I LOVE that the concept of emotional labor or mental labor is being more widely discussed. This kind of labor, mostly referred to around running a household, involves the noticing, remembering and the delegating of our household tasks. For example, deciding what to make for dinner, or noticing the household is out of toilet paper, or keeping track of the grocery list in your head. Most of this labor falls to women.
That can be a HEAVY burden to bear! Most often this work is unrecognized, unpaid, and has few rewards.
Huffington Post just did an article called "Holiday Magic is Made by Women. And it's Killing Us." What is this holiday magic? Well, it may involve moving a tiny elf every night, baking cookies, seeing the lights, finding the perfect presents, and doing ALL. THE. CHRISTMAS. THINGS. It's not just for women who are married or mothers. Women at work may be organizing the holiday office party or gift exchange. It's no wonder the holidays stress us out!
3 suggestions to decrease holiday mental labor
-If you are in a partnership, you could sit down with your partner and make a list of what you want to accomplish during the holiday season. This will be a good chance to help your partner see the invisible tasks you are doing that help create some of that magic. From there, you can see what your partner can take on and what you can let go of this year. For example, maybe your partner will buy gifts for their side of the family and you will buy gifts for your side? There may be things you have done every year, but just because you've done something most years in the past, doesn't mean you need to do it every year to have the same magic.
-Make sure you are taking care of you! Self-care is so important, and part of self-care is not making the holidays so stressful you can't even make it to the new year! Do you feel like "yourself" or are you a zombie in the aisles of Target hunting down deals? Make sure you are you taking time to connect to the things that are most important to you.
-Lastly, make a list of what you value most during the holiday season. Family togetherness? Religious/spiritual traditions? Holiday food? Analyze the traditions you have against your values. If your tradition is not in line with what you value most for the holidays it will be easier to let it go. Or there may be a more simple way to achieve the same value for your family.