How To Break Out Of “Holiday Brain”
With "the big show" of the holidays less than 10 days away and the end of 2020 only a mere 15 days away, this week in particular is hard.
If you celebrate Christmas, this is the week where you tie up all your loose ends into a pretty little bow and get everything in order. There's the last-minute gifts to find, packages to attempt to track down, various plans to finalize and just the glowing promise of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Finally, you'll get some time off work, finally this dumpster fire of a year will be over and all that stands in your way is a little over a week of responsibilities and stress.
The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute breaks down why the holidays are such a stressful time in a really easy to digest way with their newsletter "Holiday Stress and the Brain."
Ellen Braaten, PhD, has many credentials in the world of psychology and she says the holidays are stressful because they require a lot of "shifting set" or, rather, "updating or shifting cognitive strategies to respond to the changes in our environment."
Basically, the holidays require so much out of us that "executive functioning" like shifting set and it has strong effects on our abilities like time management, attentiveness, planning, organization and our memory.
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that I am STRUGGLING with all of the above lately and now that I know there's a reason for it, it definitely makes me feel less like a lazy bum! It's not you, it's science!
Between our brains kind of "breaking" around the holidays and Seasonal Affective Disorder sinking in its claws for us here in Michigan, it's a tough time of year but there are a few things that can help us break out of the "holiday brain" cycle. Here are some ideas: