We all feel it – the crush that happens towards the end of the year as work schedules become more packed with “get it in before 24 December” projects, yearly exams, social events for grown ups and kids, school events, work events… all at a time when we are finding ourselves weary from the year. For some they may not have had a meaningful break since the previous summer. Add in the anticipation of family get togethers and holidays which require planning as well as our emotional reserves to cope with family and perhaps situations that we may not normally interact with. For some, there are additional emotional burdens at this time such as loss and grief which complicate this picture further. For the most part we deal with all of this additional stress with the end goal in mind: that much longed for break from routine and time to spend with our nearest and dearest. The problem is, if we run ourselves ragged on adrenaline for a couple of months, we generally are not in a position to enjoy and take full advantage of what can be a relaxing and fun time of year. I wanted to share with you my top tips to manage this. But I also want to encourage you to think of your own – what has worked for you – and then make a plan to put them into action.
Top tips for families:
- Create a planner to take you to the end of the year – include all events that take up your time… its best to know what’s coming to be able to plan effectively.
- Carve out down time before the family schedule gets full (it may have already so it will be even more important to find those valuable blocks on the weekend for down-time to recuperate. Block out the odd weekend or just weekend day to allow for regular family and quiet time.
- Say no to some events – don’t be driven by the have to’s – consider the want to’s! There are some things that really are unavoidable, but are you trouping the family along to that party because you feel duty – bound or because you genuinely want to? Have you encouraged your young person to consider when might be some helpful down time?
- Don’t sacrifice sleep! Back to back sleep deprivation can have significant impacts on your body’s immune system, ability to regulate your emotions, remain focused as well as your ability to apply reasoning to situations … Say hello to over-reactions, overly negative interpretations and other (not!) fun consequences.
The key take away is this: Don’t push forward on adrenaline with the promise of downtime at the end of the year only to crash at the finish line! Plan sensibly to maintain some time to engage in normal rest and recuperation and hopefully find that a far less overwhelmed headspace awaits you at the end of the year.