty of this over the years, seeing that last thing that I feel I have to get my family member, knowing I’ve already bought too much. Set a budget and stick to it. Write a list of gifts for people, ask what they would like and try not to deviate from it. 
Time for self-care 
When we are trying to get everything in order for everyone else, making sure that they have a magical time, we often forget that we deserve magic too. Put time for you at the top of your list. Take breaks, do something you enjoy and be kind to yourself. Prioritise doing things for yourself like getting out for a walk, listening to your favourite music or reading a book. I find that doing even one of these things everyday rejuvenates me and helps me focus on the other tasks at hand. 
Setting boundaries means we free ourselves to care for ourselves, and therefore care for others. Be kind to yourself and enjoy the holidays! 
If you feel you would like help setting boundaries in your life and managing stress do take a look at our 3 day retreats and our workshops here. 
Tagged as: Anxiety, Stress Relief, Worry
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