Happy holi…wait, where’s that OTHER box of decorations? And the invitations – did we get those mailed? And the family photo card with the ugly Christmas sweaters? What about the RSVPs to the five parties we got invited to? Oh, and we got all the low-carb snacks for Uncle Bill, right? Cool. Can you call the contractor and confirm the remodel will be done in time for your parents to stay in the garage, sorry, I mean the new guest room? What do you MEAN the credit card is maxed out??
And so it goes. The holidays bring with them so many opportunities. Opportunities to reflect, to connect, and to enjoy each other in the spirit of peacefulness and rest. Ironically, they also bring with them so many expectations. No matter what your personal beliefs and traditions are at this time of year, the one thing that seems to be universally experienced is social burnout.
There’s no getting around the fact that there are just a lot more responsibilities to handle this time of year, and often a lot of guilt around attending or not attending holiday events, finding the right gifts, and hosting the perfect gathering.
A recent CNBC article notes that another factor contributing to this increased stress is the unpredictability the holidays often bring. Emily Ballesteros, a burnout management coach in Chicago, adds “People are out of their normal routines because they’re visiting family, or there are more social demands, which means less time to recharge,” she explains. “It’s easy to slip into feelings of overwhelm.”
Below are three suggestions Ballesteros offers to help manage this burnout. We offer our own spin on them to make these great ideas even more powerful.
Know your non-negotiables
These are “the routines or activities that keep you sane…” such as an exercise routine, taking time to read, a spiritual practice, or journaling. Maintaining these throughout the season can give you back a little bit of that sense of control that gets lost to all the holiday expectations.

Communicate Plans – clearly and often
In the article, this applies to work schedules, but it can also benefit your personal peace of mind. Let the appropriate people know what your plans are for travel, gatherings, gift-giving, and downtime. Communicating clearly helps manage expectations and keeps stress levels at a minimum.

Add a self-care ritual to your routine
Finding a daily ritual that helps you de-stress can help you stave off burnout.
While you’re doing all these things for yourself, it’s essential to remember that you’re not the only one experiencing the stress of social burnout. As you’re searching for ways to maintain your own energy and sanity, look around; notice how social burnout may also be affecting your spouse, your kids, or your friends, and colleagues. Instead of seeing them as the cause of your burnout, try to empathize with them, and imagine how the expectations of the holidays may take their toll on them, too. You may even try sharing these tips with them and working together to help each other through this Season of Social Burnout.
Safe Conversations is all about relating to and connecting with others. Take good care of yourself so that you can take good care of your relationships!

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