Are you on overdrive this holiday season?

December 4, 2018
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
Lisa Newburger, LISW-S

Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" style of presentations and writing will make you smile or just shock you into taking some action. Either way, she is very effective at empowering others to reach their goals and feel better about themselves. Her entertaining workshops are available for national and international audiences. Writing for the dental industry since 2010, she uses an alterego (Diana Directive) to illustrate her points in a sarcastic but effective way. Presentations can be scheduled by contacting Lisa at www.discussdirectives.com/dental.html.

The holidays can be a stressful time at work and at home, but these pointers can help you to slow down and enjoy the season.

Is your dental practice ratcheting up before the holidays? Tell me about it! Everyone wants to get their cleanings done, and all of the college kids are home for the holiday season. Let’s not forget the out-of-towners who can’t seem to find a new dentist in the city they live in, so they want their appointments as well. And somehow, we must fit in all of them.

Then there are the holidays to consider. Regardless of which ones you celebrate, this is a time of food, food and, let’s be honest, more food. That equals a lot of cooking, cleaning and shopping. There are also all of the events you’ll be invited to over the course of the next month. How are you going to get everything done?

How many of you are feeling overwhelmed? Trying to keep up with the Joneses is absolute nonsense, but you keep trying to do so. It’s time to make a change. I’m giving you permission to simplify your holiday season and keep your sanity. You do this by saying, “No, sorry, I can’t make it.” It really is that easy!

More from the author: Should you go to work if you're sick?

Here are a couple of additional pointers:

  • Do NOT go to every event you’re invited to. Why run all over town if all you really want to do is stay home, make hot cocoa and watch a good movie on Netflix? Allow yourself to do whatever you want to do during this holiday season.

  • Go to Costco instead of cooking from scratch. It’s amazing to see how many nice affairs have food from Costco. It’s less expensive, but more importantly it saves you hours by getting you out of the kitchen. Think about all the hours that go into cooking food that gets consumed so rapidly it makes your head spin.

  • Start new traditions. Instead of going away on vacation for the holidays during the most expensive travel time of year, have a stay-at-home vacation. This is where you don’t do laundry, or clean, or run errands. Instead, you treat your home as a hotel and explore the community you live in. My guess is that you haven’t explored all the cool things there are to do near you. You could go to the theater, concerts, snow mobile, ski locally, ice skate, roller skate, host board game nights, visit friends you haven’t seen in while, have a family Zumba class at your gym, or have snow ball fights and just play in the snow.

  • Delegate responsibilities. So often, we feel that we must be super-mom, super-wife/partner and super-daughter. That sounds like a perfect way to be super-exhausted! It’s totally OK to take care of yourself. To do so and manage everything means delegation of responsibilities. If you’re hosting the holidays at your home, then make it potluck. Have your brother handle the desserts. Have someone else bring all the side dishes. You get the picture. The point is to make sure that you enjoy your holidays and not just play hostess the entire season.

  • Volunteer. If you want to know how to get your kids to understand about giving to those less fortunate, then have them volunteer to feed the homeless. This is a humbling and very meaningful experience. Volunteer to gift wrap for charity. Volunteer to shovel snow for your neighbors who can’t do it themselves or just surprise them. We’re Jewish, and on one night of Chanukah, my kids didn’t get gifts. Instead, we went out and they bought gifts to give to those in a battered women’s shelter. That was a very special holiday for all of us. My kids took to heart the act of giving versus receiving.

  • Go to church or synagogue or your mosque. Wherever you pray, go and remember that these are religious holidays. It’s about family and spending quality time together. (To clarify, your family is how you define family. It could be your family of choice, family of origin, or family of procreation.)

It’s hard to balance all the pressures that you have in your life. The reality is that you’re  the only one who can slow it down. Remember what really matters, and it will put everything else in perspective. This is behavior that’s important to model for your own children, too.

Remember that you matter. Your falling apart is not an option. Make sure that you take care of yourself first and foremost. Just like on a plane when they’re giving instructions to put the oxygen mask on first before helping your child, this is your oxygen mask. Taking care of yourself is the gift to give yourself this holiday season!

If you’re struggling with burnout and feeling overwhelmed this time of year, write and tell me about it at diana2@discussdirectives.com.