How to Avoid Holiday Overwhelm - - Paul Carter's Blog

How to Avoid Holiday Overwhelm

This holiday season use the simple practice of “noticing” to avoid holiday overwhelm.

Hi there, Paul Carter here talking about holiday overwhelm.

Working on my holiday to-do list for this year. I’ve got a number of things here, one of which is this decoration that my sister made. It’s not Rudolph. There’s no red nose here. But it’s a favorite of mine because, especially this year, she passed away. So this will be the first year without her. And on my to-do list is to go out and get a fresh candle, put it in here, and put it on my table, and have a nice glowing candle here.

Another list item is my grandpa stocking. I have to figure out where I’m going to be hanging that this year. I have a number of options, and I have to figure that out.

So I notice that as I’m working on my list it’s really easy to feel rushed, or anxious, and even overwhelmed. So I’d like to talk about that for a little bit and to offer a few suggestions about a practice that we could probably all use to help us reduce holiday overwhelm – the feeling of being rushed, and anxious, and overwhelmed at the holiday season.

Feeling rushed

So when I feel rushed, I often think of some tip that I got from Dale Carnagie. He said, “Look, if you’re feeling rushed, think of yourself like on a ship.” On a ship they have what they call bulkheads that are water tight. So that if part of the ship gets flooded, you’re safe in this part. And in case that part gets flooded, you’re safe here. So he suggested we think in terms of day-tight compartments. That is seal yourself off from the past and regret, and seal yourself off from the future and worry about what’s to come. And just stay there in your compartment enjoying where you are right now.

Feeling anxious

And then in the event of anxiety, that starts coming along when we start thinking about the next task ahead. Perhaps there is anxiety coming out of various parts of our body. Think about where that’s coming from. Go down inside your body. Is it coming from your belly, or is it coming from your chest area? Or is it coming from your head – messages for example that say “You know, you really need to get this done more quickly.” So dropping down inside and being just aware of that feeling of anxiety and trying to figure out where that’s coming from – just that practice alone is enough to reduce the anxiety and help you get more into the holiday spirit.

Feeling overwhelmed

And then there’s the old feeling of overwhelm. Looking at the whole list, “Oh my gosh!” Well, a practice again, is to just notice that feeling of overwhelm. Don’t let it take over, but notice it. Take control. See what that’s about. Where is it coming from? Is it coming from your gut? Coming from your heart area? Coming from your head? One of the best practices I find to deal with holiday overwhelm is to remember that everything gets done in baby steps. You can’t eat the whole elephant at once. You can just take one bite at at time. So think of what you are doing now as a baby step, focus on that, and then the next thing will take care of itself.

These are simple practices. No big deal to deal with the feelings of holiday overwhelm – feeling rushed, and anxious, and overwhelmed during the holiday season is only a matter of the practice of paying attention to that feeling, figuring out where it’s coming from in your body, and then just enjoying the moment.

Avoid holiday overwhelm

And I hope that you’re going to have a happy holiday season. I certainly plan to. And to keep these feelings of holiday overwhelm under control.

Paul Carter here. Thank you for paying attention. Happy holiday.

Now it’s your turn.

I’d love to hear what you have to say about holiday overwhelm and how you deal with that. What works for you? How do you plan to be this holiday season?

Paul Carter

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Gena - last year

Yes, Indeed one moment at a time shrinks the anxiety, worry and overwhelm
to a manageably slight inconvenience. Awareness is a powerful strategy to help
you take back your intention to live in the present moment.
Being aware takes vigilant practice.
Paul’s suggestions lend a helping hand to enjoying the holidays and life in general.
Warm cheers!

Paul Carter - last year

Very True, Gena. Thanks for your confirmation. I know you have a lot of experience with awareness.


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