It’s no secret that the holidays are a stressful time for the majority of people, and unfortunately this emotion can often spill over into other aspects of life, such as work. It can be be very difficult to concentrate when you’ve got a bunch of other things to plan and prepare for, which not only decreases your efficiency but can also create misdirected frustration and issues with co-workers. This is often compounded by the pressure to close work projects out before the new year, creating even more pressure in this already very demanding season. Here are a few tips for a more enjoyable holiday season in your personal and professional life:

Don’t over-do it

Much of the holiday stress starts at home. You may feel pressure to provide your family and friends with the best possible holiday experience. But consider what that really means – it’s not all about over the top gifts and extravagant decorations, but about being with loved ones. Don’t stress yourself out about making everything perfect, and just enjoy having fun with the people you care about. A few ways you can do this:

  1. Make decorating a family affair and have fun with it! This can be extremely daunting for one person to tackle, but with the whole family involved it turns into a great holiday memory instead of a stressful chore.
  2. Have a cookie decorating party! This is another time-consuming activity that can become exponentially more enjoyable, plus everyone gets to decorate and take home their cookies (if they last that long).
  3. Limit your gift giving. When the holiday spirit strikes, it can be tempting to get a unique and thoughtful gift for every single person you know, but obviously this can become a very stressful task quickly. Make a list of people you’d like to get gifts for, set a budget and stick to it. A small, thoughtful present like a gift card to their favourite coffee shop will certainly be appreciated and won’t take much time at all.

Identify your limits

The weeks leading up to the holiday season can become very overwhelming and exhausting. When you feel physically or emotionally drained, this can certainly affect your ability to produce quality work. It is crucial to allow yourself time during and after work to relax and disconnect. A great way to do this is to enjoy lunch free of your phone, computer, or anything else that could distract you. Read a book you’ve been interested in, take a walk, or just eat your meal in a pretty setting rather than at your desk.

This also goes for your workload. If you find your boss is piling on work and you don’t think you can realistically complete everything before the office closes for the holidays, don’t be afraid to let them know! Perhaps they can put a few things on the back burner or reassign tasks to a coworker who has less on their plate.

Remember what the holidays are all about

It’s not uncommon for people to get swept up in their seemingly never ending list of things to do this time of year. However, it’s important to remember that the holidays, no matter your personal religious beliefs, are a time to connect with friends and family and let them know you care about them. Simple things like bringing a treat to your co-worker who has helped you a lot throughout the year or baking some extra cookies to bring to work can really boost morale in the office and make this challenging time a bit more fun for everyone.

Another fantastic thing you can do at work to brighten the office is to hold a charity drive for a local organization. Helping those that are less fortunate during the holiday season can really help put your own stressors into perspective and help you find the holiday spirit.

In conclusion, try to keep those holiday lists short, and don’t worry if things don’t go exactly as planned!