End-of-year overwhelm is a thing: here's how to deal with it

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock 

End-of-year overwhelm is a thing. I know because I have it. Do you?

It's when you look in the diary and all you see is Christmas concerts, school functions, catch-ups with friends, family commitments, work events and parties. You don't know how you're going to fit it all in and you haven't even accounted for actual school, work and family life.

And then, to top it all off, there's Christmas shopping and endless communication with your loved ones about who is bringing what to Xmas lunch.

It's enough to make your blood pressure and anxiety rise. Sleep becomes tricky because you're constantly going over what needs to be done. And if you're anything like me you are constantly writing to do lists that just keep getting longer.

No wonder we're overwhelmed

Key Mindfulness counsellor, coach and hypnotherapist Eugenie Pepper said it's little wonder parents feel overwhelmed.

"We are living in a hectic fast-paced world and are constantly bombarded with things we have to do, places we need to be, feeling overburdened with our never-ending to-do lists," Ms Pepper said.

"This time of year it becomes, even more, overwhelming with kids, concerts, preparing for Christmas, shopping, school holidays, Christmas parties and end-of-year celebrations.

"Balancing family and work commitments can cause stress and anxiety."

She recommends parents follow a few key strategies to help manage this busy time of year.

"Meditation and mindfulness can help us to help manage stress and anxiety and help us find calm in our hectic lives," she said.

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"Also when things are not going as we wish and we're feeling overwhelmed one of the most effective ways to change our mood and release stress is to focus on gratitude and the little things that bring us pleasure and joy."

Eating well and getting out into the fresh air will also help.

"Exercise will clear your mind, release endorphins, and help you sleep better," she said.

"As a busy parent it can be hard to find energy and time. If you can, walk your kids to school or when they are having a swimming class, do some laps too. If you find the time, it will be well worth the effort.

"Eating a healthy diet will also make you feel better, both physically and mentally. And go easy on the alcohol."

Start delegating

Life coach and founder of Rumble Rise Thrive Marija Castellari said often at this time of year parents try to do too much at once.

"Trying to do too many things at once is mentally draining," Ms Castellari.

"Turn off your phone and email notifications, and focus on one task at a time."

It's also okay not to have the "perfect" Christmas.

"Give yourself permission for it to be good enough," she said.

"Whether it's a Christmas present or outfit, set yourself a time-limit on how much time you want to spend looking for these things, and stick to it."

It also helps to write lists.

"Write it all down," Ms Castellari said.

"You can reduce your overwhelm in your head by putting everything you have to do down on paper."

And stop trying to do everything – ask for help from others in your family.

"Start delegating," she said.

"You could delegate writing some Christmas cards to your kids, buying Christmas presents for the in-laws to your partner, and asking your sibling to bring a plate to share for Christmas lunch.

"People love to help out. Start thinking about what you could delegate or outsource."

You don't have to do it all on your own – reach out for help if you need it.