Work, Life, and Holiday Stress
How to stay productive and maintain balance during the holiday season
David Cox | December 04, 2018
Employee stress typically increases during the holiday season (November and December). Studies show that many businesses involved in customer and client services may see anywhere from 6% – 22% increase in work-related activities during this period. Additionally, busy employees must also include travel planning, gift shopping, children’s events, family gatherings, parties, and other activities. Suddenly, schedules that were already full now seem overwhelming, which further increases personal stress.
Another source of work-related stress during the holiday season occurs as co-workers, colleagues, and managers may a be away on vacation. It’s challenging to get things done and maintain a high level of productivity when you’re “short-staffed” during a busy season.
Balance during the holidays
I recently ran across a list of suggestions offered by a staff writer with Smead.com (sourced from Forbes, ResourceNation.com, Beyond.com, and BusinessKnowHow.com) that included the following nine ways to stay focused on the job, maintain high productivity, and still enjoy the holiday season:
- Take a few days off
If you have a few vacation days available, take the time to do a little shopping or enjoy a day with family and close friends. Taking this time will give you a chance to refresh and recharge during the busy holiday season.
- Clear your mind
Get your tasks and projects, both personal and professional, on paper and stop stressing about whether you’ll remember everything you need to do. Once you see all your commitments and the things you would like to do, decide which to drop and which could wait until the new year.
- Start working on year-end projects and personal tasks early
Start your holiday shopping earlier than you have in the past, and get a head start on any upcoming projects at work. This way, when you’re busy with office activities and planning family gatherings later this month, you’ll have fewer items on your to-do list.
- Don’t take your work home
You have family obligations during the holiday season. When at the office try to set clear and reasonable goals for what you want to accomplish. Then, commit to a “stop time” and go home. The holidays will be more enjoyable for your entire family if you can leave work behind and enjoy your time with them.
- Work-Life distractions
While at the office, don’t try to cram in shopping at lunch or buy gifts online. When at work, focus on work. Take care of personal holiday tasks on your time. This focus will yield better results in both areas and keep you from trying to do too many things at once.
- Take care of yourself physically
Exercise more, not less, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Sleep more, not less. Thirty minutes more a night can make a big difference. Also, watch what you eat and drink – the increase in sugary foods and alcoholic beverages will impact you the next day at work, both mentally and physically!
- Beware of over-commitment
Requests for your time and assistance, invitations to parties, special events, and other functions are numerous during the holiday season. Keeping focused and maintaining a good work-life balance sometimes means saying “no.”
- Remind yourself to stay focused at work
The trick is to forget about “seasons” and focus on “today.” Is today a holiday? If not, behave as you would in September. Follow that procedure every day you work. When it’s an actual holiday or vacation day, forget about work and have fun.
- Holidays are a time for celebration
The holiday season should be a joyful time of the year. If you choose to increase your stress level during the holidays and fail to manage your obligations and commitments, remember – it was your choice.
I hope these tips will help make your holiday season more enjoyable. You deserve a joyous experience this year. By you managing your time wisely and avoiding overcommitment, you can create a less stressful and more memorable holiday experience.