5 Top Tips for Beating Overwhelm at Christmas

WellNow Overwhelm at Christmas

By Suzanne Leyden, Nutrition Health & Wellness Coach and Owner of The WellNow Co

Overwhelm at Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year, is rife. We are all wrapping things up for the end of year and planning things for next year, organising Christmas and all that it entails. There’s rarely a moment for yourself, but you’ve never needed a break more. So what can we do about it?

There’s no point in pretending to be having a ball and actually not enjoying a moment of it (possibly like our gorgeous fur-baby ;-)), and becoming exhausted from it all. This feeling of burnout can lead to low mood, irritability, exhaustion and more. I don’t think any one of us is striving for that existence. Christmas should be about joy and family, gifting and eating, connecting and laughing. Make that the goal. Turn the stress upside-down and take back control. I’ll give you a few starter tips to get you on your way.


The first thing is to gain perspective. It’s essential to carve out a dedicated time (it may be just 5 or 10 minutes) to see what is important, and prioritise your list of to-do’s. It may be that some of the things weighing you down can be sorted within a a few minutes – like ordering an online food shop to arrive on the 23rd of December, which means you don’t need to think about that again until it arrives. Or popping to your local shops to get your nieces and nephews gifts in one fell swoop. Or sharing the workload that’s pushing you to breaking point with your team – sometimes just asking can get you very far. 


Whatever it is, you can approach taking back control of balance in your life in a similar way and here’s my approach:

  1. Write your full list of to-do’s.
  2. Group the list, if possible, into things that can be done together at the same time, or delegated, or pushed to the new year.
  3. Take the list and put the items one-by one into your calendar. This way you are no longer facing one long to-do list, but managing each day as it comes, hour by hour. 
  4. Work through your list without the overwhelm. And if you don’t get to an item on a particular day, you can re-schedule easily.
  5. While scheduling these items in, block out a few windows for yourself. They may only be a few minutes, or maybe you can manage an hour. There is no doubt, that with some clever scheduling there is definitely time for you that you can squeeze out of your day.


Time management, organising and finding some time for yourself is an essential part of finding balance and wellbeing in an otherwise always-on, highway-to-burnout, overwhelming world.

Once you do get those regular time slots for you into your day, or week, then you need to figure out what to do with them. Hint: it’s not about spending that time doing things for other people. I’ll focus on that in my next post.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact

3 Ways to Have yourself a Calm Christmas full of Joy

3 Ways to Have yourself a Calm Christmas full of Joy

The sense of nostalgia does something peculiar with our brains around Christmas. Usually we are a far cry from achieving any semblance of a calm Christmas. There is a notion that we must create the most perfect experience for everyone all around us, no matter the cost. The financial cost is the obvious one, where many of us stretch ourselves up to, and beyond, our limits. But the toll on our health and wellbeing, thanks to not being able to say “no” to anyone or anything, can leave us burnt out come the jolly holidays.

How can we avoid this and still enjoy the festive season? Especially when we’ve just experienced an extremely busy year on the back of the tumultuous time of the peak of the pandemic. Well there are a few ways we can have ourselves a calm Christmas full of joy….


FOMO (Fear of missing out) is such a real thing. It doesn’t always serve us well to do everything and be everywhere that’s asked of us. It’s not selfish to approach social engagements on your terms. You might even get a better sense of calm and balance by making sure your choices are in line with how you feel at that given time.

Connecting with friends and family is an essential part of our wellbeing. However, the intense nature of festive gatherings can be a bit too much for some people. Whether we drink/don’t drink, stay late/leave early, pop-in for a bit/don’t go at all – do what works for you. Acknowledge the bigger impact of your actions and decide what is the best choice for you. And you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone else either.

While it’s so important to observe your own boundaries, we should also respect when others adhere to their boundaries. We shouldn’t take their actions personally, but acknowledge that they are simply looking after their own wellbeing in the best way that works for them.


This is a tricky one. We want to indulge our loved ones, but setting reasonable budgets for ourselves is so important. We are all familiar with stories of kids playing with the box that the toy came in more than playing with the toy itself. While this isn’t always the case, sometimes we need to manage ours, and others expectations but still have fun while we do that. There are also so many ‘experience’ gifts we can give that are either free, or low-cost that can create the best and most lasting memories for children. They are usually more sustainable too.


Being present for yourself and your loved ones can be challenging when you’re stressed or anxious. In reality though, that’s what our loved ones are looking for, much more than the glittery, expensive gift that has made you stressed. The knock-on effect of stress is that you are not living in the moment nor experiencing the joy that you could.

Savouring the moment, and doing simple things in a mindful way helps to reduce stress and keep you in the moment. Creating a ritual of having a calm cup of tea (or equivalent) and relaxing while enjoying it is within reach for many of us. It can take just a few minutes but has a big impact on our wellbeing.

Journaling is a really effective way to check in with yourself and stay grounded, present and self-aware. It also helps you stay in tune with yourself and allows you to spot what might be causing stress, or derailing your usually healthy habits. It can help you to tweak your behaviour to better serve yourself too.

Meditation, breathing exercises, yoga and walking in nature are other ways great to relax and take care of your body and mind, particularly in busy and stressful times. These could be done with some of your loved ones instead of a larger social outing that might feel stressful.


Whatever your approach to the holiday season, you should be enjoying it and not simply facilitating others to have a fabulous time. Be kind to yourself. Take a little time to ask yourself where you could increase your joy so that you enjoy the festive cheer to your max, and very importantly, enjoy it with authenticity.