Are you feeling more than a little tired, darling? There is so much that demands our time in the normal course of life, but as we move from Thanksgiving, into December, and then towards a brand new year, the demands on our time expand. In part, it can be a push from the outside world to celebrate. Yet, if we are honest with ourselves the truth is there are just so many things we WANT to do.

Though I always caution about over-shopping, I am the first to admit it can be fun to choose a special gift for a loved one. And who wants to turn down an opportunity to gather with friends and family? Especially if you don’t see each other often during the year. And how can we forget Christmas Concerts, Gallery Openings, and tastings at that little chocolate shop?

There are just so many attractive options that we find ourselves saying “Yes, yes, YES!”…..even when our minds know we should be saying “No.” So, it becomes easy to overbook ourselves and discard our normal boundaries.

Now, if you’re coming into the season well rested, it’s possibly that you’re pretty stretchy, yet even the most flexible of us can suddenly realize we’ve become stretched beyond our breaking point when we commit to too much.

Though I am usually incredibly tight with my boundaries and committed to lots of quality sleep, it happens to me, too. Just last week, I’ve been to a lunch, two parties, a lecture, and published my book. And I found myself feeling bone weary when I rose Thursday morning. Being super tired usually means mind fog, too.

And, if you aren’t careful, this will lead to holiday burnout.

Telling myself that I’ll “catch up after Christmas” really doesn’t cut it. That’s because when being a little tired turns to exhaustion, it can take weeks (or even months) to repay your sleep debt.

So, how can we ensure that we better manage our minds and our energy levels when we feel ourselves stretched? What can we do to participate in all the delicious activities the season offers us without burning ourselves out?

Here are thirteen ways to avoid turning tired into exhausted:

      1. Go to bed when you are tired. You need at least seven hours of sleep a night. And no, that isn’t an average – sleeping in on the weekend doesn’t really catch you up.
      2. Rest more. I know it’s hard to go to bed early when there’s so much happening, but even if you aren’t crawling in bed early each night, at least rest in the evenings. Turn off the computer and read a book. Watch a relaxing or fun movie (try Hallmark Channel and ABC Family for lighthearted holiday movies). Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket. Take some time in the evenings to relax and rest your mind and body.
      3. Eat well. There are so many tempting treats out there, aren’t there? I made a very decadent pumpkin pie with pecan streusel on top and it was incredible, but also made with lots of cream and butter. Balance out the treats with lean meats, whole grains, and veggies. Make a big pot of soup and store servings in the freezer for busier nights. Your body needs quality fuel to keep going!
      4. Drink lots of water. I know that cocktail looks tempting…go ahead and enjoy it. Make sure you’re getting more water as it’s easy to dehydrate in the cooler months because we aren’t drinking water to cool off. Being dehydrated makes you feel tired.
      5. Get outside a little. If you’re neglecting your exercise routines, don’t forget your body needs to move. Bundle up and go for a walk. Or at least park at the back of the parking lot instead of by the door.
      6. Commit to unplugging for at least 12 hours on the weekend. Maybe you want to check email once on Saturday, but don’t stay glued to your computer. Skip social media and the news channels. Leave your phone at home when you go to Sunday Brunch. .
      7. Commit to having one evening a week without commitments. Is there anything nicer than relaxing in your own home? Especially if you’ve taken the time to decorate for the holidays, it seems to be a shame not to enjoy your tree, doesn’t it?
      8. Have quality alone time. Whether it’s enjoying your coffee in the mornings or wrapping presents, having some time alone will do great things for your mind.
      9. Be a good custodian to your body. We only have this one body for our time here on earth. Don’t neglect your necessary self-care, like caring for your skin.
      10. Don’t neglect your soul. This is a very introspective time of year for many of your, so block off some time for quiet thought. Maybe spend some time with a new devotional book. Write in your journal. Sit by the fire with your morning coffee and just dream about your desires. Even if it’s been ages since you’ve gone to church, maybe it’s time.
      11. Ask yourself: what one thing can I do each morning to feel nourished? Commit to doing it, even if it means you need to get up fifteen minutes earlier.
      12. Take a look at your non-negotiable standards. Cutting back on some household chores may be in order for the month, but cutting back on self-care can lead to feeling run down. Be realistic, firm, and loving with yourself when it comes to those minimum standards.
      13. Restructure your bedtime routine. In addition to trying to rest a bit before bed, ensure that you are setting yourself up for an easier morning by tending chores in the evening. Don’t forget a launch pad for each family member to make exiting the house easier.

I know that the holiday season only comes once a year and you deserve to enjoy every last drop.

Just ensure that you tend all your needs so that one tired morning doesn’t turn into exhaustion. Because it’s hard to live a life you love when you’re exhausted!

When you love your life, your life will love you right back.

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