Tidings of comfort and joy may be what the popular song calls for, but they can be pretty hard to find during the stress-filled holiday season. Here are a few resilience exercises to calm the storm and get through the end of the year in peace. Missed Part 1 of this series? Check it out here!
Step 3 – Make Time For the Truly Important Things, And Ditch the Should-Be-Important Things
Along with setting realistic expectations, the holidays can also cause us to think we have to celebrate in a certain way. Maybe because family tradition dictates it. Maybe because we saw a beautiful layout in a magazine. Maybe because we used to work somewhere that had an awesome Christmas party and wicked Secret Santa exchange, and we wish our new boss did that.
In your home life, sit down and make a list of the things that are the most important to you and your loved ones, and prioritize those things. By making space for them, instead of cramming the holidays full, you will actually be able to enjoy them more and stress less.
At work, think through the most important, big picture pieces of what needs to be accomplished before year-end in order to start the next year strong. When I’m thinking of my to-dos, I like to picture a target. The outer rings aren’t worth nothing, but I get the most points for aiming toward the middle. What’s the middle of the target? What’s the highest value activity that will set you up for success moving into the new year?
There are only so many hours in the holiday season. Trying to incorporate every single possible activity, tradition, and to-do into a few short weeks isn’t enjoyable, it’s stressful.
Step 4 – Seek Moderation
For years we’ve been hearing health professionals tell us that the holidays shouldn’t be an excuse to indulge. Whether it’s food, wine, shopping, or anything else, the end of the year doesn’t need to be a free-for-all, because having a “feast or famine” type attitude to indulgences means you’ll only rebound harder when the celebratory season is over.
That same attitude holds true at work. Don’t get distracted and let off the gas, or spend work time online shopping. But on the other hand, December isn’t the time to panic and try to get everything finished. You may be trying to show off before a December review or a January bonus, but the odds are good that the impression you made the other 11 months of the year is what really matters.
Just like your pumpkin pie intake, try to balance the last month of the year with work and play. Think “consistency” instead of “get it all done.”
By the end of the year, most of us are running on an empty gas tank. But these four techniques for powering through December will have you avoiding stress and burnout, and feeling like celebrating by the time you ring in the New Year.