8 Tips to Beat Holiday Burnout and Enjoy The Season

The holiday season, with its festive cheer and joy, can sometimes become overwhelming and lead to burnout. Especially for women and moms. Between the expectations we put on ourselves to make holiday magic for the people we love, and the stubborn habit of society to lay all the holiday magic-making at the feet of women, it is easy to run ourselves completely into the ground. This holiday season, it’s imperative that we prioritize self-care and find balance between celebration and relaxation. Here are eight tips to ensure you don’t get burnt out during the holidays:

Plan Ahead:

Start by creating a realistic schedule for holiday activities, including shopping, decorating, and socializing. Having a plan helps manage expectations and reduces last-minute stress. Also remember to plan rest and relaxation! You are allowed to schedule time for yourself, even during these busy weeks. In fact, I’d say it’s necessary.

Set Realistic Expectations:

It’s okay not to do everything. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your loved ones. Focus on what brings you joy and consider scaling back on less essential activities. Does your holiday dinner really require seven side dishes, or would everyone survive if you only made two or three? Do you have to wrap every present meticulously, complete with ribbons, bows, and a hand-made tag, or can you put things in bags with tissue and folks would love their gifts just as much? We must not put expectations on ourselves that even our loved ones wouldn’t put on us.

Delegate Tasks:

You don’t have to do everything alone. Delegate tasks to family members or friends, whether it’s cooking, decorating, or planning activities. Sharing responsibilities eases the burden and fosters a sense of togetherness. I really struggle with asking for help, so the holidays are an opportunity to stretch myself a bit. I’m learning that the joy of having help and not having to do everything myself far outweighs the initial discomfort of asking someone to take a few things off my plate.

Learn to Say No:

Understand your limits and be willing to say no to commitments that may contribute to your stress. It’s okay to decline invitations or requests that exceed your bandwidth. It isn’t rude to have boundaries around your time, your energy, and your peace. And believe it or not, your loved ones will understand.

Embrace Simplicity:

Consider simplifying traditions and celebrations. Find joy in the small, meaningful moments rather than trying to create a picture-perfect holiday experience. One thing we are doing this year is giving fewer presents to the kids and to each other. In years past, we have made a massive deal out of Christmas, cramming as much under the tree as possible to give our kids that magical Christmas feel. What have we learned? We’ve learned that, when we do this, the kids get overwhelmed. They end up choosing a few toys that they love and ignoring or neglecting the rest. And, of course, we still have to clean up all the wrappings from those ignored gifts. This year we are sticking to a few special and meaningful gifts.

Stay Active:

Physical activity is a natural stress reliever. Even a short daily walk can make a significant difference in your mood and energy levels during the hectic holiday season. It’s easy to deprioritize physical activity when we are already so overwhelmed and exhausted from our lengthy to-do lists, but remember that a gentle walk is far different from doing the daily chores of the holidays.

Connect with Others:

Share your feelings with friends or family members. Sometimes, a supportive conversation can provide valuable perspective and alleviate the emotional weight you may be carrying.

Reflect and Express Gratitude:

Take moments to reflect on the positive aspects of the season. Express gratitude for the people and experiences in your life. Cultivating a grateful mindset can shift your focus from stressors to sources of joy. I question putting this here because it smacks of toxic positivity. It’s okay to process negative feelings during the holidays. You don’t need to suppress or ignore them—they are perfectly normal and deserve your attention. All I’m saying is, choosing to intentionally lean into gratitude can keep you in a balanced mindset that can help you navigate the holidays.

Remember, the holidays are about joy, connection, and celebration. By implementing these tips, you can navigate the season with a greater sense of balance and avoid burning out, allowing you to fully enjoy the festive spirit. Also, remember that it’s okay othe season doesn’t feel festive to you this year or any year. Holidays can be hard for many people, for a number of reasons. So, make sure you’re taking good are of yourself, as best you can, with compassion and grace.


Amber Wardell is a doctor of psychology and author who speaks on women’s issues related to marriage, motherhood, and mental health. Subscribe to the free newsletter to get exclusive content delivered to your inbox and to never miss an upload.

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