Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the Andy Williams holiday song goes. Christmas is all about wonder, amazement, giving, caring, celebrating and getting together with family and friends to be merry.
The Christmas season can also be quite stressful, though, with planning and executing required on Christmas present shopping, holiday decorations for your house and possibly even party planning.
At work, the Christmas season is often one of the busiest times of the year, especially if you are in the retail industry. While the Black Friday and Cyber Monday “holidays” originated in the United States, they have become ever more popular around the world, including in Australia. These are times when retailers and non-retailers alike try to take advantage of the busy Christmas shopping season by offering sales, discounts and promotions to their customers.
While the push from consumers to spend money — and from business owners to rake in as much revenue as possible before the end of the year — creates quite the fervor, it also can create quite the amount of stress.
And that’s why, in mid-October, we’re talking about planning ahead for Christmas. By implementing proper time and stress management strategies, you’ll be able to avoid last-minute adjustments that can cause anxiety and worry, instead allowing you to enjoy the Christmas season the way you want.
As psychologist and author Robert Epstein says, 25 percent of happiness is based around how well we are able to manage our stress.
Here are Four Key Strategies you can implement to Reduce Christmas-related Stress in both your personal and professional life.
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- Plan Ahead
It seems like every year, Christmas arrives earlier than the year before. Not actually, of course, but metaphorically. Retailers begin displaying Christmas items in early November or even late October, and marketing materials around the holiday appear earlier and earlier.
The main reason for this is to try to capture as many potential customers as possible, and not rely so much on last-minute shoppers and decisions to fuel fourth-quarter revenue.
However, there is some good advice that can come out of this trend. By getting an early start on Christmas — at least from a planning perspective — you’ll be able to eliminate potential stress-inducing situations.
In your personal life, this could mean taking out the Christmas decorations from the garage in mid-November so you can get them up throughout the house a little bit at a time. It could also mean planning your Christmas meals early so you’re not scrambling last minute to buy the necessary ingredients.
In your professional life, you could create a calendar of important dates, deadlines or milestone goals for you and your team so you can make early adjustments to your daily schedules if necessary.
- Limit Your Participation
There’s always a lot of pressure to attend events and/or do activities during Christmas. And while these events are part of what makes Christmas so enjoyable, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by overcommitting.
Make a priority list of the top five Christmas activities you want to do, and then do just those activities. This could mean doing one Christmas lights drive-by instead of five, or attending one Christmas party instead of three.
At work, if you don’t think you can handle being one of the volunteer planners for the office Christmas party, simply don’t do it. You can still participate in other ways, by purchasing ready-made food trays or even donating money to the event.
- Delegate or Ask for Help
The laundry list of tasks to complete at Christmas can be extremely daunting in and of itself. It’s simply too much for one person to handle. But oftentimes, we feel it’s almost our obligation to do more at Christmas, because it’s part of the giving spirit of the holiday.
One of the most effective ways at reducing stress in your personal and professional life is to simply ask for help when you need it. This strategy is good for any time of year, really, but especially so at the busiest times such as Christmas.
At work, delegate tasks you cannot have on your plate right now to another member of the organisation — or ask for help from another manager at the company. Even though your instinct may be to do it yourself since you can guarantee the quality of the work, learning to give up control is one of the most important professional lessons you can learn.
Again, make a priority list of tasks that need to be accomplished, and delegate the ones that are lower down on the list — those that won’t have as big a return on investment for your time.
The same goes for your list of Christmas-related tasks at home. Ask your spouse or significant other to chip in with anything that he or she normally doesn’t do to take a load off your back.
Christmas is also a great time to get the kids involved. Chances are, they’ll look at these holiday-themed tasks as fun activities rather than normal chores.
- Take Some Time Off
One of the best ways to re-charge yourself is to take some good old-fashioned time off. The instinct around Christmas is to take time off around the holiday or a few days before to clean or prep your house for company.
This year, focus on switching things up a bit. Take a Thursday and Friday off in mid-December, and do something fun just for you and your family. Take these days all to yourself, and don’t use them to plan for anything Christmas-related.
This extra time off from work will help you re-charge and will also allow you to actually enjoy the merriment of Christmas, rather than stuffing everything into short weekends.
Time off from work has been proven to promote creativity, keep you healthy, promote overall well-being and even stave off burnout.
You could also encourage your employees to take vacation time as well. This will keep them refreshed for the busy holiday rush at work and make them more productive when you need them most.
These are just four ways you can manage Christmas-related stress, allowing you to enjoy the holiday instead of fretting it, and being more productive at the workplace in the meantime.
And B R E A T H E!
As quickly as it has come around well be into a New Year!
Personal Life Coach, Business Coach & Change Mentor
Hi, I’m Kylie-Ann, it is not the things that happen outside yourself that affect you the most. What goes on inside your head is the most powerful indicator of your success as a person. So, if your thinking becomes clearer and more empowered, so does your life.
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