How To Manage Burnout During the Holiday Season
For many, this is the merriest time of year.
However, it is also among the most stressful.
It is okay, both things can be possible at the same time.
Between juggling festive commitments to family and friends, kids’ time off from school and resulting childcare issues, holiday shopping for the perfect gifts, juggling networking events, likely grieving and missing loved ones lost, and attempting to work full-time career…it is… a lot.
Here is some advice for managing it all while without losing your mind at work or home:
- Make your to-do list…and check it twice: make a daily list of things that must get done and things that can wait. Check it in the morning and then again mid-day. Adjust as needed.
- Let Santa do some online shopping: while those of us who already order everything online may find this wild, there are many folks out there who still drive for hours and days on end from store to store looking for festive gear, gifts and stocking stuffers. If this is you (it is certainly my busy sister!), consider doing at least some shopping online. For example, this year I blocked out this past Sunday afternoon during football to do all of my shopping. I even had the 100 or so boxes shipped direct to my mom’s house, which is where we do all of our wrapping, to save the time loading my car and making trips over there as I bought things.
- Print out a calendar: you and your family are smart to print out a calendar and post it somewhere other than the desktop of the computer. By having it on the fridge or in a community space, we can all see – even the kids and fellow family members – what is happening when in real time versus needing to log on to anything. There is just something about seeing things handwritten that makes them stick.
- Communicate early and often: if you are taking time off, communicate it to colleagues, clients, and others now. And then next week, and then a final reminder right before you log off for the rest of the year. Plan your out of office. Make things clear. Add the time off schedule to agendas, staff meetings and your signature line now.
- Fight the guilt: I know, this is tough. But you have to fight the guilt over taking true time off every single time you communicate it. You deserve it. Your family deserves it. Do it.
- Having some sadness, let it out: we are all missing someone this time of year, likely several folks. Often, sharing the good times about that person, especially memories about the holidays, is hard for some while needed by others. This can be tricky and lead to fights or hurt feelings. It is worth reaching out to your company’s HR team to see what types of counseling support you might have access to and take advantage. Or even put your feelings in writing in advance of the holidays and share with others so they know your boundaries.
- Sleep! I feel like not a day goes by without someone (me included) talking about all of the sleep he/she/they are not getting. Talking about stress and lack of things like sleep can be addicting. Fight the urge to see things like this as a badge of honor. Download a meditation app instead.
And finally, it may be cliché, but focus on what you can control. And understand that you cannot control everything at work or home.