5 Ways to Manage Christmas Overwhelm.

Well, as you know,  it’s that time of year again.  End of Year Overwhelm – Christmas Overwhelm – it’s real and here are my 5 ways to Handle Christmas Overwhelm.  You know that time of year when we break out the Christmas lights, the tree and trimmings and the good china for when family comes to visit.

Overwhelm and stress can look different for everyone.  We each have different levels of resilience and resistance to stress.  Different events and experiences can overload us, overwork and overwhelm us.

So, I’m giving you 5 ways to manage the stress and chaos at Christmas, and none of them involve disappearing for the season.

This is the time of year when stores push and push for you to spend money.  So many bargains. Every time you turn on the TV, the radio or open your emails, you are inundated with more great ideas for Christmas gifts.   There are constant phone calls and emails about who is bringing what (and you are all vying to outdo each other’s potato bake, Christmas pudding or pavlova)

This is when you go into a huge panic to make it a memorable day – for everyone.  At what cost, I wonder?

Christmas Overwhelm is a real thing.

There are functions to attend, friends to catch up with, work events and parties not to mention all the family and school commitments.  Amongst all of this, you have to find time to prepare for the big day.

We are bombarded by all that we have to do.  Life is fast-paced and hectic – and it seems to be getting faster. It is overwhelming and we often wonder how we will cope.   There is a never-ending to-do list.

Then you check Facebook or Insta and see what everyone else is doing and you can feel inadequate. – You haven’t had time to get the Christmas nails or hair coloured.  You are wearing the same outfit that you wore last year (and I won’t mention the year before)

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel a bit overburdened by it all.  I would love to just forget Christmas and treat it like any other day. However, it’s not about your stress and mental health struggles, it’s the season for giving and receiving.  Don’t forget the receiving part.

So back to spending countless hours, yes lots and lots of hours stressing over the little things.

  • Did you remember fruitcake?
  • Will the kids like their presents?
  • I did remember to post Christmas Cards, didn’t I?
  • Did I buy everyone on the list a gift?
  • Do we have enough wine?  – Please let there be enough wine.
  • When will I have time to clean before they arrive?
  • Will they remember that this is the same outfit I wore last year?

There is so much expectation at this time of year, that in all truthfulness, it’s the worst time of year.  I know, I know – you didn’t want to say that out loud. You love Christmas. Yet just because you love something, doesn’t mean it is not overwhelming.  You can love it and still find it stressful, yet what can you do about it?


The stress and overwhelm may be created by the gap between what you expect to happen and what actually happens on the day. So relax – if you can.

According to World Health Organisation statistics, we are “85% more likely to suffer a heart attack on Christmas Eve, than any other day of the year! “

At first, when I read this, it sounded a little exaggerated. Then I got to thinking about how overscheduled I was feeling, and it was easier to see why people may be overwhelmed.

I realised I needed to slow down and apply the strategies that I use to stay in control of the chaos my life can turn into.   I want to enjoy Christmas. After all, it is the season of good cheer and goodwill.  We want to be merry and enjoy the day.

Recently one million Australians took an online heart age test and it was discovered that 8 in 10 were at high risk of a heart attack.  You can read about that here.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything at Christmas. You eat more, do less, spend time with some people who make your blood pressure rise and you have so much more to do.

Then, even when the Christmas overwhelm disappears, you can’t relax as you have to get back into the swing of things for work. You are thinking about getting the kids back to school, not to mention worrying about how you are going to pay off the credit card debt you just incurred to make sure Christmas was a blast.

Getting overwhelmed at Christmas time is a waste of valuable energy and emotions.   Relax.  You can read my tips on How to Not Feel Overwhelmed in this post right here.

Here is a quick funny Christmas story.

Just the other day, I was out shopping. Ironically for a secret Santa gift. Talk about stressful. Anyway, I was watching a couple looking at a product. She was asking if he thought “they’ would like it. He was disinterested. She was annoyed with his lack of input.   I overheard, “we have to get something, and it has to be good”.

No wonder we experience Christmas Overwhelm when we set these expectations on ourselves. Will they like the gift, will it be good enough. The reality is – most likely no one really likes the gifts we give them. We probably don’t spend as much as we need to – to get the gift they really want, or we spend too much on gifts they don’t want.

Expectations kill the joy of Christmas and create Christmas Overwhelm.

So here is are 5 Ways to Manage  Christmas Overwhelm:

  1. Don’t do Christmas. – OK – that probably sounds a little drastic. I watched Christmas with the Krank’s the other night and got the idea from there. However, if you can’t not do Christmas, maybe it’s a good year to start opting out of the hype of Christmas.   Just have a family gathering, where you can appreciate family.
  2. If you must do Christmas – simplify it.   Set boundaries.   Limit the numbers who come. Limit the cost and spending on gifts. Go out for Christmas lunch rather than having it at your place. Say “no”. (I appreciate how difficult this can be for us people-pleasers, however, it is something good to help out with overwhelm in all areas of your life).
  3. –   Do you have to do everything? Can you delegate or even better discard? Seriously – would it matter if you didn’t do the Christmas Light drive? Will anyone miss Great Grandmas pudding if you don’t get time to make it? Think about the things you really enjoy at Christmas time and do those.
  4. Ditch Perfection.   – As long as the plates are clean – and the food fresh, do you have to go all-in with decorations and the like? Paper plates are just as good. If the custard’s gluggy that’s OK – it will make Christmas memorable.    Don’t put pressure on yourself to have the house spotless, do advent calendars, Santa photos and reindeer snacks.
  5. Plan – to make it as easy as you can, for yourself and those closest to you. Make the most of the day. Don’t stress and go with the flow.   Take time to spend with those you have not seen in a while.

Remember, it’s just one day, once a year. If you have a bad moment or rough day, it doesn’t mean the whole of Christmas is ruined.

Reflect on all that you have. Think about how lucky you are. Take the time to be grateful for the big things and the little things. Consider what it is that you wish to celebrate or achieve for the day and focus on that.

Plan to put your feet up when it is all over. Breathe and relax. Then, get a head start on next year.

If you would like to find out more ways to Enjoy an Easier Life, reduce stress, eliminate overwhelm and calm chaos to control your life why not sign up for the download to receive the 7 Steps to Enjoy an Easier Life now.   Click here to get the pdf and bonus training and discover how to find more time for yourself.

Enjoy A Merry Christmas and get ready to enjoy an easier life when you overcome the overwhelm, calm chaos and reduce stress.

Christmas Overwhelm Doing Life Differently