I have a confession to make….

I often overestimate my ability to handle things. Then, when I realize that I’ve taken on too much, I have a meltdown.

For example, this past weekend my significant other ran a 100 mile race in Illinois. We flew in on Friday, he started at 7am on Saturday morning. I spent most of the day Saturday tracking his progress, meeting him at a few chosen aid stations, and trying to prepare for meeting him at mile 76 and pacing him to the end. Sunday morning he finished the race and I promptly fell asleep and spent the rest of Sunday sleeping, and eating. Monday was a travel day. We headed back to the airport and made our way home.

Tuesday I was scheduled to work.

It was a classic case of me thinking I could handle the chaos and fatigue of the weekend and magically go back to my job as a nurse on Tuesday without any issue.

Wrong.

Not only was I stiff and sore from 24 miles, duh, I was grumpy from traveling. I mean really grumpy. Overtired two-year-old grumpy. I kinda had a meltdown because Whole Foods was out of rotisserie chickens. Yep.

I overestimated my ability and capacity and overcommitted myself. This resulted in me calling off my shift, and feeling really badly about it.

If I’d had a bit more self-awareness, and perhaps self-compassion, I would have anticipated the need for a day off when I got home. A quiet day to myself to rest and recover. Lesson learned, hopefully.

The Bar is Set Too High – Especially During the Holidays

The point being that we often hold the bar too high for ourselves, and these expectations get even higher during the holidays. We want to be perfect. We want our celebrations to be perfect. We somehow expect that we can do and have everything and the result is a whole lot of stress and disappointment, and perhaps even a meltdown or two.

So what do you do about these expectations? How do you manage them, especially during the holidays?

  1. Build in extra time. Give yourself time to breathe. Time to take a daily walk. More time at the gym or at yoga. More time to read, get a massage, or simply sit in front of the fire and watch the flames. You’re not going to find the time, there’s always something to do. So schedule the time into your calendar. I can’t stress this enough. Take time out for yourself and just breathe.
  2. Don’t set new goals. You have health goals that you’re working on. Great! Focus on sticking to those goals and don’t set any new ones during the holidays. Just stay consistent and be proud of the day-to-day decisions you make that support your health.
  3. Turn off the screens. Reduce your time on social media, watching the news, and watching television. In fact,did you know there are apps and tools you can use to track your screen time? If you have an iPhone then you already have this information. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208982. Use it to start cutting back on how much you’re on your phone each day (start with social media).
  4. Go to bed a few minutes earlier. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’s an essential part of overall health and sleep impacts your hunger and weight gain/loss. Even just 10-15 extra minutes can make a difference.
  5. Embrace gratitude. When many people create a gratitude habit they focus on the external. I’m grateful for my family, I’m grateful for this freaking amazing cup of coffee, I’m grateful for these jeans that make my butt look good. How about also looking inside yourself. I’m grateful for my kind nature. I’m grateful for my lungs that support me to breathe. I’m grateful for my desire to learn. You get the picture. Look internally for gratitude as well as externally.

The holidays, even when you’re excited for them, can be stressful and much of that stress comes from expecting too much from yourself, and from others. Step back, take a deep breath and enjoy quiet and simple things. Don’t push too hard and practice good self care.

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