How to Stop Feeling Drained at Christmas

Feeling drained is definitely a feeling I think a lot of women are accustomed to.

If you’re a mum and feeling drained, you could also read my post Drained Mummy? Rediscover the Joy in Your Life.

Why?  Because some of us have been raised to be expert people pleasers.

World Class People Pleasers

Being a people pleaser means that you find yourself running around like a maniac giving energy to anyone and everything to ensure that quite frankly, nobody thinks your selfish or uncaring.  They need to know you care!  This must be achieved by doing more stuff.

Energy can be in the form of time, effort, emotions, support, assistance or another thing on the to do list.

I’m exhausted just writing this, as I know only too well how it feels to be in the people pleasing zone.

Worst still, if you are really honest with yourself is anyone actually ASKING you to do all this stuff? Or are you OFFERING it?!

Honestly being a people pleaser is exhausting, and when you take a step back and look at it, it makes little to no sense when it comes to moving your life towards a happier future.

I am Enough

The problem is that whilst growing up someone forgot to equip us with the phrase “I am enough”

So rather than being satisfied as a human being, we transform in to a human doing. 

We feel like we HAVE to do certain things for certain people, in order to not let people down. Or sometimes because someone else is having a hard time, we take it on as our responsibility to help them out. 

This is a lovely quality to have, but if you are already busy with kids, holding down a job, running a house etc, then very quickly you will get drained.

I am in a permanent fight with myself to not take on too much. I’m the ultimate people pleaser!  It’s a work in progress.

Just the other day a friend of mine was struggling with someone and I found myself offering to do all kinds of stuff that I knew I just didn’t have time for.  But I really just wanted her to feel better.  Happier. 

However when the price is your own health, sanity or energy, it really is doing everyone around you a total disservice.

You have to learn to sometimes let go… you can’t be everything to everyone all the live long day. Read my post on Mummy Burnout here and what happened when I learned to just LET GO.

So how to stop feeling drained?

So what do you do if you are feeling so drained and overwhelmed, you don’t know where to start.

The answer is simple.  If you are feeling drained you need to fill yourself back up.  However this may not be easy, because it involves breaking a lot of well established habits that keep us running on empty al the time. Notice I said the answer was simple, not easy!

Step 1: Just Stop

The worst thing you can do when you feel drained is to just keep going.

It doesn’t fix anything, make you feel better or achieve anything other than the results you are already getting (which you don’t like)

So just stop.

It’s time to think of ways to change what you are doing, to produce a different result.

Step 2: Understand the Essence of the Problem

Firstly you need to figure out exactly what is making you feel drained.

Here’s an example.  Your friend is moaning about how hard her life is again and how she wants to give the kids the best Christmas ever, but she has no time to take them to see Santa or head to Smyths 20 miles away who have the only last remaining *insert chosen toy* left on the planet.

Figure out is it the moaning that is draining you?  Is it that you feel like you need to offer to get in your car, drive to Smyths and fight it out for the last remaining toy that every kid on earth wants this year?  Or is it that you feel the need to find some other way to ‘fix’ the problem, because you can’t do it all for her, but feel the urge to find solutions?

These are all different drains on your energy, and require different solutions.

Either way when you take a step back, perhaps your friend is just venting! Perhaps she just needs to feel like someone cares.  She doesn’t want you to fix it, or offer to babysit.  She just wants a moan. 

If you reframe it that way, you might feel better.

However if the moaning is relentless, it just might be as simple as you need a bit of distance.  Because some people are total energy hoovers. Negative, down, depressed, poor me, moaning.  It’s enough to make anyone tired.

Perhaps she’s actually EXPECTING you to offer to drive to Smyths and you feel that pressure on you. Maybe she has even asked you, and you don’t want to do it, but have said yes as you don’t know how to say no!

So you have to learn to figure out the EXACT things about people, situations, places and events that are draining you.

Awareness is the first step to change.  You need to understand the problem.

Step 3: Eliminate the Stressor by Discovering Alternatives

Now you know what the problem is, you can work to try to eliminate it. 

Your family have assumed you will cook Christmas dinner, like you have done for the last 3 years. However this year, the guest list has now grown to 20 and you HATE cooking Christmas dinner. In fact there’s nothing that stresses you more than cooking PLUS you have to pay for it all!

Not ideal.

It’s time to take charge by figuring out your options.

People often think there are only 2 options…. Do or do not. However there’s nearly always at least 3, if not many more. You just have to work it from every angle.

