The holidays can be overwhelming for many people, but when you’re a busy professional, they can lead to stress, depression, substance abuse, or even suicidal thoughts. It’s just so difficult to manage business during one of the busiest times of the year and still make time for family, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed during this time of year; planning well, taking care of yourself, and enlisting help will ensure you have a solid foundation for getting through this stressful time. Here are a few of the best tips on how to do just that.
It may sound easier said than done, but it’s extremely important to practice self-care during the holidays. Eating well-balanced meals, getting enough rest, exercising daily, and taking time to do things that make you happy and relaxed are all imperative at this time. Carve out at least a half hour in your day to do something just for you: read before bed, or take a bottle of water and go for a walk around the block on your lunch break. Having time to yourself is one of the most important things you can do around this time of year, when most of the day you’re thinking about everyone else.
Make music a part of your holiday experience
Listening to music is an excellent stress reliever so find ways to incorporate into your daily tasks to help you feel more relaxed and calm. The great thing about the holiday season is that there are many opportunities to bring even more music into your life. You can listen to some Christmas tunes in between client meetings or while wrapping presents. You can attend a local production of a holiday musical, such as “The Nutcracker.” Or you can join a caroling group and sing some tunes at a local senior center. And if Christmas songs aren’t your thing, that’s fine, too. Make time for a little dance party for one to your favorite 2016 jam as a break from your end-of-year business tasks or get together with a friend to see one of your favorite artists in concert.
Invest in a planner
Write down everything you can think of. Get organized with a calendar or planner so you can see dates, events, and arrangements well ahead of time. Color code it if that makes it easier for you. Writing down your responsibilities will help you keep track of everything while practicing good time management.
Ask for help
If you work long hours during the holidays, ask your spouse or a responsible older child to start dinner; delegate chores such as laundry and dishes; set up a carpool circle with a group of nearby parents. Taking small burdens off your shoulders will really add up when you’re working ten hour days.
If you own a business, consider enlisting temporary help from a service. Not only will these temp employees assist you in getting through the busy season, they’ll take some of the stress off your regular employees, as well. Plus, knowing that you care enough to find help will show them that they are valued in your company.
Learn to say no
When you’re in the professional world, sometimes you never know where a contact or potential client will come from, and it becomes hard to say no when you’re looking to move up or make connections. Sometimes, however, it’s necessary. When the holidays roll around and you have a million things on your plate, don’t be afraid to decline when someone asks for a favor or invites you to an event you just don’t have time for. Be polite but firm; remember, it’s okay to look out for yourself.
While you may be thinking that some of these ideas sound “selfish”, remember that sometimes putting yourself first is simply necessary, and nothing more. Knowing when you need a break--and taking one--is perfectly okay and might, in fact, keep you from stressing over the small stuff.