The holiday season is in full swing, and while some people can take days (or weeks!) off at this time of year, that isn’t the case for everyone. You might have deadlines to meet. You might be dealing with end-of-the-year reports or trying to get a few more sales or close a few more deals.
Unfortunately, the holidays can quickly start to feel incredibly hectic at work. Then, you have to deal with the stress of buying gifts, cooking, going to parties, and gathering with family and friends in your free time.
All of it can get incredibly overwhelming very quickly, leading to a less-than-jolly season.
So, what can you do to balance life and work during the holidays?
One of the best things you can do for your personal life and career this season is to set boundaries. You don’t have to say “yes” to every new project at work or take on extra just because it’s the end of the year.
You also don’t have to go to every holiday party, gathering, and get-together. Prioritize what you need and want to do in both areas of life. You’ll feel less overwhelmed, you’ll get more done, and you won’t constantly be thinking about what else needs to get crossed off of your list.
This time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs,” whether they’re good or bad. You might find yourself reminiscing about holidays past with friends and family. A minute later, you might be worried about finishing a work project before the end of the year.
Focusing on the past or future can create anxiety and make the season more stressful than it already is. Instead, try to be mindful of every moment.
Mindfulness can take practice but also do wonders for stress and anxiety. If you feel overwhelmed, close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths. Focus on how you feel at that very moment. What do you hear? What do you smell? Bringing yourself to the present allows you to let go of those anxious thoughts. Even just a few minutes of mindfulness each day can make a difference.
It’s the season of giving, and that means giving back to yourself, too! Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s especially necessary this time of year. If you’re feeling stressed out at work, consider taking a day or two off to recharge. Or, ask your employer for more flexibility around the season. Most importantly, try to avoid bringing work home with you. Chances are, you have enough on your personal life plate already. You don’t need to add more stress by thinking about the workplace while sitting on your couch at night.
At home, prioritize things like getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and exercising. Small habits can make a big difference in your mental and physical well-being.
Give Yourself Extra Time
If possible, give yourself a cushion to get things done — especially at work. If you know you have projects or deadlines coming up soon, try to get ahead instead of putting pressure on yourself at the last minute.
By giving yourself a bit of extra time and spreading out your tasks, you’re less likely to experience burnout in the workplace. Of course, you can use the same strategy at home. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop, cook, or decorate. Try to space things out as much as possible. You might actually find you can enjoy some of those responsibilities a bit more when you’re not on a time crunch.
The holidays don’t have to be stressful, even if you have a busy schedule and a demanding job. Remember these tips to strike a healthy work-life balance this holiday season and enjoy all it has to offer.
Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.