How To Balance Work And The Holidays

Holiday season is ramping up, along with stress levels. If you consider yourself among the many who experience holiday-related stress, you are in good company. In the U.S., 38 percent of the workforce experience an increase in stress due to the holidays. Here are some pitfalls to avoid, and some tips for balancing work around the holidays.

Just Say No

You’ve been asked to organize the annual office holiday party. Although you know you’ll be looked upon favorably by management, you dread the thought of organizing an event. It’s time to put your health and well-being first and say no. It is sometimes assumed that by saying no you are being rude. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes it’s all in the way you say something. When you decline to organize the party, give a name of a coworker that has volunteered to organize the party instead. This way you are saying no, but also giving an alternative. Granted, you could just straight up say “no,” without any explanation or options. How that is received depends on company culture and to whom you say it. But in the end, the most important thing is to put your mental health first.

Watch Your Spending

People in a lower-middle income bracket ($30,000 to $50,000) report the  greatest  increase in stress during the holidays - 53 percent - than those with higher and lower incomes. Many people pick up extra hours or work a job on the side in order to fund the holidays. But what are you really working towards? Consider whether putting in that extra time really equals a better holiday season. Many find that by the time the holidays roll around, they are exhausted. Some families have started a “one gift only” rule. Each family member draws a name and then gets a gift within a predetermined dollar amount. People really don’t need more stuff. Step away from materialism and spend time together instead. That is what really creates lasting holiday memories.

Some find that along with making more money comes “lifestyle inflation.” You may find yourself spending more money than usual to keep up with what you think people with comparable incomes spend and have. Keep in mind that everyone has different limits on what they will spend, regardless of income. People who really care about you don’t care about what you have — they care more about who you are as a person.


Stay In The Present

Don’t rely on your holiday bonus to “make everything better.” When you take the perspective that your holidays will be better once you get your holiday bonus, you are bound to be disappointed. Some find that the holiday bonus that they were promised never arrives. The concept of “I will be happy when....” is a surefire way to get stuck in a rut. Instead, find joy in the present moment. It may be a challenge to do so at first, but with time you may find yourself drawn to what is going well in your life instead of focusing on what you don’t have. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel angry or upset sometimes — you have every right to have those feelings. It’s what you do with those feelings that counts. Do you try to work through those feelings, or do you find that you tend to get stuck in them? Focus on the present by practicing mindfulness. You’ll find that just by staying in the present moment, you gain so much more from your interactions.

Be Honest With Yourself

It’s okay to not be okay. If you feel overwhelmed, admitting it to yourself is the first step. It’s when you realize that you are overwhelmed that you can take the first step towards feeling like yourself again. Seek counseling to talk with a neutral third-party about your concerns. Sometimes taking a step back and seeing things through someone else’s eyes helps you come up with solutions you might not have seen before. If you’re feeling stressed out, don’t take on new assignments. You may be concerned that it will reflect poorly on you, but your health is the most important thing. If you aren’t healthy, you can’t fulfill the other roles in your life to the fullest. Check if your company offers an employee assistance program. If you need to take time off to just re calibrate, that is perfectly okay.

SOURCE  Forbes - Stephanie Sarkis published on November 20 2019.