As we stumble onto the rollercoaster that is the December gift-giving season, just a friendly PSA to all my fellow Head of Domestic Affairs, Master Multi-Taskers, and Superhero Parents:
Just because we can do it all, doesn’t mean we have to (or should.) Hallmark-inspired, consumer-driven fantasies around the “perfect” holiday experience, deep-rooted--often patriarchal–-”traditional” gender roles, and perhaps some unconscious desires to either replicate or make up for some lost childhood magic all contribute to the extreme PRESSURE of this time of year. Add flu season, shorter days, year-end work demands, financial stressors, and complex family dynamics to the mix, and we have a perfect cocktail for emotional burnout and all the somatic symptoms (achiness, fatigue, sleep disturbance, frequent illness) that accompany it.
So, my advice to not only survive but maybe even enjoy this time of year is simply this: do less and rest more. Delegate wherever possible to lighten the mental load, cut corners, opt out, and give permission to prioritize your own mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional needs first. This may be easier said than done, but it will all somehow, miraculously get done. Maybe not perfectly, but certainly “good enough” and most definitely yours. Besides, our kiddos benefit way more from balanced, present caregivers than frazzled, ragey balls of stress. So, do whatever you need to do to achieve some semblance of that, and do it guilt-free. Your mental health is worth it.
Post by Sharon Itkoff Nacache ATR-BC LCAT LPAT PMH-C
Original photograph by Annie Spratt