4 Tips To Beat Holiday Burnout As A Working Mom

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Do you ever finding yourself just wanting to get through the holidays? I mean like that’s actually your goal. To make it through the holidays without the stress but still make it memorable.

It’s quite the conundrum right?

Can you actually have a memorable holiday, work full time, be all things mom and get a rewarding holiday season at the same time?

Is smoke coming out of your ears just thinking about it? Well, if this feels impossible to you based on past experiences then you may have experienced the infamous mama holiday burnout.

What does holiday burnout feel like?

It can appear as different emotions for different people. Resentment, tearfulness, tired after a full night’s sleep, irritable, and even anxious at the thought of preparing, planning or just “doing” holidays. Basically you start getting that “I’m so freaking over this” feeling when you really aren’t freaking over it.

Wait….holidays should be a joyous and relaxing time to celebrate the reason for the holiday. Right?

Why does holiday burnout happen?

Well, it’s mostly due to expectations from what I’ve noticed. As a working mom I’ve found that we have this wired need to meet expectations.

Who knows, maybe because this is drilled into us at work. But over time we start to realize this and find that work expectations and life expectations have different sources and consequences.

If the holidays are bringing up feelings of stress, inadequacy, and pressure then keep reading because that is a road map to burnoutville and we’re about to stop it dead in its tracks.

True mom confession

I work a lot and I’m not crafty or comfortable being a hostess. I love company, but I don’t like entertaining lol.

I can hop on Pinterest for some quick holiday decorating ideas and quickly get overwhelmed by the learning curve no matter how simply it’s broken down.

I know what it feels like to be out of your comfort zone but still wanting to rise to the occasion. I can’t tell you how many Pinterest projects have gone wrong. The thing is, nobody had anything to compare it to but me.  

Then there’s the food, the company, and trying to stay engaged for parties at both work and home.

I work full time throughout the holiday season, so I have to plan it out over several weeks or scale it back and throw it together a few days before.

How many of you work on holidays and have to alter your celebration days at home? Leave a comment and let us know.

4 Ways to avoid holiday burnout as a working mom

These tips have helped me, let’s see if they help you rock this holiday season while conserving your energy in the process.

Let’s avoid holiday burnout this time around with a few tips to save you time and stress. Here we go.

1. Question the source

What is the source of your expectations and who set them? Often the answer is yourself.

Are you setting your expectations too high and then getting upset and feeling like a failure when you don’t reach them? Why? What are the consequences?

Remember when I said I tried to follow Pinterest tutorials and they were total flops? Well, they may not have turned out exactly like the kick butt blogger’s did but I still ended up with a finished product.

The thing is I never got one complaint from anyone because they never knew what I was comparing it to. I was the one that set the expectation, so I had to adjust it.

The next time you start to feel that way, talk to yourself. Yes, seriously talk out loud to yourself. When you feel like you aren’t meeting expectations, ask yourself “who says?” and then answer it.

Who says you have to entertain company?

Who says you have to cook two meats, 5 side dishes and 3 desserts?

Who says you have to buy Christmas presents for your toddler? I mean seriously, the little homies get crazy joy out of a cardboard box!

Who says you have to decorate your home?

Who says you have to donate money to your office party?

Your emotional well being will start to thrive more during the holidays as you begin to ditch the high expectations and simply do what you can and more importantly what you want.

That underlying resentment starts to fade and you may even find yourself doing more because you want to and not because you feel obligated to.

2. New traditions : blaze your own trail

What’s one small thing or tradition you want to instill in your children? Make that small thing the focus of your holiday and build around it.

Like I said, you may be that mom that has to work on holidays, so you have a deeper appreciation for making this time special for your kids.

If you have limited free time, money, help or patience here’s a tip. Focus on something small and specific for the family to associate good feelings with during the holiday.

If nothing else goes right, you’ll be pretty sure that thing will and since it’s the same thing every year you become a pro without the stress.

Here’s a few ideas :

  • Elf on A Shelf game
  • Opening a gift on Christmas Eve
  • Save or even create a game that you do as a family but you can only do it on that holiday

You get to create what’s normal in your family. Your tradition gives something pure for the family to look forward to and bond over.

They will feel like the holiday is incomplete without it and you get some serious stress relief here because you kept it simple yet special.

It’s something that you can give and nothing else can take it’s place even if you have to work.

3. The art of delegation

Okay, so which holiday mama are you?

The “I’m the only one that can do it right” mama or the “everyone expects me to do it all” mama?

If you’re the first then start releasing control if it’s leading to burnout. And if people are expecting you to do it, did they actually tell you that?

Remember the first tip, you may be putting these expectations on yourself.

As strong women, it can feel vulnerable and down right stressful asking for help. Especially if we feel for some reason the holidays are our role.

I challenge you to acknowledge the stress it’s causing you and tell yourself that you are worth asking for the help.

If you can’t delegate, then start prioritizing and removing things from your holiday to do list that simply cant get done.

If you feel like nobody can do it like you then teach someone.

Sometimes the holidays can feel like another job. Let’s keep it real, they burn you out because those suckers take work!

Communicate what you need to make it run smoother.

4. Change your perspective

Sounds easy enough right? I know mama, easier said than done.

But for real, when you let the seriousness of it all go, you wont get burnt out.

Go into it knowing that it wont be perfect and something may go wrong. That’s okay! I challenge you to find some humor in it. Those make the best stories anyways right?!

When those burnout feelings creep up start reminding yourself the reason the holiday came about.

It puts things into perspective and you can use it for a quick reality check and mindset shift to get your thoughts back on track.

Your thoughts will eventually lead to how you feel. If you can get your thoughts on the track of appreciation instead of meeting expectations then you will start to feel that way.

This makes for such a more enjoyable, stress free holiday.    

What you may learn

As you delegate, I think you’d be surprised to see that people would love to help you and feel included in your space. Take some time to teach them and release them. You deserve it.

What’s new this holiday?

Did this post spark any ideas to make a change this holiday season? Leave a comment and let me know if you came up with a new family tradition or something you cant wait to delegate!

So long holiday burnout!

I hope these tips save you time and stress not only this holiday season, but for any special occasion from now on. Remember, holidays are family events and you’re included in that family.

Trust me, your family may have an idea when you’re unhappy and they probably don’t know how to help you feel better so they keep quiet.

Remember to communicate your needs. They want you to experience joy during the holidays as well and not see it as a time where mom gets burnt out.

If you start feeling the overwhelm and need a break. Here is a quick guide on effective self care for working moms that you can treat yourself to.

It’s time to start enjoying new holiday traditions unique to your own family, feel appreciated and having it be something you enjoy.

Don’t let the daily grind take you down mama. You now have some tips to guide you and comfort you through the holidays. Enjoy!


Is smoke coming out of your ears just thinking about holiday stress? Well, if a successful holiday feels impossible to you based on past experiences then you may have experienced the infamous mama holiday burnout. Here are some time saving tips to guide you and comfort you through any holiday season.

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