4 tips for eliminating holiday guilt, according to a therapist

I have a trip coming up, and the holiday guilt hits. My sister is getting married, and in my family’s tried-and-true fashion, it’s a do-it-yourself affair. She’s making her own layered cake, we’re in charge of the decor (rustic, mountainous chic is the aesthetic of choice), and one of my fellow bridesmaids even herself sew a dress for her (!!).

Needless to say, while I am grateful to connect with my family and I will take the opportunity to leave the screen with open arms, I am not anticipating my most *relaxing* vacation to date. And while I don’t plan on napping by the pool (although the bachelorette will have to spend a couple of hours stand-up paddleboarding in the sun), it’s not. available that was the cause of my holiday guilt.

While it’s not a universal, standardized phrase, it seems like we’ve all felt guilty about the holiday in the past. In our hyper-connected, always-on world, expectations are met and produced every time. And coming as a shock to absolutely no one, our inability (physically, mentally, emotionally) to disconnect from our work comes with a host of effects. harmful.

Rumors of an impending ‘Great Burnout’ are circulating throughout the media, and in a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, about 3 out of 5 employees surveyed said that know they have experienced the negative effects of work-related stress. Reduced motivation, decreased passion and excitement, and decreased energy levels.

So a sin-free vacation? We are clearly in need.

Featured image of Kate Holstein.

Image of Kristen Kilpatrick

With slightly selfish motives, I reached out to NYC therapist, Kathryn Lee, for helpful tips anyone can use to banish holiday guilt once and for all. forever. An important reminder to warm us up? According to Lee, setting healthy and firm boundaries is important for experiencing rest. Come to holiday good things without sin.

How can we approach sin in a compassionate and helpful way?

Any degree or form of guilt can be challenging to experience. As Lee said, it was a strong emotion. If you’ve ever experienced guilt (of course, we all do), you’re familiar with its huge dominating weight. And while it can be easy to ignore, ignore, or push away, Lee encourages just the opposite.

“Acknowledging and naming sin is the first step to overcoming it. Once you’ve done that, explore and process the emotion underneath the guilt. Reflect and ask yourself:

  • Worried about the consequences you might face?
  • Do you feel responsible for something?
  • Do you feel that this makes you lazy, bad, or disorganized?

It is important to remember that these feelings of guilt, although they may appear as deep-rooted truths, “are triggered by a message or even repeated messages that we we have received at certain points in our lives, careers, or relationships,” notes Lee. Kiss your inner critic goodbye (actually, gently but firmly remove them from your mental space) and replace that story with curiosity, kindness, and compassion. hidden.

Pictures of Michelle Nash

What steps can we take first to help our future selves unplug as much as possible?

This is where boundaries come into play. Remembering holiday guilt is a great way to practice setting tight boundaries with your tasks, inbox, and co-workers. To make sure these boundaries are respected, Lee stresses that it’s important to communicate them to your colleagues and managers in advance.

“Let your team know if you plan to sign out of work email, mute work-related chats, and/or have limited Wi-Fi,” suggests Lee. Express your needs to your team: Is there a project you can use to support when you’re out and about? An account a coworker might need to take over temporarily? “Equip them and provide them with resources in the event of an emergency.”

But remember: Often, what seems like an “emergency” isn’t life or death. Trust that problems can be resolved when you are gone or after you return. “Once you’ve established your boundaries,” says Lee, “it’s up to you to maintain the boundaries you’ve made.”

Photos of Alex Spigle

How can we set boundaries with people who don’t respect themselves?

Dealing with a coworker who keeps on contacting you even though you auto-respond to OOO emails? Many of us have been there and might be tempted to go back and help. But Lee shares an important difference in taking a positive approach: “Although we cannot control the behavior and actions of our colleagues, we can control our own. “

Now is the time to double down and show those boundaries kindly, but surely. And if guilt comes up, Lee reminds us that these boundaries aren’t just for you — you also set them to support your team.

“Boundaries are spaces where we can respect and care for ourselves and each other.”

“Give back to your colleagues when you can and can afford it,” says Lee. “Let’s start by confirming their concerns first. Then, make a plan for how and when you can deal with the problem again. “

Pictures of Michelle Nash

Even with unlimited PTO policies, holiday guilt still occurs. What mindset changes can help release guilt?

There are too many constraints in the concept of holiday guilt. Lee cites the pressure to strive, the belief that it’s easier to do things on our own, and the unhealthy narrative that we have to “work 24/7 to earn our worth, promotion or favor of a manager.”

“To take a break means to rest in that story. Often, we need to work internally to feel more secure when we take time off.”

A therapist-approved mindset shift to help beat holiday guilt

Lee shares the following mindset changes that can help you succeed on vacation and beyond.

  • Good work is not rewarded with rest. Rest before good work. Rest is effective. We cannot create good work if we are exhausted.
  • Release control. There are things you cannot control especially when you are working with a team. Give and trust that you and them have the capacity to deal with situations that may arise.
  • You cannot please everyone. You can like as much as you like, it’s impossible. Prioritize you and your needs.
  • Perfection is not possible. Things may not be tied up for your departure, but remember: that’s okay.
Pictures of Michelle Nash

If a holiday isn’t on the card, how can we relieve stress while continuing to work?

Desperate to get a break but can’t get it to work? The good news is that there are small and simple ways to lift some weight off your shoulders. With any amount of time available to you, even if it’s just five minutes, Lee suggests creating your own space to let your worries go. “When we are stressed, it can be difficult for us to make decisions, slowing our progress.” Going for a walk, listening to music, incorporating a few mindfulness practices into your schedule, or even separating yourself from work can help you reset.

And don’t forget to get closer to your weekends as they are intended to be spent! Lee encourages investing “in activities that you love and that give you life. Think of one thing you can do for your body, one thing you can do for your mind, and one thing you can do for your soul.”

A stress reliever is waiting for you.

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