“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”—Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and Philosopher

Don't let your holidays become a holidaze blur.
Don’t let your holidays become a holidaze blur.Getty

During this month, multicultural celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa incorporate timeless rituals passed down for generations. The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. And December marks Bodhi Day for Buddhists–the day the Buddha (which means Awakened One) sat under a tree until he rose enlightened.

Holidays are supposed to be fun and for many people sacred. But they often turn into hectic instead of joyous times, mimicking the hustle work culture that you might be immersed in from day to day. Being “always on” increases your stress and compromises your productivity and mental and physical well-being. The toll is cumulative and far reaching and often leads to burnout. During the holiday season, the hustle culture feeds the fire of burnout, heightening the flames of overdoing unless you intentionally practice mindful productivity.

Between shopping for gifts, attending parties and planning family activities, chances are you have little time to relax and enjoy this special time. How often do you miss the joy because of the stress you create for yourself? By rethinking what the holidays mean to you and taking a few minutes each day to pamper yourself, the stress of the holidays can melt away. Here are some tips on how to put the true meaning of the season back into this time of year.

Don’t let the seduction of the holiday season cause you to relinquish your personal power. Avoid the hustle, materialism and commercialization, instead of letting it sweep you off your feet or contaminate the true meaning and enjoyment you get this time of year. Celebrate the season in a way that’s meaningful to you. Have the kind of holiday you want, not the kind merchandisers want you to have. Take the emphasis off grand gestures and indulge yourself in simple acts of pleasure. You don’t have to get caught up in the “There’s only X shopping days ‘til Christmas” syndrome. Retain the real meaning the beliefs have for you and your loved ones, and celebrate the season in your own way.

One of the biggest myths about the holidays is that we have to do things the way we’ve always done them—to excess and in a hurry. This requirement sometimes throws you into a frenzied whirlwind that includes shopping, baking and planning parties—all on top of an already packed everyday schedule. Break or downsize old habits. Tradition is part of the holiday season. But just because you’ve always done things a certain way doesn’t mean you can’t adapt it to your needs.

If you’ve been shopping all day in the crush of crowds, the last thing you want at the end of the day is more noise and chaos. Be an angel to yourself. When loved ones have gone to bed, indulge in a moment alone in front of the holiday decorations. Reflect on what the season means to you. Create a cozy, private spot especially for the holidays where you can relax undisturbed and reflect on the season. Meditate on soothing holiday music, burn scented candles or browse through greeting cards and photos of holidays past.

Know where to draw the line. If you’re rushing to buy more gifts, cook more food or get to yet another party, make a conscious effort to slow down. Give yourself “holiday cushions” (extra time) between activities to get to your destination so you’re not constantly rushing, and you can enjoy the festivities without being “holidazed.” When you’re already maxed out, don’t make yourself feel like you must go to every party or buy everyone a gift. Remind yourself that the holiday season doesn’t get to choose how you will celebrate; it’s up to you and your loved ones to choose how you want it to be.

Monster.com just released their latest data in regard to holiday parties. It looks like fewer workers have an interest in them. Here is a sneak peak at some of their findings: 

  • The majority (62.5%) of respondents do not look forward to attending their company’s holiday party.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 respondents (40.2%) have no interest in attending their company’s holiday party at all.
  • One quarter (22.3%) of respondents simply prefer not to socialize with their co-workers at all.
  • When it comes to alcohol consumption at your holiday party, most take a “less is more” approach.
  • Half of respondents (53.9%) feel it’s appropriate to consume 1-2 drinks at a company party or event, while 28.6% believe it’s never appropriate to drink at a work event.

Put yourself at the top of your holiday gift list and come up for air. Take time out from all the activities. Immerse yourself in a good book, hot bath or craft. Don’t forfeit your self-care routines. You need them now more than ever. Say no to requests that go against the grain of enjoying your time off. Keep your exercise regimen or yoga class going throughout the season. Short walks or micro-meditations for three to five minutes can help you unwind and clear your head. By taking a few moments to relax each day, the stress of the busy schedule won’t seem so overwhelming, tasks will be more manageable and you and your loved ones can avoid the holidaze and enjoy the true meaning of the holidays.


  • Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Journalist, psychotherapist, and Author of 40 books.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D.

    Bryan Robinson, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, psychotherapist in private practice, and award-winning author of two novels and 40 nonfiction books that have been translated into 15 languages. His latest books are CHAINED TO THE DESK IN A HYBRID WORLD: A GUIDE TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE (New York University Press, 2023)#CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE (William Morrow, 2019), DAILY WRITING RESILIENCE: 365 MEDITATIONS & INSPIRATIONS FOR WRITERS (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. He has appeared on 20/20, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, ABC's World News Tonight, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News and he hosted the PBS documentary "Overdoing It: How To Slow Down And Take Care Of Yourself." website: https://bryanrobinsonphd.com.