How to Avoid Emotional Burnout Around the Holidays

Often, it’s not the season itself that leaves us feeling let down but our perspective of how we think things “should” be. Here are a few things to remember that can take the edge off:

Do you feel like the exact opposite of a happy mom this time of year? I know I sometimes do. Do raised expectations lead to disappointment during the holiday season? We can build up a vision of the perfect Christmas only to have reality totally let us down. I think it's very common for us to either be taken in by the ghosts of Christmas past or by the advertisements of Christmas present. The pressure we feel to have everything perfect can be suffocating, leading to a huge bought of emotional burnout.

Often, it’s not the season itself that leaves us suffering from emotional burnout, but our perspective of how we think things “should” be.

Everything on TV looks so perfect, and we may have “that” friend or neighbor who has the perfect house, the perfect decorations, and the perfect Christmas card. (How’d she get her kids and the dog to stand so still and look so perfect?)  

OR, we may be the person with the perfect house, decorations, kids, and the pressure to perform (or outperform last year) and keep everything perfect is stressful and overwhelming!

How to Avoid Emotional Burnout Around the Holidays

1. People are more important than things!

The meaning of Christmas goes far beyond decorations, Santa Claus, and presents. And things don’t have feelings — people do.

It’s interesting how many classic Christmas movies focus on this point: Charlie Brown, The Grinch, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol, just to name a few. All focus on the deeper meanings of the season.

I let go of the quest for Christmas perfection a long time ago (some who know me might say that I never had it, but that’s only due to my ineptness at the task!).

Related: How to Conquer the Holidays with Natural Stress Relief

2. Time spent doing something meaningful trumps time spent striving for perfection.

I learned this lesson the hard way. But really, why put that much time and energy into creating a perfect Hallmark Christmas? I can almost guarantee you that your kids’ idea of perfection and yours are in completely different hemispheres.

Your time may be better spent reading Christmas stories, baking imperfect cookies with the kids or letting them decorate the tree with homemade ornaments (and letting the tree stay just like they decorated it).

I still have an angel that my kids made when they were little. It sat on top of our tree for many years, until it got too fragile.  It’s made from construction paper with a nerf ball for a head. That and many of the other imperfect ornaments and decorations they made still hold very special memories for me.

3. Celebrate your uniqueness by creating your own traditions!

Years ago, we would go to the movies on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Now we just stay in our jammies most of the day. The kids may spend the day building Legos or whatever toy they got from Santa; we don’t have a big, formal dinner, and we’ll sometimes watch the entire Lord of the Rings series while snuggling on the sofa. It’s kind of become our own tradition, and who cares what others think? It works for us, and that’s what matters.

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is definitely a busy time! But with a fresh perspective and appreciation for yourself, your family, and your uniqueness, you’ll be able to keep a merry and bright outlook all the way through the season!

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Hi, I'm Beth. I help busy moms ditch the overwhelm and gain confidence, so they can enjoy parenting more, yell less, and have peaceful kids and a happy family.

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