It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? As a kid I saw Christmas time as the most magical, generous, and joyous time of the year. As I’ve gotten older, I see how it can produce stress, sadness, and heavy pressure to deliver. But does it have to? How much of that can we control?
The stress attributed to the holidays arises in greater degrees related to our jobs. The end of the year demands a lot of deliverables. So how do we enjoy the holidays while still operating successfully in our workplace? Is there a way. Here are five ways I have constructed to help minimize stress during the most wonderful time of the year.
1.) Start planning in October.
Don’t wait until Black Friday to construct your holiday schedule. This regards personal and work life. Think about how many days you will be taking off, when clients will be out of town, how your packages will renew going into the new year and so on. If you start thinking about your holiday plans around Thanksgiving, you’re already behind. Time doesn’t slow down, use it wisely and give yourself a task to schedule day by day, months in advance.
2.) Purchase your loved one’s gifts spaced out.
Finding good Black Friday deals is understandable, but if you try to do all your shopping in one day, you not only are force gifts, but you break your wallet! In your planning process in October, start paying attention to the things your people want. Pay attention to sales, and if you find a great spontaneous gift, grab it! Don’t get fooled into payment plans on sites; it’s an easy way to have charges you’ll eventually forget about. Instead, develop your own payment plans by buying gifts one at a time, allowing you to stay in check with your bank account.
3.) Don’t say yes to every holiday party.
I know, parties are FUN. Holiday parties are extra fun, and when you’re invited to one, you feel extra special. But, eventually every weekend of the month will be filled, you’ll have twelve different white elephant gifts to get, and 10 potluck dishes to “make” at Costco. Save yourself!! Commit to the ones you really want to be at, with the people that you are closest to. And maybe some of those gifts you grabbed earlier, you already planned out for a white elephant gift.
4.) Don’t negate your rest rituals.
Because of all the extra parties, decorating, events, gift giving, planning etc. we tend to negate our normal routine we have on our weekends or off days. It’s easy to want to add a lot of stimulus to our weekends, especially when it’s fun, but “fun” isn’t rest or attributing to our health . Rest is important. Keeping your healthy habits is important. Whether you have slow Saturday mornings, take time to read, do a workout, go to church, do laundry, sleep in, don’t stop doing these things! Maybe you sacrifice a few things but take the time to keep your health habits consistent. It will give you more energy to enjoy the holiday season and make you feel balanced!
5.) Take time off.
It seems like a standard thing for most people to take time off around the holidays, but it is not! Especially for business owners, it actually sometimes feels like there is more work to prepare for a new year. It’s like the end of the race, or the final hours before a big event; you run around like a headless chicken trying to get more and more things done. STOP. Not only should you make yourself present emotionally and physically for your family, but you need to allow yourself to have times where you’re still. It comes back to the notion that REST IS IMPORTANT. Time off can look different for each individual. You can cut your work weekdays, take consecutive time off before Christmas, after Christmas, whatever works for you. But please, please take time off. You will be a more efficient business owner when your mind has had time to shut down and focus on other things. Trust me, do it.
I hope you enjoyed these five strategies to lower stress throughout the holidays. Whether you already practice some of them now or are planning on doing so next season, take them into account as you enter this holiday season. Less stress is always best!