Holiday burn-out sabotage
Fall is here and Halloween is a couple weeks away and guess what? According to all those cute Facebook posts countdowns we have 72 sleeps till Christmas. What? 72 sleeps till Christmas? How is that possible? It was just July a couple weeks ago from what I remember. I even made a super cute and festive Charcuterie board to celebrate. UGH!
But here we are, the fact is that Halloween is coming and if you have not ordered your kid's costumes (oh, you know...the ones they wanted so badly but will change their minds about the day off causing chaos in your home), grabbed some candy bags to build your trick-or-treating stash and decorated your front porch with huge blown-up characters then according to all the parenting influencers...you have failed already! Ring the alarm! We are sinking in holiday burn-out already and it is only mid-October and we still have many days to come full of holiday catastrophe. Truth is this could all be evaded but here we are year after year creating unwanted and needless stress because we think this is what our children need, what our families need, what we need.... Big lie!
I am here to remind you that attending 10 different Pumpkin patches, 5 Haunted mazes, 3 trunk or treats and endless Halloween potluck events is NOT needed. And saying no to some or all of them in order to bring yourself peace and less stress is completely allowed and should be a priority.
But what about my kids? I need to do this for the kids! Everyone takes their kids to all festivities!
Wrong! Your kids need you and you need the reminder that "Comparison is the thief of joy". Comparing yourself to all the people posting Facebook photos of their time at the pumpkin patches is on you. You do not have to compare yourself and your lifestyle to anyone else's. You can keep it simple without the overload of holiday stress. I am not saying to give up on holidays however I am saying to slow down and understand that you do NOT have to do it all in order to be happy. You can choose the activities that best fit your needs, you can choose to decorate less than last year or RSVP No to the next potluck. That is ok!
But how do you make these changes? Something that has worked for our family is to prioritize events according to the things we would like to do the most. We know that as a family we love trick or treating on Halloween day so that is the one event we don’t change. Currently we have 3 Harvest festivals happening all within the same week; we are choosing one to attend. We take into consideration the distance, prices, activities, crowd and things like such. If you are solo-parenting you know crowds might not be your thing more so when you tackle a festival alone with the kids. So maybe for you, that would be a no. Haunted houses, spooky mazes…is this a must-do? Taking on a project for trunk or treat for your spouses work while taking care of 3 kids and working from home….is this do-able? Prioritizing and knowing that not everything will be part of your to-do list will help you enjoy the season instead of feeling completely overwhelmed and despising the years to come.
As a Military spouse, I get it... this is how I was even more so when my Submariner was deployed because I felt as if my kids were missing out on having him home so I had to do all the things to make up for it but I was wrong.
Understanding my capabilities and knowing when rest was needed made a huge impact on my well-being during deployments more so during the holiday season.
I learned that it was ok to take steps back and allow myself and my children to rest because yes, our children need rest just as much. My stress level decreased immensely just by putting less on my plate during this time of the year and the change is something I truly do not regret. I had committed holiday burn-out sabotage and it was something I now love. It has changed the game fully and completely made us enjoy the little things even more and prioritize our family time.
Don’t be afraid to try it, don’t be stuck on saying yes, all the time, understand that you come first because you simply need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Take on the sabotage.