Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D.

Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D.

High Octane Women

'Tis the Season (Already!): 5 Simple Ways to Avoid Holiday Fatigue

How to Keep Your Holiday Spirit Alive and Energized

Posted Nov 05, 2011

Here are a few tips to help keep your holiday spirit alive and energized through all the hype, hustle, and bustle of "the season."

  1. Pace yourself. Because holiday marketing and sales now begin before Halloween, pacing yourself is a lot easier than it used to be. Shop early to avoid the aggravation of parking, lines, and the overall rushed feeling that comes with last minute shopping.
  2. Better yet, shop online. Not only can you shop any time during the day or night (in comfy PJs if you like), you will circumvent the stress of crowds, lines, and parking problems. Plus, with free shipping alive and well during the holidays, it can sometimes cost less to shop online than in stores.
  3. Commit to attend some social events of the season, but don't push yourself to attend all of them. Instead, schedule some time for yourself to wind down and relax. In fact, Sheila Roberts, author of On Strike for Christmas, recommends that you actually plan a slient night during the holidays by blocking out some down time in your calendar.
  4. Don't be shy about delegating. You don't have to do everything yourself. If you know a specific gift you want to get and you know a friend or family member will be near or in that particular store, ask that person to pick it up for you. The same applies to hosting holiday parties. Ask for help from family members in picking up some of the supplies or groceries you need. This will give you more time to slow down and prepare what you need to prepare inside the house without rushing around.
  5. Be realistic in your expectations. When you expect perfection in your holiday preparations, expect a lot of added and unnecessary stress and fatigue as well. If you're planning to host a party, why do you need to prepare a major feast? Why not try an assortment of easy-to-make side dishes or appetizers? Or why not consider sharing the load by making the event a pot luck? Most holiday guests feel compelled to bring something anyway, so why not let them bring a dish?

Finally (I won't even give it a number because you really should just make it a life habit), SLEEP. Don't allow the hustle and bustle of the season to cause you to sacrifice sleep. It's normal during the holidays to have more on your to-do list than usual, but that shouldn't result in sleep dropping off your to-do list

The best way to combat fatigue is to maintain a consistent sleep-wake schedule. Sleep is restorative. It's the time when your body replenishes itself at a cellular level and repairs itself from the damage of mental stress, physical strain, infection, sun exposure, and pollutants. Without enough sleep, our minds and bodies don't function as well as they could, which makes us less productive. 

So, slow down and smell the mistletoe ... and the cinammon and the chestnuts and the turkey and all of the other delicious smells, beautiful sights, and familiar sounds that have become symbols of the joy of the holiday season! Enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed, by relaxing and sharing quality time with family and friends. The rest is just window dressing.

© 2011 Sherrie Bourg Carter, All Rights Reserved

Sherrie Bourg Carter is the author of High Octane Women: How Superachievers Can Avoid Burnout (Prometheus Books, 2011).