Using this example, your options could be:

  • Say you don’t want to host.
  • Host some of them
  • Agree to host if someone else cooks
  • Agree to host and cook, if someone else pays
  • Agree to host if everyone chips in with money and cooking
  • Agree to host but do a buffet or something easier to cook
  • Agree to do it this year, if someone else will do it next year
  • Book in to a local restaurant and have drinks at yours after

Some people, like myself, tend to make a lot of decisions based on how the decision will make others feel. This often means that you tend to sacrifice yourself and end up feeling drained.

Instead of assuming people will be upset or angry, take the time to really explain why you are overwhelmed at the thought of hosting 20 people at your house on Christmas day and reach out to your guests for help and solutions. Most people are willing to offer help when asked. It’s just most of the time, people assume other people are fine to handle something unless they say so!

Essentially you need to use all of your creative resources to find a way to beat the stressor and eliminate it from your mind. If you put your energy in to solutions, not problems, the outcome will be much better.

Step 4: Is Routine THE Thing that is Stressing You?

Someitmes it’s your routine itself that is the stressor.  The boredom.  The monotony.  The sameness.

Maybe you’re not enjoying Christmas because it just feels like one big to do list on top of your normal to do list.

Variety in life is essential to feeling happy and fulfilled. If you aren’t challenging yourself at all, or switching things up occasionally, then routine and familiarity can become the ultimate thing that drains you.

So if you are feeling drained a really good way to jolt you out of this helpless, de-energised state is to do something you wouldn’t usually do.

Take a day off and just do something unusual. Visit a Christmas market.

Clear out the attic.

Email an old friend to wish them a happy Christmas.

Go to a restaurant for lunch on your own and savour every mouthful.

Decorate your tree differently.

Just do something to bring your senses back to life and remember why life is worth living for sheer enjoyment sometimes.  Not for everyone else.

Step 5: Detox

I don’t mean go on a diet.

I mean declutter. Your mind, your environment, your wardrobe, your inbox, your decorations box, your house, your kids play room! Even your friends!

If something is toxic, remove it from your mental or physical space temporarily (or permanently if you’re feeling bold!)

Why? There’s something about the act of detoxing that helps you gain clarity.

You clear out the bad energy and somehow it makes room for newer, fresher, brighter and more positive things to show up in your life.

It gives you clarity and a sense of control again.

So if a certain place, person or situation is giving you that drained feeling, figure out how to let it go…. for a little while, or for good.

Step 6: Nourish Your Body

Christmas we know, is going to bring plenty of indulgence, but rather than ‘giving up’ at the start of December, knowing that you will succumb to mulled wine and mince pies, you can still have the nice things, but add in lots of fruit, veggies, water, beans, pulses, good proteins and fats, and you’ll be feeling the difference!

Will power is seriously tested in December so you might as well plan to have some treats in now and ENJOY THEM. Read my blog on How it’s Scientifically Proven that Will Power RUNS OUT

You know what to do. Listen to your body.

Don’t forget plenty sleep, movement, massage or fresh air and daylight to enliven the 5 senses. 

Look after the vehicle that carries your soul so you can enjoy the festivities to their fullest. Not simply deaden them with too much booze and sugar.

Step 7: Nourish Your Soul

I hear the phrase ‘self-care’ banded about everywhere these days…. So much so I think people have forgotten what it means.

Self care is NOT posting your Christmas activities on social media every day…. it’s about savouring them for yourself.

It is not pushing yourself so hard at the gym you want to puke, just so that you can eat whatever you want for the 2 weeks the kids are off school. Instead it might be enjoying that mulled wine whilst watching a movie with the kids.

It is not eating for 10 days to lose 10lb so you will look good at your Christmas party and then stuff yourself silly until new year. It’s about balance.

It is not about more presents. It’s about more PRESENCE.

It’s not about wearing sparkles. It’s about finding the inner spark.

Self care is all internal. It’s about connecting with yourself.  It’s only FOR YOU.  It’s all about nourishing the soul, for the purposes of nourishing the soul. And only YOU know what you soul needs and when it needs it.

Could be a day of solitude or a day of belly laughing with your best friend. Could be outdoors in nature, or sat by a roaring fire. Your soul knows, and is always trying to tell you.

It requires practice. It requires re-tuning in to your deepest instincts. But it’s there, and once to tune in, it can not be drained or taken away. It’s a comforting place you can go to when you need to re-energise every single time.

So make this Christmas not about something that needs to be ‘done’ or ‘perfect’. Make the goal to recharge your soul through the people you spend time with. Not the things you do.

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