The holidays can be the most festive and fun time of year — or they can be the busiest and most exhausting time of year. When December comes, so do the holiday invitations – to family gatherings, business parties, social events, and church functions. All too often our jam-packed schedule simply wears us out. We’re so preoccupied with trying to do it all that we miss out on the fun and enjoyment of the holidays. We end up feeling fatigued and overwhelmed. By the time January 2nd rolls around, we’re grateful the holidays are over. Here are a few tips to help make sure you don’t get overbooked during the holidays.
Prioritize – Reflect on the purpose of the holiday. What’s most important to you? Spending time with family? Participating in religious or church activities? Or attending business functions? Categorize the events into categories: a) must attend, b) attend if possible, and c) skip.
Schedule early – For your high priority events, schedule them early. If family traditions are important to you, schedule a date for the family to cut down a Christmas tree or to make a trip to the city to view the holiday lights and window displays. At work, coordinate schedules in advance with your department members to schedule a holiday lunch.
Be willing to say “no” – Don’t put undue pressure on yourself to try to do it all. Recognize that you may not be able to accept all holiday invitations. Be selective about which invitations you’ll accept. If you’re not able to attend a party, look for alternate ways to spend time your friend; for example, doing some Christmas shopping together or meeting for lunch at a later date.
The bottom line is that you want to make the holidays as stress-free as possible. By following these tips you’ll avoid becoming exhausted and experience more fun and enjoyment.
According to a recent poll conducted by Time magazine, one in four people check their mobile phone every 30 minutes, and one in five checks it every 10 minutes. The survey found that nearly one-third of 25 to 29-year-olds actually sleep with their phones! We check text and emails, and update our online status, at any hour – when we’re lying in bed or sitting at stop lights or on trains. Sometimes, we even do so when we’re on the toilet.
For some workers, what at first may have felt like an obligation has become an obsession. One could argue that, especially in this economy, it’s wise to be constantly wired – to stay on top of email, to please the boss. But what about the downside? What does this do to our physical, mental and emotional health? We all need downtime – time to renew and refresh ourselves on a regular basis in order to be more productive over the long run.
We need to set limits in order to unplug from our wired world. We need to take time to ourselves – with no cell phones, no PDAs, and no laptops – to reenergize. Google and Nike, among others, provide space for employees to take naps or to meditate – a welcome respite from a busy, hectic workday. One organization called Reboot has started the Sabbath Manifesto, a call to unplug one day a week to find solitude – or to simply take a day of rest with family and friends. We all need a day of rest each week to recharge. Even God, who created the heavens and earth, rested on the seventh day! On an annual basis, we all need a vacation – an unwired vacation with no checking email and voicemail in our absence. If we’re still connected with the office, that’s not a true vacation. We need that time to rejuvenate so when we come back to the office we’re well rested and ready to tackle our work again.
So how about unplugging for an hour, a day, or a week? Consider taking a meditation break during the work day, or a Sabbath day of rest, or a week-long vacation. The peace and solitude will do you wonders!