Surviving the holiday chaos

The holidays are here. This should be a time of holiday cheer and much deserved relaxation. But instead it is full of expectation and exhaustion for most, from travelling far to spending too much.

Here are 3 key things you can do to get through the next few weeks with less stress and more enjoyment.


Plan ahead

Handle expectations by planning ahead. Call family members now and set boundaries around travelling, how long you will stay at holiday gatherings, and when you will show up. Your ability to enjoy the holiday season is a lot about who you spend time with.

If there are certain family members who make you feel as though you can’t enjoy your time as much, limit your time with them. Plan ahead by letting people know that you will miss a gathering or if you can only be there for a few hours. You will feel much less obligated to people-please if you plan ahead!

Set expectations and communicate clearly

When you set boundaries by limiting your time or turning down an invitation, people will likely be disappointed. Part of sticking to your boundaries is being able to deal with disappointment. Ask yourself what’s worse: to please everyone or deal with disappointment and actually enjoy the holidays?

Pleasing everyone will often leave you feeling exhausted and resentful. If you set expectations and deal with disappointment early (or even disagreement) you will give yourself the chance to rest and enjoy yourself.

People will be disappointed, but you can’t be everything for everybody. It’s okay to say no and allow yourself time to rest and enjoy. Before you know it January will be here and you will be back to the grind of work and your to-do list. If you don’t rest now, when will you?

Let go of guilt

Guilt is the emotion that makes most people say yes when they want to say no. To let go of guilt, allow yourself time to feel it and breathe through it, and try to think about it differently. Be aware of the guilt you feel and let it go.

If you do this, you will eventually overcome the pressure please others and neglect yourself in the process. This takes practice, and with time you will get better at treating yourself with as much goodness as you treat others. Remember, when you want to say no but instead say yes, you are actually saying no to yourself and your needs.

Know that you deserve to enjoy the holidays. You are taking care of yourself by limiting time around those who drain you. You will feel fulfilled if you love yourself first. People who don’t self-love by setting boundaries and letting go of guilt often become angry givers. So give yourself permission for self-care. It isn’t selfish. When your love tank is full you will actually be easier to be around.

You’ve worked hard, and the holidays should be a time of relaxation and connecting with loved ones. Planning ahead, setting expectations and letting go of guilt will change your experience of this holiday season. Wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday!


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