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Choosing Human Hibernation Over Holiday Hustle

I’m saying “No” to holiday societal pressures to say “Yes” to me

I’m saying “No” to societal pressures to say “Yes” to me

My daughter and I had been looking forward to seeing Lauryn Hill for months. And finally, the night of the concert arrived! 

The only problem? Absolutely no part of me wanted to go. 

Lately, I’ve been exhausted at the cellular level, running on the fumes of my resilience.

This past year, I’ve been “The Giving Tree,” constantly there for my four kids, husband, business, friends, family, and community. With an often-traveling husband, I am the rock who keeps our household running.

Thankfully, unlike the famous used-up stump at the end of “The Giving Tree” story, I’m proud that no matter how busy I’ve been, I’ve cared for myself. I’ve used my “
brilliant basics” of self-care and have harnessed that energy towards my goals. My debut book was published earlier this year, Chaos to Calm: Five Ways Busy Parents Can Break Free From Overwhelm, and I gave book talks, delivered virtual and in-person workshops, and have been a guest on over 30 podcasts

But frankly, I’m deeply tired. And maybe you are, too.

There is a season, turn, turn, turn

As the famous lyric from the song by The Byrds, life is full of seasons. 

Trees don’t burst into blossom in winter, and animals don’t forage non-stop—they rest, they hibernate. And we humans, despite modern conveniences that shield us from the cold and darkness, are part of that natural world, too. Our body knows when to slow down, yet our hyper-productive culture doesn’t acknowledge it.

In the last several weeks, what has lit me up all year, like brainstorming new ideas on a Zoom call, creating valuable social media content, and arranging podcast interviews and book talks, feels draining. A deep yearning for solitude, my jammies, quiet, and downtime has replaced the excitement of meeting new people and engaging in creative collaborations. 

Every cell in my body is begging for rest. 

Society’s high expectations hang in the air of the coming holidays – the perfect meal for Thanksgiving, a spotless home for guests, lavish meals, and, of course, a mountain of perfectly wrapped gifts.

Embracing calm to holiday on

With a tiredness beyond belief, it’s time to put my calm concepts into place. As I mentioned in my book, it may feel like we don’t have control over our day-to-day lives, but we have more control than we think. It’s up to us to design the days and life we want to live.

So, I’ve decided I won’t cave into all the to-dos, events, and expectations. The pressure on me to create the “world’s perfect holiday” is human-made and can be human-changed.

I choose to focus on what truly matters and give myself permission to drop the rest. For me, it will mean doing less and with fewer people, saying no to the holiday hustle, online networking events, and coffee catch-ups that, while fun, can eat into my precious time for rejuvenation.

The last months of the year are a time to press pause and be mindful of how you want to start next year.

I refuse to start the new year running on empty. I’m choosing to hibernate this holiday season, think, rest, and reignite my passion so I can kick off the new year with a bang.

I recognize that this exhaustion is temporary. I could be back on the go-go choo-choo train again in anywhere from a week to two months. In the meantime, I honor my desire to slow down, press pause, and follow my intuition.  

How I plan to hibernate this holiday season

  1. I’m going to say no to the non-essentials. No networking events and online collaborations that don’t spark an automatic “Hell yes!” 

  2. I’m going to say no to creating for the sake of creating. Instead, I’ll focus on necessities and on finishing what I started. 

  3. I will listen to my body and permit myself to slow down. Humans are cyclic creatures, and despite technology and creature comforts that let us defy the seasons, we’re burning out because we’re not listening to our natural rhythms.

  4. I’m going to say ‘no’ to feeling obligated to buy in, literally, to the commercialization of the holidays. I won’t be setting up elaborate holiday decor and activities and buying people gifts just because a specific day tells me to. (Note: If this fills your cup and relaxes you, by all means, do it!). Instead of excessive shopping, I plan to go back to basics: making different flavored latkas for every night of Hanukkah, decorating cookies and gingerbread houses, lighting candles, and simply being present with my loved ones.

You can choose to do less and be more.

Hibernate, my friends. Rest, replenish, and find joy in the simplicity, guilt-free. You will be modeling healthy boundaries and self-care to your children for when they’re older and feel all the pressures you do right now.

When I emerge from my hibernation, it will be with renewed energy, ready to face the new year, ready for all the beauty and challenges it will undoubtedly bring with renewed drive, passion, and a productively creative spirit.

Here’s to the courage to find your calm, honor your body’s rhythms and desires, and huddle up in hibernation during the holiday storm. For more tips on purposeful calm during the holidays, click here.


To read more on staying calm in a stressful world, pick up my book, Chaos to Calm: 5 Ways Busy Parents Can Break Free From Overwhelm, and sign up for my Own Your Calm newsletter!

Reach out, I’m here for you.

Jenna Z Hermans - signature written