The holidays are supposed to be the happiest days of the year. But for women? Not so much.
Studies show that women are more stressed during the holiday season than at any other time of year. Not surprising, considering we are expected to handle the workload (gift buying, wrapping, baking, entertaining), the emotional load (holding space for other people’s sh*t, playing mediator to angry family members), and the “invisible” stuff like making a budget, organizing schedules, coordinating family travel, etc.
We are conditioned to believe that we are supposed to do all of these things — that holiday joy and cheer entirely rests on our shoulders. Meanwhile, our family is over here sipping milk and munching cookies while we’re running ourselves into the ground trying to create some idyllic, Hallmark-movie version of the holiday season.
Today, I’m proposing something different.
What if you didn’t take on the entire mental and physical load of the holiday?
What if you didn’t wrap your identity around creating the perfect holiday… for everybody else?
What if you did the holiday YOUR way?
Years ago, my holidays were a not-so-festive pile of stress. I got swept into society’s version of “perfect holiday mom” — baking cookies from scratch (even though I hated baking), attending every holiday party (even though I wanted to curl up with a good book), and tirelessly setting up the perfect holiday craft table for my kids (even though I don’t like crafts, and neither did my kids.)
I spent the holiday season feeling anxious, depleted, and powerless.
Every night, I went to bed, wishing for the season to just be over already.
A lot has changed since then.
I went from a woman who felt like she just had to “get through the season” because that’s what everyone expected of me to a woman who opted out of holiday nonsense and canceled it altogether.
This year, I spent Thanksgiving – alone – in stunning, coastal Maine. My dream was to go on wind-kissed runs, pretend to solve murders in Bar Harbor, and snag the last piece of blueberry pie at a local diner.
And I made it happen. Okay, I didn’t really solve murders, but you get the idea.
Sitting in my charming Airbnb, eating a Thanksgiving plate that the hosts lovingly prepared for me, I felt grateful and EMPOWERED. I took matters into my own hands and created what I craved – a holiday full of meaning instead of stress.
I don’t want to wish time away. I’m here to LIVE. I want to travel, savor, make memories, and experience tons of pleasure & joy. And I’m doing life my way—with no apologies or regrets.
I’m here for finishing the year strong, not depleted. You with me?
Then we’ve got to end the drama of the holidays.
We’ve got to get clear on what we do and don’t want to experience.
We’ve got to stop worrying about what other people will think. They can have their thoughts. We can have our happiness.
Untangling the invisible workload is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday.
End the emotional burden.
It’s not ours to carry.