Dealing With Overwhelm This Holiday Season

Dealing with Overwhelm this Holiday SeasonAs I write this, it’s only early December, and I already feel exhausted! I’m fighting off a cold, turning writing assignments in late, and nearly forgetting to move the elf on the shelf! It feels like too much sometimes!

Whenever I feel bit overwhelmed by all of the duties of the season on top of my regular work, I try to remind myself that there were Christmases in the past that I had to spend apart from my husband. So, now that he’s a retired Marine, I have A LOT to be grateful for.

This busy time of year, I may have to schedule it in, but I like to try and take a few minutes most evenings to express gratitude for my health, career, and marriage. I also pray that the broader audience of military spouses have husbands and kids who are safe and sound.

Stressors Come in All Sizes

Just because the stresses you’re dealing with may not be as big as a deployment doesn’t mean they can’t still be daunting. Buying all those gifts, wrapping the presents, constantly baking, all while still trying to get some work in—sometimes it feels like too much!

The military spouses I’m working with tell me they can’t decide if they should spend their limited time and money to go see family or focus on saving. They wonder how to cut down on holiday expenses that put them into debt in January without feeling like they’re cutting corners. And, of course, those dealing with spouses on deployment are extra stressed and lonely this time of year.

Slow Down!

As magical as the holidays can be, they are also a time when our normal stressors increase tenfold. My business mentor gave me “homework” that has helped me slow down and really feel things—even the unpleasant emotions that come up. She thinks that I race around keeping busy to avoid facing my feelings—and I’ve found that I’m not alone in taking this approach to the hectic holiday season.

Feel and Then Let Go

What I found was that, when I allowed myself to miss my dad and mourn, get annoyed that my husband didn’t help me enough with the Christmas tree, or even feel a bittersweet pride that my oldest wants to do a summer semester in Spain, the feelings quickly turned neutral before subsiding. I feel and then let the emotion go if it doesn’t serve me.

There were several times this month when I consciously tried to just slow down, even if it was only for ten minutes. And this practice has really made all the difference.

When I felt overwhelmed, I’d simply make myself a cup of tea, sit on my sofa, and really listen to whatever stress or emotion was getting to be a bit too much. I might skip running to the store when I have fifteen minutes to kill before my gym class to actually enjoy being there early, for once. I might even ask my middle child to sit and play Mastermind with me when I’m feeling the urge to rearrange Christmas ornaments (again).

Allow yourself some down time and you’ll be able to quiet the constant rush in the back of your mind while really letting yourself process the season.

Give in to the Joy of the Season

If you’re as crazy overwhelmed as I am in December, feel free to steal my homework and just slow down. Let some things go, feel and release negative emotions, and really allow yourself to enjoy the magic of the holiday season.

I would love you to slow down today for ten minutes, and then leave me a comment below about how it felt!

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