It’s that time again! Festive cheer is in the air, with excited children eagerly waiting for Father Christmas… and about a million things to do and worry about to ensure you’re pulling off the perfect holiday season for EVERYONE.
But if you have people coming over, kids to delight, and gatherings you need to be performing at your best for, you may not be feeling the Christmas cheer as much as the Holiday Overwhelm.
Here are Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Belief Clearing and NLP Practitioner Lisa Cybaniak’s top three tips to cope through the holidays:
The single greatest thing you can do now is to give yourself perspective. This has many factors. First, let’s remember that this day (or perhaps a few days) will pass. And much like weddings which all seem to blur together, most of the people you are trying so hard to impress simply will not remember this holiday season from the last ten, or the next for that matter.
On that note, let’s assume this is one day, because even if your holiday season lasts an entire week or more, you could break it down into one day at a time. And that’s exactly what you can do here – focus on one day at a time. You don’t have tomorrow’s “problem” to face now because tomorrow isn’t here yet. In this moment right here, there is no “problem”.
Finally, gaining perspective also involves reminding ourselves what we’re even doing this for. If there are children in your family, then it’s likely you’re trying to give them a wonderful Christmas full of family and fun. You want to see that glint in their eyes and the big smile on their faces. Remember that.
However, if you realise you’re doing this because it’s just how your family does things, then it may be time for a re-think. Perhaps boundaries need to be set.
When something isn’t working, the only thing that will change it is change itself. What needs to change in your life during this holiday season? The easiest way to begin to answer this is to look at what’s not working for you – what’s getting you stressed and feeling overwhelmed?
There are so many different boundaries, and reasons for them, that to attempt to discuss them here would take all day! For simplicity’s sake, let’s say what’s not working for you is running around during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day, spreading yourself thin to see all the various families in your life. You now realise that this needs to change as there is no way to continue this schedule and not be overwhelmed.
The boundary that may work for you is to stretch out the festivities. Instead of seeing your mum and stepdad on Christmas Eve, you may need to plan to visit with them on December 22nd. Boxing Day may need to turn into YOUR family day where you and your partner and children have a quiet day at home in your pyjamas eating left-overs. Whomever you were to visit on Boxing Day can be moved to the following day, and so forth.
Yes, those family members who will be informed of your new plan may not be happy with the changes. But I would ask yourself this: Do you love, respect, and accept yourself enough to meet your needs?
Don’t forget that you can always ask those family members to be part of the solution. Lovingly explain to them how overwhelmed you are and how changes need to happen, and then ask them for their input on what that solution could be. You just might be surprised at how accommodating they are to your new plan. Heck, they may even suggest it themselves!
Finally, we come to caring for yourself. I know from experience that when we get overwhelmed the first thing that goes out the window is any time we had allotted for ourselves. However, it’s in these stressful times that we really need to ADD MORE time for ourselves instead of removing it.
Think about it. Those little things like taking a bath or reading a book, taking time to bake because you love it so much or exercising because it helps you blow off steam… they all are wonderful ways for you to cope with your stress. When you begin to feel more stress, such as during the holidays, adding to your coping strategies will naturally help you to decompress.
We often think that it will be less stressful to set those things on the back burner because it’ll free up some time for us. Of course it will free up time, but that’s not what’s causing our stress. And certainly having an extra 15-60 minutes in our day isn’t going to allow us to make miracles happen. Whereas, when we take that time to rest and regroup, we come back stronger. THAT’S what decreases our stress – our ability to handle it!
So, as you gear up for the holidays, remember what you’re doing this for, look deep within to determine what needs to change, put those boundaries in place to facilitate that change, and don’t just continue with your self-care routine – ADD TO IT
Lisa Cybaniak is a Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Belief Clearing and NLP Practitioner (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Initiate Priestess, Certified Intuitive Palm Reader, Author of Survivor to Warrior, Speaker and Host of the Life, like you mean it! Podcast. Empowering others to make the most of their lives by understanding themselves and getting out of their own way to success, is in her DNA! Lisa’s story of survival from 10-years of child abuse, and the work she does to shed the stigma while empowering others to heal, grow, learn and transcend, is life-changing. A finalist for the NLP Practitioner of the Year Award in 2019, and finalist for Businesswoman of the Year in 2021, Lisa works with people suffering from negative, self-defeating mantras and belief systems standing in their way of building the life they truly deserve.