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Holiday Burnout: Recognizing and Preventing Mental Exhaustion


Holiday Burnout: Recognizing and Preventing Mental Exhaustion
Holiday Burnout: Recognizing and Preventing Mental Exhaustion


Holiday Burnout: Recognizing and Preventing Mental Exhaustion


With Halloween behind us, it’s the unofficial start of the holiday season. Maybe you’re excited about that and you can’t wait to deck the halls or start playing holiday music 24/7. Or, maybe you’re dreading the busy schedules and overwhelming tasks that seem to come up this time of year. 


From holiday parties at work to gatherings with families, and from finding the right gifts for people to fighting crowds and inclement weather, it’s easy to feel burnt out over the holiday season. 

There’s nothing “merry” about that. 


But, if you’ve experienced holiday burnout in the past, it doesn’t have to plague you again this year. By recognizing some of the signs, you can take better care of yourself and prevent mental exhaustion all season long. 


What Is Holiday Burnout? 


It can feel like the holiday season is nonstop. You’re rushing around from one place to another. Your to-do list is longer than ever. People are counting on you for things like bringing a dish to a family party or planning what to get your boss for an office gift. 


Holiday burnout is often caused by this kind of over-engagement and extra stress. Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle. The more stressed you feel, the more likely you are to over-commit to things, until you’re completely overwhelmed. 


When that happens, you might feel like you can’t wait for the season to be over, and you spend less time enjoying it because of everything you have to do. Maybe you’ve even experienced burnout in the past, so you’re already dreading the holidays and setting up a negative mindset for the upcoming season. 


Signs of Holiday Burnout


So, how can you tell when the holidays are actually causing burnout? It’s often easy to ignore when you’re keeping yourself busy (and exhausted). But, some of the common signs include:


  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits

  • Emotional detachment

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of interest in things you typically enjoy

  • Difficulty concentrating


Another common sign is resentment toward holiday activities. They might make you feel frustrated or even anxious, rather than calm and joyful. 


Sound familiar? Recognizing these signs of burnout can help raise a red flag and let you know it’s time to pause and rethink what you take on over the holidays. The sooner you recognize the signs of burnout, the sooner you can take action toward preventing mental exhaustion. With the right steps forward, you might even be able to enjoy the season, for a change. 


What Can You Do? 


If you want to prevent holiday burnout this year, there are several strategies you can implement to make things easier on yourself. 


First, learn to say no. Set boundaries for yourself, and don’t over-commit to things just because you’ve done so in the past. You’re not more obligated than anyone else to bite off more than you can chew. Take on the tasks you enjoy and tackle things that are easy for you. Beyond that, say no to things that will cause more stress. 


Next, prioritize self-care throughout the season. It isn’t selfish, it’s necessary for your well-being. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and staying physically active. 


Those simple tasks can seem easier said than done throughout the holidays, which is why you have to actively choose to take care of yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an extra Christmas cookie or two. Do the things that make you happy and reduce your stress. But, consider what’s best for your mind and body and put those things at the top of your list each day. 


If you’re really struggling with burnout and the idea of the holiday season is already making you anxious, don’t hesitate to talk to someone. Lean on your support system. Share your concerns with family members or friends, or contact a mental health professional to learn how to better manage your anxiety and fight burnout before it becomes a problem. At Through Therapy Collective, we’re here to help you navigate the holiday season, reach out here.


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