Holidaze. It should be a time we cherish, to be with friends and family while celebrating the end of the year and reaffirming beliefs, if we have any.
But let’s face it, during the holidays we over-commit ourselves, rushing around to do everything. There are celebrations at schools, the office, where we volunteer, our friends’, at the neighbors’ and where we worship. We’re visiting relatives or having them stay with us. We’re baking more. We’re wrapping gifts. We’re cleaning more and shopping more. Yet we’re still doing everything else we need to do.
Workers are particularly stressed out. In fact, Inc. indicates 70% of workers are more stressed during the holidays with everything they have going on. It’s difficult for them to be productive at work, attend work gatherings as well as those for friends and relatives. It’s so ubiquitous that there’s even a list of the cities feeling the most stress during the holidays.
For women, says the Washington Post, it’s even more stressful. Why? Psychologists indicate that after women complete the first shift at work. Then, they regularly take on the second shift of cleaning, cooking and childcare. They worry during the holidays, women have yet a third shift.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays almost upon us, we wanted to provide a few ideas to reduce stress.
1. Stop doing everything
Stop doing it all. It sounds easy, right? It can be. If you’re one of those people who take on buying and wrapping all family gifts, shipping them personally, writing holiday cards, baking for the entire neighborhood, hosting several parties, and more, maybe you want to consider doing less. After all, if your great aunt Betty who you haven’t seen in years doesn’t get a holiday card, will the world end? Probably not. Maybe, if you think it’s important, you can give her a call instead as you make some cookies for the block.
Knowing your limits and accepting imperfection is a great start to a healthy holiday.
2. Embrace life hacks
See where you can cut corners, saving yourself some time. You’re not cheating; you’re helping yourself and your family by being creative.
Consider subscriptions and gift boxes. These days there are subscriptions and gift boxes for just about everything – magazines, fruit, underwear, beer, geek merchandise, coffee, clothing, bacon … you name it! It’s even meaningful and personalized. For example, groups like Geek Box can be geared toward whatever fandom happens to be a favorite.
Donate on behalf of friends to important causes. For example, if your friends all do Race for the Cure every year as a way to socialize and giveback, consider donating to that organization on behalf of your friends. Charity Navigator can be a good way to find the right organizations.
Make a “no gift” pact with people and instead focus on experiences. For example, if your family has trouble getting together yearly, consider putting that money toward traveling together instead of getting each other gifts. It’s more meaningful to everyone. Of course, you may want to make kids exempt from such a pact.
3. Keep exercising
You’re thinking, “Didn’t ElevatePoint just tell me to stop doing it all?” Well, yeah. But exercise is something to keep up for a few reasons:
- It keeps us healthy; no one wants to be sick during the holidays preventing us from parties or doing all the things we’ve committed to
- It releases endorphins that reduce stress
- It burns calories so you can enjoy more fruitcake without the guilt
- It’s a commitment we make to ourselves for “me time” to keep us centered, productive and alert
Year-end for many companies falls around the same time as does IT’s last push to get systems locked down to make year-end happen. If work is crazy, try to figure out how to get things done while on the move. Have a meeting with one person, consider going on a walk to talk about things. You’ll feel better, even as you’re working.
4. Assign holiday tasks
Get your family in on the holiday spirit and spread tasks among them based on their interests. Sure, the tasks may not be done just as you’d like, but they’ll get done. You’ll enjoy time and your family may even enjoy helping.
Even co-workers may want to share the load so you can stay just as productive. Don’t be afraid of raising concerns and issues with your manager. If they can’t spread the work among your team, maybe they can hire assistance for a short period of time so you get projects done and still have time for gatherings with family and friends.
Another idea is to get outside help. If you work for a nonprofit, you may be able to get volunteers to assist who want to giveback to celebrate the holiday season. If you work at a company, you can probably get interns to assist you. Again, talk with your manager for ideas and assistance.
5. Enjoy the moment – be present, laugh and celebrate
Whether you call it meditation, mindfulness, being in the moment, or being present, there is a certain joy in relishing each second as it comes. Research is starting to prove not only will it keep you focused and aware, but it reduces stress. The best part is, it doesn’t take much time to do. If you’ve never done it before, start for short periods of time. Studies have proven even that helps. You can even do it at work in a quiet office.
There’s a great bumper sticker that reads: Life is too short to be taken seriously. Laughter brings us together, connecting us, and it also releases endorphins. No doubt there will be unexpected calamity during the holidays. If you can’t laugh, try to roll with the punches. It’d hard to remember in the moment, but realize even if you’re not laughing now, you may look back and chuckle. Sometimes the craziest stories strengthen family bonds, bringing us closer together in the moment and for years to come. Every family and friendship has at least one or two of those stories. Your workplace probably has a couple of those stories, too. Ours does!
Don’t forget to celebrate and enjoy the meaning of the holiday. Acknowledge accomplishments – yours, your family’s, your friend’s and your co-workers. Enjoy time with team members, family and friends. At work, it strengthens bonds and improves engagement. At home with family and with friends, it strengthens bonds, too.
It can be a jolly holiday if you let it. Perfection isn’t worth seeking anyway. Life, presents, baked goods and more won’t ever be perfect, but they can be delivered with meaning and love. Striving to be the best you can at work is the best you can do, including giving yourself permission to exercise, asking your family for help, taking a few shortcuts, enjoying the moment and stop running yourself ragged. After all, isn’t it enjoying time with friends (including those at work) and family the spirit of the holidays anyway?Communications and IT personnel benefit from intranets that are smart enough to power communications while reducing maintenance time.