How To Overcome Holiday Overwhelm

If you’re like us, you have the motivation to get a head start on things, but there’s just not enough time in our day to get it done. Either someone in the family gets sick, there’s an unexpected expense or two, work gets crazy prior to year end, or you’re simply overwhelmed and can’t find the energy.  Does this sound familiar to you?

We’ve always found a bit of planning and accountability helps with the holiday overwhelm. 

Here are a couple ideas to get started:

Create a spreadsheet of everything you need/want to accomplish. Consider this a brain dump. 

You aren’t striving for perfection here. Simply get the list done. You will definitely be coming back to it over the course of the next several weeks to add/delete items.

Once you’ve completed the first round, categorize each line item under an actionable heading - examples may include: 

  • Gifts to get/order and for who
  • Household tasks to complete (both before Christmas and on the big day)
  • Assign each task to a family member
  • Christmas Day (or holiday equivalent) food to prepare (make sure to include timelines for any food that needs to be prepared ahead of time)

Once your tasks are categorized, assign each one a deadline

  • Put the deadlines in your digital calendar with reminders set - we’ve found having one week prior, 3 days prior, and one day prior reminders to be very helpful
  • Ensure that family members with deadlines also have reminders set in their calendars - reiterate that their help will ease some of the burden off your shoulders and is very much appreciated.

If you’re more tactile/visual, print out your spreadsheet and put it somewhere prominent so you have to look at it regularly.

Set yourself a goal to complete one task every ____ days. Maybe on your way home from work, before anyone else in the house gets up in the morning, after the kids go to bed (if applicable), during your lunch break…
Make it easy and as brief as possible so you’re motivated to tick that item off your list.

As tasks start getting completed, delete or strike-through them on your spreadsheet (like this). This adds a sense of completion and forward movement to the entire exercise.

If you’re struggling, ask a friend for help!

  • Ask a friend to be your accountability partner. Set some time aside for both of you to tackle items on your lists together. Go for coffee once you’re done. Make it a fun day/morning/afternoon!

Remember that this is supposed to be a joyous and celebratory time of year. Do whatever you need to do to wake up feeling energized, motivated, and excited for the upcoming festivities. If you start to feel overwhelmed again, either take a day off from your list, or pick the easiest item on your list to complete. 

Melanie & Heather

The Functional Spaces Team