Six Tips for Avoiding Holiday Overwhelm

04F2036C-DFBD-46A8-8C0D-A000F20DABA2.jpegDo you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. My cycle goes something like this:
1. Feel anxiety about an event or circumstance.
2. Distract myself while the situation worsens with doomsday podcasts.
3. Allow situations to spiral towards collapse, a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Now maybe you’re not crazy enough to run yourself out of gas on the side of the highway or stay up til three in the morning researching demonology. But perhaps you too, get burdened down with events and circumstances that can tend to spiral out of your control. After years of living in a boom/bust cycle of procrastination and anxiety, I’ve found a few tricks to pull me out of the mire, and they really work. 🙂 Some are the advice of friends or tips I’ve picked up in researching the nature of the beast.

  1. Tidy up. Anything you can tidy. Just clean for five minutes. Get rid of trash, hang up clothes, vacuum your car. Do basic maintenance. Nothing will make you crazier than a schizophrenic environment. When you’re dealing with difficult circumstances, events, special projects- the last thing you need to be doing is navigating a war zone everyday!
  2. Go to sleep. It may seem counter intuitive to sleep when you have a long to-do list or a thousand things to worry about, but sleep will give you a fresh perspective. I’ve gone to bed countless nights feeling depressed about the world at large, to wake up feeling like Mary Poppins in the morning. Do yourself a favor and let your body do half the work for you- you’ll be sharper, happier, and more energized for the tasks at hand.
  3. Exercise. Ugh. I know. I recently was feeling down, and couldn’t figure out why. I realized I hadn’t worked out all week! It’s hard to fit into a busy schedule, but exercising will do so much to boost your confidence- your focus- your centeredness. Anxiety is often just excessive energy- when you work out, you have less anxiety, because you’ve drained the culprit. Having less anxiety helps you break the cycle and become more productive.
  4. Give in. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” For example, if you feel anxiety about meeting new people, play out in your mind the worst possible scenario. Even if you really did turn out to be a dumb ugly monster with turrets, leaving everyone shocked and appalled, you could still always move away afterwards. This calms anxiety by accepting the worst possible outcome, making your inevitably boring but nonetheless anxiety producing get together a success by any measure.
  5. Do one thing. If you, like me, tend to procrastinate when you get overwhelmed, try doing just one thing. Just go visit Auntie Laverne, plan that Thanksgiving menu, buy those Walgreens Christmas cards. You don’t have to deep clean your whole house or save the white race- just do one thing. When you do one thing, your motivation will increase and you’ll feel inspired to do something more. When you give a Mouse a Cookie…
  6. Unplug. Sometimes you just have to leave your phone at home (unless you’re a stay at home mom). The phone is the mother of procrastination. She enables you to ignore the horrifying monster of anxiety before you. Just one more tweet. One more video. One more podcast on European Identity. Meanwhile, the world is always and rapidly deteriorating around us. There’s a reason the Bible teaches us about the flood. The flood is always upon us. We have to always be preparing for everything to fall apart. And the phone helps us ignore the call of Noah, to repent and build the ark. Go build your ark. Don’t be afraid of some old fashioned radio music or even *gasps* a CD. Anything to move you away from your attachment to the phone.

*I don’t have any children, but if I did, I’d add keeping the children on a schedule. When you give kids your undivided attention during parts of the day, and keep them on a routine, they’re sure to be half as much work. Children act out a lot when they can tell adults are under stress and that’s the last thing a momma wants.
Have a blessed holiday season and may the peace of God be with you, instead of panic and holidays from hell, my friends! 🙂

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