Burnout. We hear that word a lot these days. It sounds like a buzzword your company’s HR department sends out in emails to help “acknowledge” and “inform” you of what you might be feeling. But, as much as we hate to admit it, some buzzwords are pretty relatable. Maybe you’ve found yourself uttering the phrase “I’m burnout” under your breath as you get ready for that third Christmas party. And remember, your spouse wants a real tree this year, not the expensive, artificial one you bought last year. That one’s out of style now. (Sigh). I love the holidays more than anyone. It’s the perfect time for dessert at every meal. But really, can we admit that by the end of a long year we might all be feeling a little tired, a little done, and a little burnout?
So, what can you do if you are experiencing burnout just as the holidays arrive? Taking the first steps can sometimes create the biggest changes in your life. Here are some tips to help ease burnout this holiday season.
It might be helpful to tell someone what you’re feeling. Maybe your best friend, coworker, or spouse. Not telling the people who love and care about us the most how we are feeling can often lead to more problems. Being honest about your emotional exhaustion and fatigue may bring you some immediate relief. And you may be surprised to find that the people around you are more willing to help than you first thought.
Another strategy is to make time for yourself. I get it. There’s a list of presents to buy, people to see, kids to take care of, parties to host, and food to be made. Did I mention kids to take care of? But if we don’t make meaningful time for ourselves, then we can start to lose ourselves.
We might become more anxious or easily frustrated by the little things. And making time for yourself doesn’t have to be complicated. During this holiday season, discover what brings you a little bit of joy and fulfillment in life and make time for that, because your mental health is important.
As beneficial as those things can be, you might be looking for some extra help with your burnout this holiday season. Therapy can be helpful because it provides a space for you to be yourself without fear of judgment. A good therapist can provide an alternative perspective on what is happening in your life, which can give you greater insights into how to approach the problems you are facing. Therapy can provide you with tools and strategies to not only address your current concerns but to equip you for any future challenges that come your way as well.
Other helpful resources are available as well. Support groups can provide a space of connection and community. One of my favorite books, Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend, provides a great knowledge about creating healthy boundaries in life that can often reduce or prevent the stress and feeling of burnout that happens in our lives.
For some additional self-care tips, visit thriveforwardtherapy.com/selfcare.
If you are feeling a sense of burnout this holiday season, be kind to yourself. It can be the happiest time of year, but that doesn’t mean the challenges in life stop. Tell someone how you’re feeling, make time for yourself, and remember that help is never too far away.
By Dr. Austin Shugart, LPC