It’s not usual to run out of juice by mid-December. Between buying gifts and decor, holiday parties, cooking and cleaning, do you find yourself with holiday fatigue early on in December? I know I do.
An American Psychological Association survey found nearly two-thirds of participants said they sometimes, or often, feel fatigued during the holiday season. And I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more tiring the season seems to be for me. Below are seven tips to help you power on during the holiday festivities.
7 tips to help you stay energized during the holidays
Most of us can’t do everything they would like during this time; it’s important to decide what’s most important to you and try to let go of the rest. You need not feel obligated or guilty to do anything you feel you cannot add to your already over-committed schedule. Don’t worry about judgement from others; that’s their problem.
Keep expectations realistic
For many of us, the holiday season brings hopes of wonderful times spent with loved ones. We look forward to getting together and making memories to be cherished. So why is it that holidays can be so stressful? It’s because we carry expectations influenced by our recollections, which may or not be accurate. One of the keys to coping with holiday stress is to keep your expectations realistic.
Annual customs with family and friends are well worth the time and effort. And even though these events are enjoyable, they are also an energy drain. So try swapping some of the more time consuming aspects of your traditions for rituals that are less work. For example, choose a gift theme such as books or scarves to limit the time needed to search for the perfect gift. Or, instead of hosting a dinner yourself, turn it into a potluck.
Take Time to Recharge
Try to schedule a few hours and use the time to recharge. Studies show taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes mental resources, and encourages creativity. You will actually get more done in less time if you back off from what your work every so often. All you need is five minutes if you practice mindfulness, a type of meditation that brings your attention to the present and connects you to your emotions. Helpful apps such as Headspace and Calm are available to help you with your practice.
Delegate, delegate, delegate…
If you are overwhelmed with all you need to do, don’t be shy about asking others help lesson your load. You’ll find most people want to help, but don’t know what to do or don’t want to overstep. You will find most people are happy to take some of the work off your plate if you give specific instructions. Make sure they understand their job by providing all the necessary details so that you get the help you actually need.
Stick to your regular diet and exercise routine as much as possible
You will feel much better if you make time to exercise and eat well during this busy time. Regular exercise provides endorphins which improve heart health and helps you sleep better, which in turn gives you energy and lessons fatigue. You may have less time if your schedule is tighter than usual, and may need to do a little less, but don’t stop. Not only is it hard to restart once you stop, but you more likely be able to stave off extra pounds that can easily pile on at this time of year with so many extra sweets around.
Try to also limit your food intake around holiday time too. If you eat to much at one meal, do not skip another to make up for it. Skipping meals might make you feel listless, and also set you up to overeat at the next meal. Enjoy some of the special foods that accompany the holidays, but pick and choose what and how much you eat.
A good night’s sleep replenishes energy and helps restore your immune system. Shorting yourself makes you sluggish and more susceptible to overeating and illness. To get to bed faster and stay asleep longer, keep your room quiet and set the thermostat between 60 and 67 degrees. Turn off your phone at least 30 minutes before lying down. And when possible, limit your alcohol and caffeine intake, both of which disrupt sleep, causing fatigue. In addition, alcohol is a depressant, which saps your energy.
The bottom line
Batteries aren’t the only things that run out of energy in December. Take care of yourself to avoid holiday fatigue and remain energized throughout the season.
Happy holidays, everyone!
originally posted Dec 15, 2018
updated Nov 29, 2022