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Are You Overwhelmed by the Holidays?

December 21, 2022

I don’t know about you, but I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with the holidays. On the one hand, I love the change of seasons, the decorations, the lights, the delicious food, and getting together with family and friends.

But on the other hand, I find that the holidays “sneak” up on me, and even when I think I got a head start, I am suddenly behind and panicked to get it all done. 

We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, and yet this year I was not ready for either one. 

Last Sunday, we were in the grocery store when I realized it was the first night of Hanukkah and found myself scrambling to find a box of Hanukkah candles, which is harder than you think on Maui. Luckily, we nabbed the last box at the store. I felt like I won the lottery until I got home only to discover that we had a box left over from last year.

Then there was the issue of wanting to make potato latkes (pancakes) for the first night of Hanukkah, but none of the FIVE grocery stores I went to had them in the freezer section. And admittedly, I am simply too lazy to make them from scratch. So, I decided to make “smashed potato” pancakes. A recipe I had seen all over social media.

Unfortunately, my “smashed” potatoes didn’t come out anything like a “pancake.” Basically, they fell apart and it was like eating a plate of breakfast potatoes. We topped them with sour cream and apple sauce, as we would a traditional potato pancake, and it turned out they were kind of delicious. 

Since we are still in the middle of Hanukkah week, and because we had this crazy winter storm, complete with a leaky skylight in the living room, I still haven’t put up the Christmas tree. And now, I feel the clock is ticking like a time bomb with just 72 hours to go. 

I have not wrapped a single gift, and my office looks like an Amazon warehouse with packages piled up everywhere. Oh, and I still have more gifts to buy for everyone coming over on Christmas Eve. 

Did I mention that I have not gone grocery shopping for the dinner that I will be hosting? Or that I am behind at work?

Yesterday, I spent about two hours in the yard raking leaves, picking up a million broken branches, and hunting for patio cushions that had all blown away from the crazy winter storm we had. Somehow doing yard work sounded better than trying to brave the stores on Christmas week.

Overwhelm is common during the holiday season.

Whether it is from a long To-Do list or sometimes just navigating through your feelings about what the holidays can trigger?

So, how do we tackle the overwhelm before it turns into complete paralysis? (Believe me, I thought about just going back to bed.) But after I am done with this newsletter, I have a plan of attack for the next 72 hours before I host Christmas Eve for my family. 

1) Turn on music that gets me in the holiday spirit. For me, that is Nat King Cole. 

2) Drink Water. Always drink water. 

3) Eat a healthy snack or meal BEFORE I tackle shopping, wrapping, cleaning, etc. 

4) Make time to exercise. Even just a walk around the block. 

5) Prioritize my To Do list. What can I accomplish today? Tomorrow? What can I let go of? And what can I delegate? 

As my good friend reminded me today:

Keep it simple. Practice self-compassion. 

If you are a recovering perfectionist like me, you know it’s hard to let go of perfection. But the holiday season is a good reminder that it’s okay to ask for help, take a few shortcuts, and let go of the perfect potato pancake. 

Happy Holidays!!!

Love, Jackie

P.S. If overwhelm is something you are struggling with in everyday life, I can help you. You can schedule a time to just chat right here. You have nothing to lose except the overwhelm. 

P.P.S.  Check out today’s episode of “The OverThinker’s Guide To Joy.” I have a great interview with comedy writer Liz Astrof on her hilarious memoir. This book was on my 10 favorite things list. You can listen to the episode here

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