It’s almost Christmas, how exciting! I love this time of year, but there’s one thing I can do without – the panicked frenzy, the crazy driving, the selfishness, and the increase in rudeness. None of this sounds like Christmas does it? And yet, we put ourselves in this state of overwhelm and bah hum buggery each and every year by choice.
The other day at work, a woman came rushing out of the bookstore with a tray of coffee and didn’t even see me. She almost plowed straight into me. Moments later, a man did the same thing. Neither were paying any attention to their surroundings, they were simply plowing through life rushing to the next item on their to do list. They didn’t even look at me or apologize. It was like I was invisible.
It makes me sad.
Sad that all those people are chasing a Christmas that’s A) unattainable, B) one they probably can’t afford, and C) one they will likely be frazzled out of their mind for.
Who wants to be frazzled for the holidays?
Not me and I’m sure you don’t either. You are only one person that can handle only so much before feeling overwhelmed by it all.
The holidays shouldn’t leave us in a state of overwhelm. They shouldn’t be something we mindlessly trudge through every year. Aspiring for Instagram worthy holiday perfection should not be a prerequisite for a happy holiday season. And yet year after year, we overload ourselves to the point of crazed burn out to achieve the unachievable.
So how do you have a fantastic holiday without the stress? How do you keep it simple?
8 Simple Ways To Deal With Overwhelm
Say NO more. Stop trying to please everyone. Think of the holidays like it’s a wedding – you’ll never make everyone happy. Ever since a friend told me this while planning my wedding, it’s a rule I’ve lived by. You will always have someone angry with you over some small trivial thing. Be you and do your best, and if someone doesn’t like it, too bad. We all want to be able to say yes to everything and never miss out on a life experience, but there comes a time when our bodies, souls, and budgets tell us to stop.
Ditch perfectionism. As an ex-perfectionist, I’ve learned to let a lot of things go. I’ve realized that there’s more than one way to do something and it’s important to keep an open mind as much as possible. Ditching perfectionism is one way to reduce your fears and the ever-plaguing analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is the number one way that I become overwhelmed. When I’m researching something new, I do it to the point of information overload. Guess what happens next. Yep, I feel completely overwhelmed and shut down. It’s the last thing you want to happen because you stop executing on the important things in life.
Invest in human connection. Isn’t this what the holidays are for? Taking time to spend with family and friends. Do yourself a favor and ditch the digital devices during the season. If you’re at a party, shut off your phone and hide it from yourself. Relish in those uncomfortable silences instead of trying to text or social media them away. Not only does it build social skills, you’ll get to know your family and friends a whole lot better.
Forgive, forget and love. Maybe you haven’t stayed in touch as much as you’d like, or maybe there was that epic battle you had last Christmas over gift giving and budgets. Whatever the issue might have been, forgive, forget and show them love. If they still feel bitter about it, keep trying. Remember that mending fences takes time and a lot of nails.
Breath. Exercise. Visualize. This is the best piece of advice. Simply breathe. When it all gets too much, take a few slow deep breaths. It will immediately calm you down. Slowly breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and exhale slowly for 4 counts. If you’re not stuck in traffic, try closing your eyes as well. If you’re uber stressed out, take a 15-20 minute walk and try these affirmations:
I am enough.
I am loved.
I am abundant.
I am blessed with a loving family and understanding friends.
I am perfectly fit, happy and healthy.
I am a harmonious being in perfect balance.
It is a beautiful, happy day.
Things always work out for me.
I am manifesting the life I desire.
Cut down on your to do list. Each day, you should have no more than 3-5 things to do. Anything more and your good old friend analysis paralysis will rear its ugly head. The next thing you know, you’re in overwhelm land. Human beings do not multitask well. Instead, we shift from task to task very rapidly. By not focusing on each task until completion, we create a state of overwhelm wondering why things only get partially finished. The key is to put the most difficult task at the top of your list and get it out of the way. By doing this, you don’t leave it to the last minute overwhelming yourself with a big project.
By having no more than 5 items each day, your list will get completed.
With 2017 hard upon us, this philosophy works well for yearly goals too. You should have no more than 5 major goals to focus on each year. Each goal should be broken down into monthly and weekly milestones to ensure you’re on track and making progress.
Ask for help. Oh boy. This had to be on the list didn’t it? I am notorious for not asking for help. Part pride, part independence and part perfectionism is the sinister demon behind why I don’t ask for help. Many professional women fall prey to the “I can do it all” mentality. I blame the whole Lean In movement, which by the way; I could not stand that book. I’m all for female empowerment, but sometimes you can’t do it all. When you need help, you need help. When people offer help take it. If you refuse help too often, people will eventually stop offering.
Make time for rituals. I love rituals. They ground me and center me. Rituals also get all the crap that’s swimming around in your brain out. The last thing you want is excess mental clutter. Not only do rituals reduce overwhelm by calming the mind, they also create structure and habits.
Ideas for rituals:
- Journaling aka Morning Pages
- Reading a book
- Lighting a scented candle
- Using essential oils in a diffuser
I start my day with a sun salutation, thanking God for another day, stretching, 15 minutes of morning pages, then it’s on to breakfast. After that, I take a 20-minute walk outside and practice my affirmations.
I end my day reading a book, saying what I’m grateful for that day and lastly, a short prayer.
So you see, we overwhelm ourselves with our choices. Gradually we manage to let life outpace us, and before we know it, we’re having a meltdown and wondering why no one gets it.