Overwhelmed for the Holidays

I’ll be home OVERWHELMED for Christmas

The old Christmas carol, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” painted a scene of a beautiful, relaxed home and loving relationships. As much as we wish that were our experience of Christmas, most of us experience a different scene. Heavy traffic, long lines, short-tempered staff. Christmas is a time when it’s especially easy to become overwhelmed because there’s so much activity and so many spoken and unspoken expectations. Here’s a list of ways we commonly experience overwhelm during the holidays:

1) You have to find the ‘perfect’ gift for someone. Chapter 6 in End Overwhelm Now, delves into the topic of “Absolutes.” Absolute language (such as perfect, always, everybody) puts pressure to perform when it’s probably impossible to find that ‘perfect’ gift. Instead, think about how you want that person to feel, or what you want them to know about how you view the relationship. Consider giving an experience (dinner out, tickets to a local attraction) instead of an object.

2) You think you have to say ‘yes’ to every request and invitation, so your schedule is totally overloaded. In Chapter 6 of the book, I address “Watching your Yesses.” You may be saying ‘yes’ to please others, or you don’t like to disappoint, or you feel obligated, or you really do want to do it all. But when you say ‘yes’ to everyone else, you’re saying ‘no’ to yourself, your health and well-being. This holiday season, before saying yes to anything, respond that you’ll check your calendar and let them know. If it’s not something you truly want to do, be gracious in thanking them, and say that you’re unable to say yes. You don’t need to explain, and if they’re pushy, you can always respond with, “You’re important to me, and I’m sure we’ll be able to do something together in the near future.” Who is going to argue with that?

3) You’re beating yourself up because you think that everyone else has it ‘together’ and you’re the only one struggling to keep up with it all. Chapter 5, ‘The Disempowering Beliefs that I’m Not Enough,” section explores this struggle. First, recognize that those types of comparisons to others just serve to pull you down – they don’t have a helpful purpose. People who seem to have it all together are probably struggling just like you are. Begin to focus on your strengths: what you naturally do well and enjoy doing. Maybe you’re not the most organized person, but you’re the person who knows everyone in the community, so you know how to get things done. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll have better focus and energy to tackle your busy life.

Although we’d all love to be home, we are often overwhelmed, instead, for the holidays. Take to heart these empowering steps of action to beat back the holiday blues – they often can stem from a place of overwhelm. Now pour yourself some eggnog and congratulate yourself, you are on your way to a holiday season free from overwhelm!

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