Have you ever considered the Mental Load of Christmas? Deciding who will be where and when, organising travel plans, thinking about presents then finding them, planning and preparing meals keeping in mind specific dietary requirements of extended family members, decorating the house, creating family memories and yearly Santa photos… And that’s just at home! At work/school/kindy/any community group, there are Christmas and end of year parties and concerts to be held, Secret Santas to be assigned, Christmas decorations to be hung.
Have you ever considered who does most of these things across the globe?
At Christmas time, the Mental Load increases astronomically. On top of all the Christmas-related stuff, the usual things that we think about and organise on a regular basis throughout the year still need to be done, and now have a deadline! Little jobs from mowing the lawn to cleaning out the fridge now must all be done before December 25th.
So what can you do?
At the Mental Load Project I always advocate the 3 D’s: Do, Drop and Divide.
Do basically means stop procrastinating. Lots of our mental load is taken up remembering little things like RSVP-ing to an event or replying to a message. Reduce this mental load just by doing straight away or jotting it down on a piece of paper to be done later that day.
Drop means just that – drop that task, don’t do it, forget about it. Drop is particularly relevant for Christmas. We can all get caught up in doing things, attending events, making stuff just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Christmas for each family will be different – work out the priorities and values for you and your family. Drop the things that aren’t important to you.
Divide means to share tasks with your partner (and children if they’re older). Note, this is Divide not Delegate. Delegate by its very meaning suggests that someone (i.e. the woman) has the master plan and then is asking others to “help.” Dividing means actually handing over whole tasks – planning as well as execution – to someone else. Buying presents for your in-laws? Planning the entire Christmas meal? Organising Christmas outfits for the kids? Work out entire jobs that can be planned and executed by other people and allow them full responsibility for it.
And finally, schedule in some gifts of me-time and other treats that please you. Christmas should be enjoyable for all – including women!
And if you have any ideas about not just surviving, but actually enjoying, the festive Season, please share them in the comments below.