The holidays can be a lot of fun, but they can also add extra stress to your already busy life. Work-life balance can be elusive enough during the rest of the year, but by the time Thanksgiving is through, it can feel like it's truly stood up and walked out on you. If you're looking to find more ease in this "most wonderful time of the year," here are some ways to shift gears:
Take a lunch break. Instead of eating at your desk while continuing to work, carve out time for a true, old-fashioned break. If there's shopping near your workplace, head out and tick gifts off your list during this hour. Bonus: You'll be avoiding the frantic weekend crush in the stores.
Look into a flexible schedule. Are you able to do some of you work from home, or would working different hours improve your life? You could gain back valuable time by not having to commute, or by at least avoiding rush hour traffic. Chat with your employer about adopting a non-traditional schedule or working remotely. It won't be possible for everyone, but you won't know how much potential there is until you ask. If you're running your own business, you're in the enviable position of making these decisions for yourself, so decide where you can cut yourself a break.
Grab some daylight. Leaving work in the dark is a downer, so make a point of getting outside during the day. Whether it's that lunch break you've carved out or a walk around the block with your coworker buddies, take in some fresh air and sunshine. It'll help reset your energy for the rest of the afternoon.
Get organized & prioritize. Part of the harried feeling of the holidays is simply juggling so many moving parts. Now's the time to tack them down. Figure out what absolutely must get done and by when, and make a plan for how to accomplish that. Let the rest wait until after the New Year.
Let go of perfection. The holidays often challenge us to be the best at everything: a home decor wizard, a gourmet cook, a gingerbread house architect supreme, a spot-on gift giver, a hostess-with-the-mostest, the World's Greatest Parent, the life of the party, and someone who thrives on long car rides to visit the extended family. All while remaining a high-functioning employee or business owner, right? It's too much to expect of one person, and the truth is, you probably have higher expectations for yourself than anyone else does. So take it down a notch. Revel in your imperfectly frosted cookies (they still taste good!), sit back and people-watch during the staff holiday party, order takeout for your Friendsmas dinner, and don't punish yourself for not doing everything at 110%.
Also, remember that it's OK to...
Say no. This is a hard one, but get good at it and it will serve you well. Here's where you really put prioritizing and letting go of perfection to practice. Stop feeling obligated to say yes to every invitation, every family demand, and every expectation you have of yourself to be unfailingly enthusiastic and tireless. Begin to politely decline the invitations and offers that don't excite you, that will sap your time and energy, and that just don't serve you at this time of year; there will be more where they came from. For now, carve out the time and space for what you need to do most. Which includes just being quiet. Which brings us to...
Rest. There's a tendency towards constant movement at this time of year, with shopping, decorating, and gathering keeping us flitting around. But (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) the days are also nearing their shortest, and with the waning light comes a natural urge to slow down, nest, and get sleepy. There's something to be said for that. While you're trying to balance your social, work, and family obligations, make sure you're getting full nights of sleep, enjoying some weekend naps, and sitting back and relaxing. It'll keep you at peak performance, including helping to fight off those cold and flu germs that would love to take you down at the most inopportune time.
Find some hygge, in and out of work. Hygge is all the rage this year. If you're not familiar with this trendy philosophy yet, take a page from the Danish. As VisitDenmark.com explains, "In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people....[It's] a way of life that has helped Danes understand the importance of simplicity, time to unwind and slowing down the pace of life....The high season of hygge is Christmas, when Danes pull out all the hygge stops." For you, this might mean making our homes feel warm and cozy, both physically and aesthetically (blankets, candles, lighting, etc.); spending time in good conversation with friends; soaking in the bath; or sipping an indulgent hot drink by the fire. Here are some more ways to embrace hygge.
When you boil it down, finding balance during the holidays is about slowing down the mind and body, getting intentional, savoring the small things, and finding your personal source of enjoyment in this season.