How to avoid overwhelm during the holiday season: my top 5 tips


Yes, it's nearly the end of the year again.  And as busy mothers,  we know that the holidays at this time of year bring great joy but also potential overwhelm. With the school year wrapping up (here in the Australia anyway), the working year heading into end-of-year party time,  plus the holiday season rapidly approaching, many of us are rushed off our feet for these last few weeks of the year.   We have multiple things to do on our to-do list, places to be and people to see.  Plus, as mothers, we tend to have a huge list of things to get done that don't even make it onto our to-do list!

Avoiding feeling overwhelmed is even more important if you are experiencing grief or a heightened emotional state.

But how do we find calm in this space?  How do we avoid feeling overwhelmed?

Here are my favourite tips to feel calm and avoid overwhelm at this time of year.

1. Get organised

Being organised is the best gift you can give yourself for when things get busy. And this time of year IS busy!  It can lead to overwhelm and so it is good to be prepared.

As I've written about before, being organised may mean having quick and easy meals ready in the pantry or the freezer.  It might mean having a stash of go-to activities for when the children (and you) are just too tired to do anything else.

We know the next few weeks in the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season will be very busy.  It's the same every year!  It's not surprising, and therefore with a little forethought, we can be prepared in advance and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

2. Make a plan

This probably is not surprisingly to those of you who have been reading my posts for a while!  I'm a big fan of a plan! Having a plan for everything we need to do can take it out of our head, and mean we free up brain space to be less consumed by concern and worry.  Making a plan needn't be hours spent with a spreadsheet, or a diary, or a planner.  It can simply be considering what key items you will cover that day, or that week, or even that month.

For example, you may decide that you will do all your Christmas shopping on a single day.  Done. That's your plan. Or you may decide that you prefer to do one or two items every week for the next five weeks.

Which leads to the next point…

3. Chunk it down

Question: How does one eat an elephant?

Answer:  In small bites.

This means embracing the classic time management and project planning approach.

So whether it be Christmas shopping finished, greeting cards written (and sent), gifts wrapped, meals planned, celebratory events organised or any of your other multitude of tasks; break it down into small things you can do in small pockets of time.  By taking large projects and breaking them up into smaller manageable jobs, it helps minimise the feeling of too much to do in too little time.

4. Enlist support

When we are experiencing overwhelm,  asking for help and enlisting the support of others can make the difference between overwhelm and coping.

Whether the feeling of overwhelm is due to the time of year,  the multitude of things we have to do or because current circumstances have left us with less time and energy for day-to-day requirements, asking for help is always an option.

You can enlist support from family, friends, your partner or paid support in the form of a cleaner, a babysitter or having your groceries delivered (I use this one from time to time - so easy and makes a huge difference).  Even one of these small items of support can lift the pressure when we are feeling truly overwhelmed.

5. Take time for you

Now this is really hard, and I find it especially so. This is an area I am still working on, but I readily admit that when I do take time for myself, the overwhelm I feel is lessened.

It can seem counterintuitive, however when we give ourselves time, we create a feeling of spaciousness.  We create a feeling that there is plenty of time for everything.

And, much of the sense of overwhelm we experience is because we feel there is inadequate time to do all the things we need to do.   Or, we feel there is too much to be done that we cannot possibly get to it all.

By scheduling time for yourself, whether it be a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute meditation, you carve out space for clarity and calm.

A little gift to yourself.

When we are perilously close to overwhelm, clarity and calm is just what we need.

I hope you find that one or two of these tips resonate for you, and help you avoid a sense of overwhelm this holiday period.

More Support

If you would like to feel like your best self for the new year, I'd love to help!  Simply book your complimentary consult and we can chat about how I can help you gain clarity in your life.