How To Avoid Feeling Guilty For Doing Less

If all you want for the holidays is a few extra hours in a day, you probably feel guilty for not being able to do everything you’d like. After all, there are times when doing everything from making that party to last minute shopping and volunteering feels impossible because it is impossible.

how to avoid feeling guilty for doing less

Dr. Alduan Tartt, PhD, believes gender roles are partially to blame for our internal guilt. He explained, “Society evaluates women based on their ability to host events, have a beautiful home and prepare great food. This is a lot of pressure on a woman to measure up to her mate’s standard for hospitality but also the family [standard]. In a lot of cultures, holidays are a big deal and you must make the extended family happy, which is not easy.”

No matter what the season is, we all have moments in life when we feel overwhelmed only to be completely wowed by someone who does it all. Or at least appears to, which can often leave us feeling even worse.

Don’t Hate—Delegate

Instead of feeling guilty and overwhelmed, Dr. Tartt suggests delegating tasks when possible. Don’t want to assemble those new dining chairs you bought for your holiday party? Consider using services like Thumbtack to find professionals to prevent those inevitable accidents that involve a hammer and your thumb. Or use Molly Maid to find a local cleaning service so you don’t worry about your mother in law pointing out that one dust bunny you missed under the sofa.

Another great service is GlamSquad. Available online or through an app, you can have a hairstylist, makeup artist or nail tech come to your location on demand. A service like a blowout can really be worth it if you have events several days in a row.

You can also delegate less costly tasks. For example, instead of baking, buy a ready-made pie and heat it up before serving. Add some ice cream and no one will know the difference.

Swap the time you would have spent on these tasks and use them for holiday self-care. Book yourself a massage! Go for a run! Or even just take a few moments to meditate.  

Ask For Help When You Need It

Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. For example, if you’re cooking a large dinner, tell your guests to bring alcohol or side dishes. “It takes a village,” says Dr. Tartt. “You’ll be less stressed, have more support, and have more fun too. Also, have a cleanup crew who helps you afterwards so that you can relax.”

Accept The Truth

But no matter how well you treat yourself, or delegate tasks, there are always times when we just want to opt out. While that can cause you to feel guilt, Dr. Tartt says it doesn’t have to. “First, accept the fact that you will feel guilty initially and relieved afterwards. You must be selfish at times and think about yourself first.”

He also says it’s okay to fib a little, especially when it comes to family. Make polite excuses. “My doctor just fussed at me about not getting enough rest because it is affecting my health, so I cannot host this year. I hope you understand.”

Dr. Tartt makes another great point, “When you make your happiness a priority, then other people will step in or back off. You deserve to say yes to your happiness too.”


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About Amanda Lauren

Originally from New York City, Amanda Lauren currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs Milo and Lulu. Rarely seen in an actual gym, she is a group fitness enthusiast who enjoys Pilates (both East Coast and West Coast styles), spin, barre, power plates, yoga and her newest obsession, versa climbing. She will try any group fitness class at least once. When Amanda isn’t working out or trying to find the perfect pair of pink sneakers, she blogs about her adventures in fitness as well as fashion, lifestyle and beauty on