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Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

December 16, 20233 min read

Are the holidays leaving you more stressed than joyful? 

Let's talk about those things you may be doing with the intent of creating a wonderful Christmas experience . . . but it's leaving you feeling more overwhelmed and resenting it.

Take Elf on the Shelf – a popular Christmas tradition where parents place a small elf doll around the house doing mischievous things each night in December. We had young kids when this trend became big and I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me?”

Between work and home, I could barely keep up with what I needed to do each day, let alone having to be creative and setting something up every night, and running the risk that we would forget. Even today, when I live a much saner and enjoyable pace, there's no way I would take it on.

Now, if you get joy from this or whatever wonderful experience you have planned and it makes you happy, that's awesome. Keep doing it and keep enjoying it! 

I'm talking about when you're doing the things that you don't really want to do or you’re already overloaded and feeling stressed out. When what you really need is to do less, not more. 

You say yes because you think you should do it (that’s what good parents do), feel guilty if you don’t, or you want to give your kids or others the best experience and not disappoint them. But you also end up resenting it or disappointing yourself . . . and not feel the joy.

Here’s the thing: when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. There is always a trade-off. This could be a good night's sleep, being present with people, an hour of downtime in the evening to recharge or what you really want to do instead. 

In the big picture, what matters more is to enjoy your holiday experience with others. To be present, not perfect. 

This week, I've heard many people say that the holidays are stressing them out. If this is you, I encourage you to pause and reflect on how you want to feel and show up, and what really matters.

It’s okay to say no to something if it is not giving you joy or means you’d be taking on too much. Being present with your loved ones is far more valuable than doing a tradition (or whatever it is that’s stressing you out).

And if you're already committed to something, then keep it simple or take something else off your plate or find the joy in what you are doing. A mindset shift such as "I get to" or “I choose to” instead of “I have to” can go a long way.

Give yourself permission for more joy and less stress. Whatever that looks like for you.

What is one thing you can do to experience more joy and less stress this holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

I asked the kids a few years later if Elf on the Shelf is something they wished we would've done, and my youngest Emmett responded, "Nah, the elf seems kind of creepy." 🤣

Stacey L. Olson

What Next?

You can sign up for Stacey's masterclass, The Confident "No" here.

Stacey Olson

Stacey L. Olson is a Leadership and Certified Positive Psychology Coach, has 15 years of corporate experience and has gone through her own transformational change from burning out to balanced in life while performing at a high level (both in her corporate career and own business). She works with professionals who want to work less, live more and be their best even with all the demands, high expectations and messiness of everyday life. Stacey is the founder of The Balanced Leader™ program and offers executive and leadership coaching, workshops, and speaking. 

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Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

December 16, 20233 min read

Are the holidays leaving you more stressed than joyful? 

Let's talk about those things you may be doing with the intent of creating a wonderful Christmas experience . . . but it's leaving you feeling more overwhelmed and resenting it.

Take Elf on the Shelf – a popular Christmas tradition where parents place a small elf doll around the house doing mischievous things each night in December. We had young kids when this trend became big and I remember thinking, “Are you kidding me?”

Between work and home, I could barely keep up with what I needed to do each day, let alone having to be creative and setting something up every night, and running the risk that we would forget. Even today, when I live a much saner and enjoyable pace, there's no way I would take it on.

Now, if you get joy from this or whatever wonderful experience you have planned and it makes you happy, that's awesome. Keep doing it and keep enjoying it! 

I'm talking about when you're doing the things that you don't really want to do or you’re already overloaded and feeling stressed out. When what you really need is to do less, not more. 

You say yes because you think you should do it (that’s what good parents do), feel guilty if you don’t, or you want to give your kids or others the best experience and not disappoint them. But you also end up resenting it or disappointing yourself . . . and not feel the joy.

Here’s the thing: when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. There is always a trade-off. This could be a good night's sleep, being present with people, an hour of downtime in the evening to recharge or what you really want to do instead. 

In the big picture, what matters more is to enjoy your holiday experience with others. To be present, not perfect. 

This week, I've heard many people say that the holidays are stressing them out. If this is you, I encourage you to pause and reflect on how you want to feel and show up, and what really matters.

It’s okay to say no to something if it is not giving you joy or means you’d be taking on too much. Being present with your loved ones is far more valuable than doing a tradition (or whatever it is that’s stressing you out).

And if you're already committed to something, then keep it simple or take something else off your plate or find the joy in what you are doing. A mindset shift such as "I get to" or “I choose to” instead of “I have to” can go a long way.

Give yourself permission for more joy and less stress. Whatever that looks like for you.

What is one thing you can do to experience more joy and less stress this holiday season? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

Are The Holidays Leaving You More Stressed Than Joyful?

I asked the kids a few years later if Elf on the Shelf is something they wished we would've done, and my youngest Emmett responded, "Nah, the elf seems kind of creepy." 🤣

Stacey L. Olson

What Next?

You can sign up for Stacey's masterclass, The Confident "No" here.

Stacey Olson

Stacey L. Olson is a Leadership and Certified Positive Psychology Coach, has 15 years of corporate experience and has gone through her own transformational change from burning out to balanced in life while performing at a high level (both in her corporate career and own business). She works with professionals who want to work less, live more and be their best even with all the demands, high expectations and messiness of everyday life. Stacey is the founder of The Balanced Leader™ program and offers executive and leadership coaching, workshops, and speaking. 

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