Saturday, December 1, 2018

Avoiding the Holiday Burnout.

Happy December everyone! I feel like we can all agree that this year has gone by so quickly. Its hard to believe that we're already back to cold, snowy weather, Peppermint Mochas, and counting the days until Christmas (24, by the way). Even these past few weeks have just vanished, and sitting down to blog this morning I'm realizing its been over a week since my last post. How is that possible?

With last week having been a short work week, the Thanksgiving holiday, a friend visiting last weekend, and company leadership in our office this week, I feel like my mind has been racing just to keep up with my body. I haven't had time to get to any yoga classes since the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My workouts have been far from spectacular. I'll even step up and admit that I had to drop "NaNoWriMo" halfway through because trying to hit 50,000 words by the end of November just wasn't going to happen. I tried to push, staying up well past midnight several nights in a row, but frankly started to burn out. A friend told me I was going to hit a wall if I continued trying to do so many things, and he was right. Blogging, yoga, trying to squeeze writing an entire novel into one month...they've been put on the back-burner (though I did make it to 48 pages. Still proud.). The good news is that the coming weeks will be much less chaotic. Unlike most, who are planning trips and lots of holiday parties, baking loads of treats, and attending different Christmas-related events, I've got a surprisingly light load through the end of the year. I'm relieved. Sure, there are a few work events coming down the line and of course my family will celebrate Christmas, but December is overall looking much less hectic than it has in past years. Last year, I took a long weekend and traveled home from the UP. The year before, I was coming back from my Germany/Greece adventure. Even the year prior to that, I was graduating from college and moving from Minnesota to Michigan. This is the first year things feel as though they've truly settled. My schedule is busy, but not unmanageable. And I've made sure to allow for plenty of down time to do the things I enjoy.
 (At the Townsend Hotel for a charity event last month)
 (Family Thanksgiving last week)
(Catching up over great food and beer)
That being said, my goal for December is to get back into the habit of blogging and focus on doing it more as a hobby rather than as an obligation (as its become from time to time in the past). I love to write; if you're a friend or family member who's known me for any period of time, you well know that. For me, blogging - or writing in general - is something that should be enjoyable. And while I do look forward to that moment when I've put together something I'm proud of and can finally hit, "publish", sometimes the process can feel more like a "have to" than a "get to" when I try to force it. It's the same with yoga, working out, or even cooking a good meal: when you're stressed and feel like you're just doing it to 'get it done', it loses whatever makes it enjoyable.

Carry this with you throughout the holiday season: if you feel as though you have too many obligations, too much pressure, or just not enough free time to do what you actually enjoy, give yourself a break. It's ok to say no. You love to bake but don't want to bake 15 dozen cookies for all of your different holiday parties? Offer to bake for a few, then take something easy like wine or munchies to the others. Feel like you don't have time to go to the gym or that Pilates class because you have so many evening obligations? Just attend those where you truly enjoy the company of whoever is hosting. Love shopping but don't have enough money to buy elaborate presents for everyone on your list? Find things that are small but sentimental. In the past few weeks I've been reminded that a packed schedule is not necessarily a productive one: if anything, it can usually be quite the opposite. And the holidays are supposed to be the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year," right? Don't let yourself burn out!
 (Some nights you just need a cup of tea, a yummy-smelling candle, and movies)
Knowing when to say, 'Yes' and participate in 'extra-curriculars' is so important (holiday parties, baking 15 dozen cookies for different get-togethers, shopping, etc.). But equally important is knowing when to step back and just say, 'No'. It's December: just one month to go until the new year. Enjoy the time you have with friends and family, the time you do have off from work, and spend some time doing the things you love: the things you'd regret if you missed. But do them at your own pace, and acknowledge when you need to take time for yourself. Don't let the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" become the most stressful 

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