top background

Spa a thought for yourself this Christmas: How to avoid Christmas burnout

‘Holiday burnout’ is a thing. It sounds like an oxymoron but what is Christmas burnout and what can we do about it?

Christmas is no ordinary holiday. There are places to go, people to see, things to cook, presents to buy, drinks to drink and a great big grin to stick on your face while you’re doing it. Sounds tough? Poor us… but actually it can be overwhelming. So what is Christmas burnout and what can we do about it?

“One in three adults suffer from ‘holiday burnout’, with 36% claiming that that the affliction sets in before mid-December”

2018 survey from Slumber Cloud

The same survey showed that a further 17% of respondents actually felt burnt out before the festive month had even begun.


What is Christmas burnout?

Feeling panicked

The cost, the pressure to turn up at everything, to be happy, to party, to be on good form, to look your best despite guzzling alcohol and tucking into a pile of pastry heavy canapés… Whatever triggers your sense of panic, it can all contribute to Christmas burnout.

Feeling overwhelmed

Much like panic, feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to be everywhere and be everything can be particularly hard to handle. Are you unusually anxious, angry, irritable or worrying about the little things? You could be showing signs of being overwhelmed.

Feeling flat

When the panic burns to the end of the proverbial fuse, emotional exhaustion eventually seems to turn to feeling flat. Underwhelmed, unexcited and it’s hard to generate enthusiasm for the things you think you should be enthusiastic about. In short - you can’t be bothered.

Feeling empty

A feeling of emptiness is almost a numbness, which can be quite peculiar and quite frightening. It’s not unusual, but it can be a sign of burnout. It could be the result of something big like losing a job or grief, or it could be that things have just got a bit too much and you’re physically and emotionally exhausted. Take note, it’s time to be kind to yourself.

Neal’s Yard Remedies at The Shard

What can you do about Christmas burnout?


Focus on the things that have to be done rather than the things that it would be nice to get done. You have to get up, dressed and clean your teeth, you have to eat and most of us really do need to go to work. It would be nice to decorate the house like Harrods but it’s really not essential.

Set boundaries

Sometimes you just need to say no - to that party, that gathering or to volunteering to bake cakes for the school fete. We might want to do everything, but we just can’t, and that’s ok.

Make time for yourself

Easier said than done, but whether it’s taking the time to paint your nails, read a book for 15 minutes, walk around the block or vegetate in front of the television - earmark a little time for you. Make it a non-negotiable with everyone else who wants a piece of your time.

Be realistic

You can’t do everything or please everyone.

Top spa treatments and therapies for feeling burnt out

Frankly, all spa treatments are pretty great for helping us to handle stress or burnout, but these are a few holistic holiday favourites.

Aromatherapy for mental wellbeing

Aromatherapy has long been used to help relieve stress and tension, and it’s often incorporated into other treatments as well. The scents tend to encourage you to breathe more deeply, which helps with stress in itself. However, different essential oils also interact with the mind and body to affect it in different ways. For example, chamomile is soothing, calming and stress relieving

Discover how your sense of smell can change how you’re feeling

Massage for letting go

You don’t need us to tell you that massage can help to relieve stress and tension, but you may not fully appreciate its efficacy if you haven’t tried it. There are lot of different types of massage, but broadly speaking, it has both a physical effect and a mental or emotional one. Physically it helps to relieve muscle tension, which can have a knock on effect for mental health. It helps you to get back into your body and out of your head for a bit. If essential oils are used then that too has an impact on how you feel.

Discover our treatment guide to deep tissue massage

Reflexology for relieving tension

Reflexology is a lovely, gentle treatment that has lots of benefits. We rarely realise how much tension we hold in our feet, but we really do. It uses compression massage on the feet, which are divided into 10 longitudinal and transverse zones correlating with the rest of the body. It releases tension, improves circulation and improves the energy flow by breaking down what has been described as calcium deposits at the end of the nerve endings in feet and hands. 

Reflexology: what is it and what are the benefits?
Book your next spa break

More posts similar to this one

If you like this post, here are some similar ones that you might be interested in: