Festive cheer becoming festive fear? How to avoid burnout before Christmas

stressed woman at christmas
We certainly don't need family and financial stress on top of everything else in 2020. Photo credit: Getty.

With the end of the year almost upon us and Christmas just around the corner, it may feel like we're hanging on to our sanity by a thread. 

After the unprecedented year that was 2020, it's perfectly understandable if you're feeling completely shattered. But of course, this time is marked by the craziness of gift buying, Christmas parties, festive catch-ups and planning Christmas lunch for the in-laws. 

For many, this turns the season of festive cheer into something they fear, with family and financial stress taking its toll.

Remember, you always have to put on your own oxygen mask before fixing it to the person beside you. Similarly, it's important to look after your own mental health so you can be the best parent, partner and friend and family member to those around you. 

The team at Afterpay have put together their top tips for avoiding burnout at this pointy end of the year - so you can actually enjoy the holiday season. 

It's okay to say no sometimes

Christmas time is madness when it comes to events - remember you don't have to accept every single invitation that comes your way. Be selective with your choices and lock in your must-dos and top picks only.

Pace yourself 

There's nothing worse than being 'that guy' at your work Christmas do. It might be the silly season but that doesn't mean you need to be the silliest sausage known to humankind. Low-alcohol beverages can be a lifesaver and the good old wine-then-water strategy works a treat too. Take the time to think through your approach to alcohol ahead of a big night if you wish your colleagues and loved ones to hold you in high regard post-celebratory function.

Secret Santa 

Worried about the sheer volume of gift ideas you have to conjure up for loved ones? We all are. We've taken to the one-amazing-gift-per-family-member strategy (you buy one, you receive one, at a set monetary value of course). This saves weeks and even months of brainstorming and stressing over what to buy Aunt Susan, Uncle Harold and everyone in between.

A little bit of zen goes a long way 

Don't ditch your daily meditation routine just because you've got party offers coming out your ears. And if you don't already meditate it can be a brilliant way to ease the mind and relieve stress over what can often be the most frantic time of year. 

Buy now pay later 

Offerings like Afterpay and Laybuy make life a bit easier when it comes to spreading the cost of Christmas. With Afterpay you can spread the load across two paycheques and four equal payments, but get the goods the second you order them. Remember this comes at no added cost to the user - they don't charge interest like credit cards. 

Your friends will still be there in 2021 

For some reason we all feel compelled to catch up with every single human we've ever had the pleasure of speaking with in December. Over the years we've come to realise all of our friends are still around come January 1. Even better, they're more than happy to catch up late summer for some festive fun in the balmy weather.

Plan ahead and budget 

Know how much you have to spend before you launch into the frivolity of all things festive and keep tabs on your outgoings. Turning a blind eye on your card charges 'just because it's Christmas' is sure to hinder your optimistic outlook come January.


Walking is an excellent way to clear the head, get a bit of fresh air and flex those muscles any time of year, but over the Christmas period even more so. Calories are coming at us left, right and centre so sneaking a little walk or two in where you can will leave you feeling spritely and fighting fit. Walking is also an excellent means of catching up with loved ones - without the hangover!

Go outside

Embrace the warm weather and head to your nearest park, beach, pond, backyard to soak up that vitamin D - while being 100 percent sun smart of course. If you surf, surf more. If you don't, give it a go. It's by far the most therapeutic summer sport there is.

Have fun 

Most importantly, don't get too bogged down by the franticness that is Christmas. While it's the busiest time of year, it's also the most enjoyable. The sun is shining, every man and his dog is at his peak level of cheerfulness and you'll without a doubt manage some family time, some alone time, some friend time, some party time. Happy days all round really.