Are You Gifting Yourself ‘Festive Burnout’ For Christmas This Year?

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Uncategorized

Set limits, make moments, be kind – the key to avoiding Festive Burnout

Whatever you do, don’t Google the words ‘Christmas’ and ‘illness’ together. The result is a long litany of stats and reports on just how many of us get ill during the festive season.

Yes, some is due to the time of year and the impact of winter, but much of it is also down to the fact that, as the calendar rolls into the last days of December, we are all exhausted and on our knees.

The Americans have coined a phrase for it: ‘Festive burnout’. A study looking at December and stress in the US found that, and I kid you not on this, the most  stressful thing is… Shopping.

Followed by crowds, knowing what to buy people and hearing Christmas music. For most, the solution was sleep and time alone. Granted, it may not have been the most insightful survey, but it does show how our stress levels are elevated by the December rush. And we have to add the pressure of a busy work period, as people try and close out the many things that are due before the new year.

So, what happens? Really simply, stress eats us alive. What should be a short-term call to action from our body is, when experienced over longer periods, a significant factor in depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems and a weakened immune system. They are all major problems, but the last one is the culprit for much of the illness we suffer.

The first festive advert arises in many of us the sense of dread that a turkey feels when it sees the first flake of snow of the year. We are subjected to two months of stress as we furiously shop, work and socialise; in a current climate that doesn’t lend itself to any of those three activities.

So, by the time we finish for the year, our immune system is shot, and in rush the bugs that lay us low during a time when we really want to be at our best. More significantly, this situation puts us in a prime position to fully experience burn-out – something that’s devastating and by no means easy to bounce back from.

What to do? It’s already December, and the countdown is upon us. But it’s not too late, and there are still plenty of ways that you can take charge. As those who use the Bank of Me app will know, the best coping advice is specific, simple and actionable. Telling you to ‘calm down’ isn’t that helpful. But, giving you three things to do practically is. So here goes:

  1. Set Limits. Make this your mantra for the rest of the year. It doesn’t mean you have to be tough on yourself and miss out on fun or festivities – what is does ask of you is that you are more mindful around what you put your resources into (physical, emotional, financial):
    1. Choose something that’s coming up – could be a shopping trip, a busy work period or a party, and think through what the cost will be – will it tire you out, will it deplete your energy, will it require money?
    2. Decide what the ‘spending limit’ is – a hard cap on how much you will spend, a firm resolution not to go past a third drink, or a time at which you will stop work
    3. Write it down, tell people, make it a ‘big thing’ – don’t hide your limits. And, if you keep it, take a moment to acknowledge that you can, and did, do it

  2. Make Moments.  The Swedish nation gave us the notion of ‘fika’ – quality time with those that are important to us. Like a group hug with a cup of coffee. December should be the time to do this more, but for many of us it isn’t. So find ways to make it happen:
    1. Get tactical – choose the people you want to make a fika moment with and talk to them to make it happen – a lunch, a coffee break, a dinner. 
    2. Use the time to just be – ask how they are, talk about plans for the year ahead, ask what’s exiting them and firing them up in life.
    3. Rinse and repeat. Fika isn’t a one-off, it’s a tool to de-stress and stay connected with people – it builds your levels of inclusion.

  3. Be Kind. Not to others (well, yes, to others) but to yourself. This is not about buying ‘stuff’ or overindulging in food & drink. It’s about looking ahead and recognising when you will need a moment – to breathe, be still and allow the stress to abate for a while:
    1. Build a short-term habit for the next couple of weeks – either allocate a regular time or preserve some space directly after a stressful event or activity.
    2. Use that small pause to do something regenerative – listen to a piece of music, read a chapter of a book, meditate, stare out of the window… down time (NO devices).
    3. Make it little and often, and see them as reverse-pulses that act as a break on the stress of the season. They demonstrate to you both the power of the pause, and that you can do it.

Try one or two of them… or all three. They may help. There’s loads more like this in the Bank of Me app – wisdom, guidance and, hopefully, life-changing advice.

Whatever you do, make it a priority to manage yourself effectively in the next few weeks so that, when you stop, you don’t drop, and you start the new year with a sense of purpose and get-up-and-go.

Related Posts

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.