Maintaining Work-Life Balance During the Holidays
The Holidays are a wonderful time of giving thanks for hard work and great relationship over the previous 12 months. However, November and December can also stress people out by adding a number of family, friend and work obligations to each person’s normal daily load:
- Finding extra, special time to socialize, with co-workers, friends and family
- Adopting a veneer of good cheer, even when you are having a grumpy day (wouldn’t want to be called a Scrooge, after all)
- Still having a fair amount of work to do before the end of the year
- Finding time to shop for presents
- Finding presents that really mean something (which doubles the time needed)
All these conflicting needs raise anxiety about performing well on the job, at the parties and as a champion gift-buyer. How can you put a system in place to navigate this minefield and enjoy yourself?
- Schedule shopping time in your work calendar – and keep those appointments, too.
- Make one master list of purchasing needs – Keep it on your mobile device as a task list, or in an excel file on your tablet. Every time you check something off, you get a sense of progress made, which is calming.
- Select a manageable number of social engagements – This has a number of variations, but two are worth noting:
- If you have been invited to an unmanageable number of events, select the ones you most will enjoy, and send your regrets to the others. DO NOT CHANGE YOUR MIND, and let go of the guilt about missing any particular person’s event. You cannot be everywhere at once!
- If you have not been invited to any holiday events, that creates its own stress. So, make some of your own events, as complicated or simple as you like. Even meeting a friend for a “holiday beverage” once a week can add festiveness to the season.
Sit down with your boss and share your holiday plans – Come to agreement on what really needs your full attention between now and the end of the year. Share your plans to carve out shopping time occasionally during the week, if appropriate to your sort of work, using PTO if necessary. The agreement is that you will keep your focus on work the rest of the time (no cyber-shopping while on the job!)
Thank everyone for a year of great collaboration and support – Take the time to get in touch with all your professional relations and give them a personal note, call or e-mail of thanks. Which type of note you send should be appropriate to that relationship, of course. E-mails are the most casual; phone calls more impactful; hand-written notes have a biggest impact of all on the recipient.
Commit to enjoying the year-end celebrations! Don’t worry if every social “t” isn’t crossed, or “I” dotted. Be honest about your desire to enjoy yourself, and don’t feel guilty about adjusting the balance between work and play for one month!
How do you handle your holiday stress? Have you become more relaxed using your methods, or do they still need some work? If you share with us, we promise to share your thoughts with others to help them, too!