From Joyful Anticipation to Overwhelm: Navigating the Shift in Holiday Experiences
For some children, the holidays held a magical allure, filled with boundless excitement and joyful anticipation. The air was adorned with festive decorations, every moment held the promise of delightful surprises, the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafted through the house, and the festive tunes of seasonal songs echoed merrily. The holiday season was a time of enchantment, where each day brought new wonders and cherished traditions.
Unraveling the Holidays: A Candid Look at Overwhelming Expectations
As the years pass and we transition into adulthood, the once pure excitement of the holidays may take a different turn. What was once a season of joy becomes a season of overwhelm. The long to-do lists create the need for a delicate balancing act of numerous tasks, and navigating through a labyrinth of societal and personal expectations. The initial thrill of anticipation now evolves into an anticipation of more and more chores, adding layers of responsibility to an already busy schedule. The holiday checklist seems endless—gift planning and purchasing, card writing, house cleaning, decorating, preparing special meals, arranging thoughtful gifts for teachers, coordinating the kids' holiday specials, choosing festive attire, engaging in baking sessions, and accommodating unexpected needs - last minute black shoes for the concert, anyone? Moreover, with the winter season come the additional challenges of illnesses, further intensifying the sense of pressure during what many hope to be a joyful time.
The Invisible Burden: Women, Men, and the Unspoken Holiday Pressure
The lion’s share of the work falls squarely on the shoulders of women, a phenomenon that has persisted through generations. Though for men who take it on, we aren’t forgetting you! - keep reading! Despite societal progress and changing dynamics within households, women frequently find themselves at the epicenter of holiday preparations and orchestrations. The immense pressure to create the perfect festive atmosphere, plan elaborate meals, select thoughtful gifts, and ensure every detail aligns with the idealized holiday image often rests disproportionately on women. It's a significant, albeit unspoken, societal expectation that women bear the brunt of the holiday workload, contributing to the stress and overwhelm that can accompany this time of year.
Whether it’s hanging the lights, or the gifts for Hanukkah, or special food that “makes the holiday” for your family it weighs on the already full plate you had.
HELP! For the Holidays: A Guide to Relieve Overwhelm and Embrace Joy
For the men who pick up the workload that historically has fallen on women, the overwhelm is no less. The same strategies that help reduce overwhelm help men and women equally. If you find yourself feeling this way, you are not alone. I came to the idea of HELP! For the Holidays because there was a time in my life that I NEEDED help for the holiday! I was utterly overwhelmed with a chronically ill spouse, two young children, and everything fell on me. I know what it’s like.
I know my experience was extraordinary, and to many not relatable. Yet, when I speak with others, holiday overwhelm seems to be a universal feeling. It doesn’t matter what your holiday is, the pressure to do ALL THE THINGS is real. Plastering on a smile for the person next to you in line at the grocery store is forced….and the mumble of “happy holidays” to the checker feels obligatory.
Does it have to feel this way? No.
Help for Holiday Overwhelm
Because of that experience, I learned things I’m sharing with you in this free, straight from the school of hard knocks, so you can skip the overwhelm. If you are ready for a relaxed, enjoyable holiday season, download our guide, HELP! For the Holidays, packed with tips to dial in to the things that matter to you. Here’s a peek at the table of contents:
1. Acknowledging the Pressure
2. Family Meeting
3. Jot It Down
4. Embrace the Imperfect
5. All the Things
6. Still Overwhelmed?
7. Calm for the Holidays
May you rediscover the surprise and delight of the season you may have had when you were a child, and if it was not yours then, know you can create it to be exactly what you want now.