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Health & Wellbeing

Holiday Burnout: Why It Happens and How to Avoid It

Having trouble remembering what day it is? You may have holiday burnout.

Four squares with a battery image in them and the battery gets lower through the squares. The last square is being picked up by a person's hand.
Credit: Shutterstock/3rdtimeluckystudio

We all know of job burnout, which happens when you feel overworked or overstimulated at your job. However, there’s another kind of burnout that happens around the end of the year: holiday burnout.

We’ve all experienced the craziness that comes with the end of the year. We see family we may not have seen in years. We drop a lot of money on Christmas gifts. Depending on our job (ahem, retail workers), we may be overstimulated there as well.

An Endless Loop

Some may also feel burnt out if they get stuck in a loop of nothingness. A loop of nothingness (a term coined by me) is when you come to a full stop in life and have more time on your hands than you know what to do with.

To some, this may seem great because you’ve got time to do all the things you wanted to during the semester. However, this loop of nothingness can cause feelings of procrastination and laziness that will be difficult to get out of when responsibilities start rolling in (hence the “loop”).

I feel this way when the semester is over, and I’ve made an imaginary list of all the non-productive things I want to do before next semester – watch a whole lot of TV (like, an unhealthy amount), read everything on my TBR list (unrealistic), and generally live a couch potato lifestyle.

However, when I start doing these and truly live up to couch potato standards, I begin to feel regularly down and out. I would stay inside more, so my anxiety would rise when small outings like shopping might come up. My introverted side would overpower the extroverted one and I end up feeling safer wrapped in a blanket watching housewives with my mom at home.

Most of these are okay things to experience. But when you start feeling a sense of dread every time you leave the house, that’s when you should be a little worried. This dread and overall laziness will lead to a lack of motivation when that second semester rolls around.

So, what can we do to combat that? Well, here are a few things you (and most definitely me) can do to help.

Breathe

This one is the easiest to do because you can do it right now. Breathwork helps in so many different circumstances and is what many people use to calm down or center themselves.

Wherever you are, sit or stand straight – meaning shoulders back, chin up. Then, you’re going to take a deep breath in, hold it, and a deep breath out. I usually do this for five seconds – four seconds in, hold on five, four seconds out.

Doing this three times is a great way to ground myself during stressful situations. Breathwork can help you release yourself from that loop of nothingness.

@gabbybernsteinofficial

This is how you avoid holiday burnout 👆If you needed this, leave a 😍below

♬ original sound – Gabby Bernstein – Gabby Bernstein

Around the 45-second mark of this TikTok, Gabby Bernstein explains how she uses breathwork and mantras to combat burnout.

Build a Ritual

Crawling out of that loop of nothingness will take some effort, and a daily ritual is one of the easiest ways to do it.

Pull up your notes app or grab a pen and paper and write down what a full day looks like for you right now. Document everything from the moment you wake up to the second you get to bed. Yes, you’re going to write down every lazy couch potato thing you’ve been doing the past few weeks (no judgment here).

After you’ve done that, you’re going to want to start a new list. This one is going to be everything you wish you were doing. It doesn’t need to be crazy; make it reasonable. Sure, we all wish we were working out with The Rock every morning, but going to the gym sounds more practical.

Next, you’re going to compare the two. Look at what you’ve been doing (or not doing) and see how it looks next to what you wish you were doing. By doing this, you are able to set realistic, achievable goals.

Open another note because now you’re going to make a final list. This will be your ritual. It will be a combination of lists one and two, taking the best parts from both and mashing them together. The goal here is to create something that you can follow until school starts up again (or continue doing during the semester). You want this list to be something reasonable, motivational, and fun. It sounds like a hard task, but you’ve got two other lists to guide you through it.

Communicate

The holidays are about family and friends. The people close to you will have no idea of your loop of nothingness if you don’t tell them about it. It’s important to have someone to talk to about these things, especially if they’re keeping you down. Sometimes, that may be all you needed, and you didn’t know it because you never tried.

However, sometimes it may be your family or friends that are making you feel a certain way. This happens to everyone, and it is a normal part of life to be angry or argue with the people close to you. This is where a journal comes in.

I used to think a journal was something you had to write in every day and keep up with religiously. But it doesn’t have to be. You can write in your journal as little or as much as you want. It’s yours.

So, next time you get into an argument with someone close, and you feel like you have no one to talk to about it, write it down.

Use these tactics to enjoy the rest of your holiday before the stress of school returns.

Written By

Hey, I'm Madi, an aspiring editor in my second year of Journalism at Mohawk College. Other than hanging out with family and friends, I spend my time snuggled under a warm blanket, wearing the fluffiest socks I own, knocking books off my TBR list.

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