Ahhh, Christmas. The season that is somehow both the most enjoyable and the most utterly draining of the year.
Emotionally fuelled, physically demanding, financially draining; the holiday season is ripe for burnout. Whether you identify as an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in-between, everybody can experience holiday burnout and social fatigue.
The good news is that burnout is not inevitable if you follow a few simple steps to treat your body and mind with respect and care.
We’ve been sifting through the latest research to give you the top five tips to protect and increase your energy levels this holiday season.
1. Understand your energy
Like so many things related to health, protecting your energy starts by looking inwards to understand your existing behaviours and patterns. An important place to start is understanding what energises you and what exhausts you.
Everyone’s energy stores are different - and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to restoring and increasing your energy over the holiday season.
There are many forms of energy exhaustion - and what may be completely energy-sapping to one person could be just fine for another. While some people find inane small talk insufferable, others can’t fathom anything worse than navigating a shaky family dynamic.
By tracking your energy levels, moods and behaviours you can begin to pinpoint the experiences that enliven you and the ones that leave you feeling depleted.
Activity: Understanding Your Energy
Take note of your energy levels, overall moods, any health-related behaviours and see how they interact with each other. Shedding a light on your existing patterns gives a solid foundation to take steps in protecting your energy.
2. Invest in yourself
When you’re so busy making sure everything around you is running smoothly in the holiday season, it can be hard to make time for yourself and what makes you happy.
We all know the holidays can be draining in one way or another - and everyone has their own unique experience of what they find personally draining. That’s why taking the time to invest in you is actually the most selfless thing you can do.
And the best part is, investing in yourself looks however you want it to look. Using the above intel you have gathered on yourself, understand what restores your energy best when it has been sapped.
Whether you can get five minutes to yourself or a whole day, there are simple solutions to fill your own cup, so you can be the best version of yourself for your loved ones.
Best-ever returns: Investing in you
3. Just say no (thanks!)
Repeat after us: saying no does not make you a bad person.
In fact, it’s one of the most powerful skills you can learn to protect your energy and stay present this silly season.
Between work ‘dos, family celebrations, catch-ups, kids concerts and more, the Christmas period has the potential to seriously burn out even the most organised of individuals.
Say yes to the things that matter; the things that fill your cup and are meaningful to you and your loved ones. Everything else can wait - seriously.
Saying no can extend to the endless minutiae of Christmas errands we are bombarded with come December 1st. If it feels right for you, just say no to tree trimming, dinner-hosting, baking and shopping. Delegate the responsibilities that will overwhelm you and hone in on the strengths you bring to the season.
How to say no this holiday season
4. Make sleep a priority
Ensuring a solid sleep routine, allowing for both an ideal amount and quality of sleep, is key to protecting and managing your energy in the holiday period.
According to a 2014 study, people experiencing sleep deprivation use as much as a third more energy than their well-slept counterparts, causing consistent sleepiness and a failure to store energy effectively.
There are many ways we can prioritise sleep. Here are a few of our best tips for prioritising sleep in the Christmas period.
Prioritise sleep this Christmas
5. Create a plan that works for you
The tsunami of events that come crashing down in the month of December can feel, simply put, too damn much.
Flipping between work emails, personal emails, text messages, WhatsApps, physical invites, school notices - how could anyone ever keep track?
To take this holiday season by the reins (pun not intended), start with a big old brain dump. List down every last event, responsibility and task that awaits you for the Christmas season. Write it free-hand, spruce up a spreadsheet - just get it out, and in one accessible place. As things come up, add them.
Once you have a birdseye view of the bustling holiday months that await, check in with each event and ask yourself whether the prospect of this event or task makes you feel excited, anxious or avoidant.
Start culling back your calendar and labor load by, one-by-one, scrutinising, deleting and rearranging to reduce stress, increase visibility and so that you maintain control over your energy this silly season here are few periods throughout the year that test us quite like the silly season does.
Whether you’re avoiding burnout or you’re just trying to get through the season, it’s important to put yourself first in matters of sleep and physical and mental wellness. Protecting, increasing and maintaining your energy is the most selfless thing you can do - for yourself and your loved ones.
To learn more about getting a better night’s sleep, head here