Reduce Decision Fatigue
If you’ve never heard of this, yes, this is a real thing. The human brain only has enough mental energy (very scientific term) to make a certain amount of decisions per day. If you overextend yourself, you end up making poor decisions, your mood struggles, and your overall energy struggles – even into the next day. The holidays by nature are a series of decisions. What to eat, where to eat, when to go to whose house, what to put up in terms of decorations, what to buy and for who, when to buy what…you get the idea. While this tip is important year round, it’s especially important for any time in your life that is a little more chaotic and decision filled than usual. Now is the time to lean on routines and habits.
Think small picture first. Pick out your clothes for the week, meal prep your meals for the week (excluding the holiday festivities of course), set a bedtime and a wake time, set days for your exercise, make a schedule and stick to it, etc. The less choices you have to make throughout your day about each and every little thing, the more mental energy you’ll have left over to make those big decisions like if you really have to go to dinner with politically offensive Uncle Earl this year.
Also, consider picking up a copy of Jame’s Clear’s Atomic Habits for the BEST read on how to make habits stick, and make them easy.
Prioritize You Time
You can see in that article, that so much of the stress of this time of year can be attributed to social stress; family and friends having tension, pressure to do x or make x, over socializing (for the introverts out there), lack of time for hobbies (in favor of social interactions), and lack of privacy or freedom due to hosting, traveling, visiting, gathering, etc. While I KNOW it’s easier said than done, the best remedy for this is simple; prioritize you. Prioritize your health, your stress relief, and your hobbies.
Of course, don’t forget about your chiro sessions! Chiropractic care is not only good for your body, but also your mind. And guess what? We won’t let Uncle Earl in with you.
For whatever reason, this seems to be a taboo subject when it comes to things like weddings, baby showers, or holidays/celebrations of any kind. Which in my opinion, is just plain dumb. There is no magical bank account in your name that’s filled with endless money for things that will make other people happy or enhance their lives (if there is, tell me your secret, I’m begging). So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to spend more than we have on our endless Christmas gift list, travel plans, and holiday get-togethers? To put it in perspective, ask yourself; would you expect a loved one to buy you a plane ticket to Tahiti when the most extravagant trip they’ve taken is a week in New York? No? Doesn’t make sense? Exactly.
Your loved ones would never want you to overextend yourself simply to buy them a gift or make a vacation. They will understand if something is simply not in the budget. And if they don’t? Well, too bad. It’s your responsibility to look after yourself and set boundaries. You do not want to still be paying for 2022’s Christmas by the time 2023’s comes around. Make your gifts and your travel plans fit your budget, not the other way around. The important people in your life would never expect anything else, and you can always get creative and find middle ground.
Know When Good Is Good Enough
Last, but certainly not least, it’s worth noting that the top contributors to festive burnout all seem to be things that really shouldn’t be that stressful. Shopping for the “perfect” gift, making the “perfect” holiday meal for the “perfect” family get together…the list goes on. We seem to have difficulty accepting that nothing will ever be picture perfect. Know that there will be compromises, gripes, and bumps in the road along the way in just about everything. You might burn the turkey, you might not get the perfect present, your family may have a small argument at the dinner table. At the end of the day if you get caught up on these things, you’re focusing on the wrong things. Get catering, ask people what they want for Christmas, write a meaningful card to augment a low budget or less thoughtful gift. It’s not that serious.
Basically, just don’t forget what this time of year is about. Gratitude, family, friends, and loved ones overall. That’s what matters. The rest? It probably won’t even matter come February.
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