How to Avoid Overwhelm During the Holidays


I’m going to share with you a secret that I’ve learned in my time working as a hypnotherapist. Knowing this secret could change your life, because whenever you are aware of something going on, you have the possibility of changing it. Knowing this secret could even save your life.

The secret is that most people are asleep most of the time. By asleep, I mean that they walk around in a trance, in hypnosis, unaware, their minds a thousand miles away from where they are at any given moment.I’m not putting people down for being sleepwalkers. It’s simply a function of 21st century America. There’s too much to think about, to much to do, too much going on. Life these days can be very overwhelming.

 Overwhelm is the feeling that you don’t know whether you are coming or going. The feeling of running around like a chicken without a head. You lose the ability to think clearly or make a decision. You walk into a room and can’t remember why you went in there. You may find yourself driving your car without the proper focus and attention. (I’m not immune, I recently rear ended someone while rushing to get somewhere.) This is a type of a trance or hypnotic state, what we hypnotherapists call hypersuggestiblility, which means that every little thing can have a negative effect on you. You can no longer deal effectively with life’s challenges.

We are especially susceptible to this type of overwhelm during the holidays. For many of us, our list of “things to do” doubles. There are parties, events, shopping, more traffic, more noise. We may have negative associations to this time of year because of negative family dynamics or the loss of a loved one. It’s colder and darker, creating a desire to hibernate or curl up in a ball and sleep. It’s harder to wake up in the mornings.  People exercise less, and there’s the tendency to eat and drink things that lower our immune systems. We spend more time indoors so we’re in closer proximity to cold and flu viruses.  It can all be so overwhelming, that it’s commonplace to hear people say that they dread the holiday season.

However, we always have a choice in how we respond.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you to stay focused, awake and aware so that you can enjoy whatever you choose to do over the next few months that we call the Holiday Season.

  • First and most important: Sit down and choose powerfully what the holidays mean to you and what you want to get out of them. If you choose to fly to Cancun and hang on the beach with a Pina Colada, that’s your choice, if you are willing to accept the consequences. If you want to go gaga and go all out with parties, decorating, spending a ton of money and eating and drinking to your heart’s content, then do that, and be willing to accept the consequences. If you want to stay focused on the spiritual  aspects of the holidays, then make that your goal. Overwhelm happens when we feel that we have no control and that we are at the mercy of the season. It’s your life, you decide how to spend it, now, today, during the holidays, whenever.
  • Be realistic with your expectations. There is only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and only so many days until this that or the other.  Think clearly about what you will be able to accomplish at any particular time. In addition, be realistic about what you expect from others. Their expectations my differ radically from yours. If in doubt, ask.
  • Don’t neglect your self care. Exercise, eating regularly, getting enough sleep, taking your vitamins, drinking enough water, etc., become even more critical when you are busy, under stress, and the cold and flu season is in full swing.
  • Plan. I always suggest planning your day the night before. Being prepared helps manage stress. Running around, forgetting stuff, not eating, and driving while distracted, on the phone or after drinking, is not only highly stressful, it’s dangerous.
  • Have a mantra or affirmation that reminds you to stay present, aware and awake. For example, “Eyes open, wide awake”, “Breathe”, “Focus” or “It’s ok!” are all good ones.
  • Take some alone time. After shopping, sit in your car and take some deep breaths. Nothing creates overwhelm more quickly than a shopping mall during the holidays. At a party, step outside for some peace and quiet, a chance to collect yourself, and check in on yourself. (Am I good to drive? Am I done eating? Am I running on time for other commitments?)
  • If you know that you are going to be involved with family dynamics that have the possibility of being dicey, then acknowledge that going in and be clear about how you want to act. Stress, fatigue, alcohol, and familial dysfunction can be a lethal combination. Manage accordingly.
  • Finally, look for the joy, the special moments, and the magic and you’ll have a good chance of finding it. Be open to love, acceptance and forgiveness. Notice beauty whenever it presents itself; in the clear crisp light of a winter sky, in a tree twinkling with lights,  in the eyes of someone smiling at you. Be willing to accept and acknowledge the greatest gifts, those that are priceless, precious and enduring.

Happy Holidays!

If you liked this post, please leave a comment and/or share it with your social networks.

Dedicated to helping you move to your next level of greatness,


p.s. Just for reading this far, as my gift to you,  I’m going to give you $35 off of my regular fee for any hypnotherapy session you come in for in the month of December.(Can’t be combined with any other offer out there, sorry!)

Ted A. Moreno
Personal/Small Business Coach
Certified Hypnotherapist                                                                       
 (626) 826-0612
Photo by Skye Moorhead
6 replies
    MUMMSYV8 says:

    Some very good advise Ted. We should all take it to heart at this time of the year..
    in fact all year long.

  2. skye moorhead
    skye moorhead says:

    the part I needed to hear was about being open
    we can behave differently if we want different interaction
    we can forgive, forget and focus on the wonder that is winter
    I’m gonna try this
    thank you

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  2. […] popular word this time of year is peace. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, can you take time to connect with the peace that lies deep within you? Connecting with that quiet […]

  3. […] popular word this time of year is peace. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, can you take time to connect with the peace that lies deep within you? Connecting with that quiet […]

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