Maintaining a Fair Work/Life Balance During the Holiday Season

Published: Nov 17, 2023

 Workplace Issues       
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The holiday season is right around the corner, and that means heavy traffic, busy stores, long lines, and many other stress inducers. Add all that to your work schedule and any preparations you might have to make for holiday parties at home, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for total burnout. Here are some ways to help you maintain your sanity and a fair work/life balance during the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

The first thing you should do is plan your strategy. Make a list of all the things you need to do, and take note of any days when you’re off from work or have extra time. If you think you’ll need to take some time off from work, make sure you put the request in early. The advantage here is that days like Thanksgiving fall on the same day every year, so planning around them is relatively easy.

Use Your Time Wisely

There’s a lot that goes into preparing for the holidays, whether it’s cleaning and making room for visitors, or shopping and dealing with traffic and crowds. Naturally, it would be best to figure out ways to divide your time effectively, so you don’t find yourself feeling drained and stressed.

Your lunch break is a great opportunity to get some shopping done. You might be able to take a trip to a nearby mall or simply sit at your desk and do some online shopping. If you work from home, consider hitting the streets before work, as many stores open earlier during the holidays. The same goes for other preparations such as cleaning or travel planning; use your lunch break or leverage any extra time you have from working remotely.

The bottom line is, if you’re running around after work every day leading up to the holidays, you’ll wind up totally exhausted. Most people do their shopping in the evening or during the day on weekends, so do your best to avoid those times. When it comes to preparations at home, start early, do a little each day, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to relax and recharge.

Avoid Stress Triggers

Stressors can come in a variety of forms, depending on the person. For some, it could be holiday traffic or crowds, while others might find hosting a holiday party stressful. Take inventory of your stressors and devise ways to avoid them. Let’s say you’re particularly stressed by crowds. In this case, do all your shopping online or during times when stores are less crowded.

If you hosted a party for the previous holiday and it was stressful for you, try trading off this year with a friend or family member. Unfortunately, the holidays are a source of stress for many people, and stress can lead to all sorts of problems down the line, so it’s best to find ways to avoid your triggers whenever possible.

Don’t Take on Too Much

Depending on your role at work, things should slow down a bit around the holidays. You could use the extra time to help coworkers or catch up on low-priority work, or you could organize your desk and the files on your computer, but be mindful of your limits. There is no shame in letting yourself enjoy a slower schedule at work. In fact, your personal life will likely be much busier during the holidays, so you’ve got to take the calm wherever you can, even if it’s at work.

If you’re off from work during the holidays, enjoy the downtime. It can be far too easy to check and respond to emails, complete smaller tasks, or continue working on a project, even when you’re supposed to be on vacation. Work isn’t going anywhere, and you’ll be back at it once the holidays are over, so resist the urge to take on too much while trying to survive the holiday season.

Take Care of Yourself

Now that you’ve got your schedule all planned out and work has calmed down, set aside some time to take care of yourself. Engaging in hobbies and getting plenty of rest are crucial to a fair work/life balance, and this is no different during the holiday season. If you don’t exercise or spend a lot of time outside, now’s a great time to start. With a healthy body and mind you’ll be less susceptible to stress, making the holidays far more manageable.

Lastly, make sure you enjoy the holidays. Spread some cheer around the office and at home, and get into the spirit. You’ll be less likely to succumb to stress, and your positivity will help those around you. Try not to worry too much about major projects at work, as there’ll be plenty of time to get back to them when the holidays are over.