As the holiday season looms large, the year draws to a close. This also signals the beginning of a psychological phenomenon for most people: End-of-year burnout. This pervasive “yearly” issue is often overlooked, resulting in profound implications on a person’s mental health and his/her ability to participate in the festivities and celebrations.
What Is End-of-year Burnout?
End-of-year burnout involves a cumulative state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that manifests as the final days of the year. It presents unique physical and mental health challenges attributed to:
- Pressure of work deadlines
- Holiday preparations, particularly holiday planning and financial stress
- The stress of family expectations
- Events and reflections on the passing year
- Mental health issues like depression, eating disorders, etc.
What Are The Signs Of End-of-year Burnout?
The signs of end-of-year burnout commonly include:
- Irritability and lack of focus
- A noticeable decline in work performance
- Persistent fatigue
- Social withdrawal
- A pervasive sense of dread or anxiety about the upcoming festivities
- Financial stress
- Disrupted sleep and eating patterns
- Acute pain like headaches, muscle tension, etc.
- Fraught relationships with loved ones caused by constant arguments, failure to honor commitments, etc.
How End-of-year Burnout Impacts Your Mental Health During The Holidays
End-of-season burnout can significantly make the holiday season challenging for those who experience it. The pressure to meet social expectations, participate in festive activities, and maintain a cheerful demeanor can exacerbate feelings of exhaustion and isolation. This contrast between societal expectations and one’s internal state can contribute to a sense of inadequacy, further impacting mental health.
Moreover, end-of-season burnout at the culmination of the year often prompts individuals to reflect on their achievements and failures. This adds an extra layer of emotional weight to an already stressful period. The societal emphasis on joy and celebration during this time may inadvertently marginalize those who are grappling with burnout, as they may feel compelled to conceal their struggles to conform to the holiday spirit.
Addressing End-of-year Burnout
Recognizing and addressing end-of-year burnout is important for maintaining sound mental health and well-being. Affected individuals can follow certain strategies to combat the distress that accompanies them at the end of the year:
1. Self-Reflection And Awareness
To address end-of-year burnout, the first step is to take a moment and think about our feelings. Self-awareness will help us understand when we need to take a break or slow down due to mental health reasons.
2. Setting Realistic Expectations
During the festive season, it is necessary for us to set realistic expectations for ourselves. This may involve reevaluating commitments, learning to say “no”, and acknowledging that nobody is perfect. Creating boundaries and being honest with friends and family about our limits can help control anticipations and reduce disappointing feelings.
3. Prioritizing Self-Care
To reduce end-of-year burnout, people should take practice in self-care activities such as getting enough rest, regular exercise, or engaging in mindfulness/relaxation techniques. Amidst the holiday chaos, taking care of oneself is not selfish but rather an essential step towards attaining peace of mind.
4. Seeking Support
Talking about burnout feelings with friends, family or mental health experts could help provide invaluable support as well as a positive perspective on the same. Asking for assistance demonstrates bravery while having a support system can be beneficial during these tough times.
5. Time Management And Planning
Reducing overwhelming feelings triggered by end-of-year burnout requires breaking down tasks into smaller steps thus making them manageable and creating a realistic schedule. Seasoned pacing ahead of holiday periods helps in avoiding the accumulation of stressors hence leading to more enjoyable festivities.
6. Mindfulness And Stress Reduction Techniques
Managing stress levels would be much easier if mindfulness practices are included in our daily routine, like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. These techniques are calming, besides fitting well into busy everyday routines and providing a calmness amidst the bittersweet chaos that ensues during holidays.
As a year ends, many people tend to experience end-of-year burnout or exhaustion. This period can be navigated well if individuals can identify the signs of burnout, appreciate its adverse effect on mental health during the festive season, and put into place ways of dealing with it to reduce its impact. As we approach end-of-year celebrations, let us promote self-care alongside caring for others, being conscious of our feelings, and developing empathy towards ourselves and to others to guarantee satisfying holidays.