surviving holiday exhaustion

Surviving Holiday Exhaustion

It’s December 3 and we’re officially in full-tilt holiday exhaustion mode. How are you holding up?

Are you feeling worn down? Overwhelmed? Wondering how you’re going to cram everything into your schedule between now and the end of the year? Is the dreaded holiday exhaustion taking away all the joy?

Me too, sister.

To the tune of only about 4 hours of sleep last night because of all the things running through my head. My body is tired today, my eyes are scratchy, my sinuses are full. But my brain is on fire and my heart is overflowing. Today is going to be a great day.

This, my friend, is the crux of a good life: the decision to make it great.

I could list all the craziness and drama in my life right now. How’s this list?

  • An emotionally wobbly Thanksgiving week
  • The uncertainty of my one of my main revenue streams
  • Crash and burn on original Christmas plans, cancelled flights included
  • Frustration with physical weakness
  • Insecurity of my own ability…
  • Buying a Christmas llama

Yeah, I think all women can all identify with most of these things.

(Well, maybe not the llama. But it has legwarmers. Surely you understand now? See?)

But making life great doesn’t mean filling it up with stuff or suddenly getting 8 hours of sleep at night. No, it’s about keeping healthy boundaries and deciding to focus on the positive. To take the wins, no matter how small others may think they might be. Even in middle of holiday exhaustion. No, especially in the middle of holiday exhaustion.

Here are a few truths to remember: Emotions do get wobbly from time to time. Financial pressure is real. Self-doubt is normal. We all go through seasons in life. And it’s uncomfortable to push up against these pokey things. 

I don’t know about you, but my natural response is to procrastinate. To deny reality. To avoid confronting. Especially if it means confronting myself. Or sometimes it’s the exact opposite response: cramming my schedule so full I don’t have time to do the work. (Who hasn’t mopped the house when a writing deadline is due? Yeah? I thought so.) I’ve found this behavior only results in more stress and less sleep. Are you with me? 

When I don’t know 100% what to do, I let the 10% of “I don’t know-ness” stop me dead in my tracks.

But I don’t call it that. I call the pause research. Or wisdom. Or getting more education. Or some other ridiculous excuse that my mind fully justifies.

Until I read a book over a while back that kicked my butt in the best way possible. The War of Art. I’ve had it for two years, and while I knew it was supposed to be good, the title turned me off. I’m not into war or fighting, so a book that uses this as a metaphor was unattractive to me. But in the craziness of the week and my need for a physical book to hang onto and read, I grabbed it off my shelf.

I was wrong about my aversion on so many levels. This book is like my best friend telling me to get up and do my favorite thing. Now.


Check out this list that defines the mindset of a professional artist:

In this specific season of life, a few of these stand out more than others.

Namely, Number 3: Stay on the job all day. While I sit at my desk all day as I’m supposed to, I haven’t been as focused and productive as I want to be. This week I’m focusing on well … focus. Pushing hard on one thing so I can finish, pack it away, and be fully present for the next. (But yes, balancing that with realistic expectations as well. That’s something that’s not on the War of Art list but is on the Amy list.)

I’m not advocating more work hours. I’m talking about being present. To be focused on whatever you’re doing at the moment. Be fully invested, whether it be making your morning coffee, strategizing 2022, or on an afternoon Zoom call. Walking the dog or wrapping Christmas presents. Lean in. Enjoy. Soak up the moment. In whatever you choose to spend your time on.

It happened today, thanks to some great music, an uber early 4:50a start, and afternoon instead of morning phone calls. It feels like soaring. (Maybe that’s the sleep deprivation?)

But here’s what I know: Learning ourselves and our own rhythms helps us set ourselves up for success. Being honest about our stumbles allows us to work through to a solution. (Sometimes that’s assigning the task to someone else or just letting go. You’ll get no judgment from me!)

What’s your nemesis? What are you working on right now to stay balanced? How’s the Holiday Exhaustion level at your house? Shoot me a note and let me know how it’s going for you. We’re in this together!

Surviving Holiday Exhaustion
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