How to Balance Work and Christmas: A Guide to Relieving Holiday Stress

Luckily, there are plenty of excellent strategies to help you cope with holiday stress and enjoy the festive season. Whether you are working from home, in the office or on the road you can find plenty of ways to manage your workload. The important things to remember are to set boundaries, prioritize self-care and have fun with your family and friends in between.

How can I reduce holiday stress?

Please tell me you have seen Bad Moms 2! It is probably one of the closest examples you will get to seeing modern day holiday stress in action. Holiday stress is a common part of Christmas that affects many people around the world today. It can be caused by various strenuous factors including high expectations and unrealistic goals, financial pressure and overspending, family conflict and drama, social obligations and commitments, lack of time and energy and much, much more. All of which are represented in this movie, which is awesome by the way!

So how do you reduce holiday stress? For starters, you need to identify the sources of your stress. This will allow you to pinpoint exactly where you need to take action. Next, you need to find ways to cope with these stress factors. Some tools you can use to help with this include:

Planning ahead and organizing your tasks

Making a list of everything you need to do before, during and after the holidays is very helpful. Once you have your list break down your tasks into manageable steps and assign deadlines. You can also use a calendar or a planner to keep track of your schedule and appointments around this time of year. Finally, delegate some tasks to other family members and get them to help if possible. This will free up more time for yourself.

Setting a realistic budget and sticking to it

It’s the thought that counts, right?! Money is one of the biggest causes of holiday stress today but avoiding it is really easy. You just need to set a realistic budget for your holiday expenses such as gifts, food, travel, entertainment, etc. Tracking your spending and avoiding impulse buying can make you feel so much better in the long run too. Look for ways to save money by shopping online and comparing prices. Using coupons is a great idea while making homemade gifts can be a great option that is both affordable and from the heart.

Communicate and compromise with your family

Family is another major source of holiday stress, especially when you are all cooped up in one house together. To help you avoid the unnecessary family drama all you need to do is communicate and compromise with your family members. Express your needs and expectations clearly but respectfully. They will understand at the end of the day. However, make sure you listen to their opinions and feelings as well without judging or criticizing them. If you are flexible and willing to adjust your plans and avoid topics that may trigger arguments you will be just fine!

Setting boundaries to reduce holiday stress

Social obligations and commitments are very popular at this time of year with everyone suddenly having free time to meet up. This can be very stressful if you have lots of friends wanting to meet up while juggling work and family. It’s not the nicest thing to do but to avoid social stress you need to learn to say no and set boundaries. You don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way and you have the right to decline if their plans don’t suit you or make you uncomfortable. You also have the right to limit your contact with people who are toxic or negative and this includes family!

Take care of yourself and practice self-care

Self-care is essential for everyday life as well as relieving holiday stress. You need to take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Especially with the added stress factors around Christmas time. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat well, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, etc. Also, make time for activities that make you happy, relaxed and fulfilled. This could be anything from reading to meditating, listening to music or watching a movie. Remember, it’s what makes YOU happy that’s important!

How can I deal with family pressure during the holidays?

Family can be a pain at the best of times but the added stress of Christmas always creates dramas during the silly season. The last thing you want to do is deal with the added pressure of family disputes when you have anxiety over the holidays. Some pressures from family that you might relate to include:

– Parents who expect you to follow their traditions

– Siblings who compete with you

– Relatives who ask intrusive questions

– Your partner having different preferences and opinions

– Children who are attention seeking and behave badly

So how do you deal with the added stress? Well, you nip it in the butt before it starts! You need to be assertive and take charge letting your family know the rules and how you would like to be treated. Some other tips to help you with family pressure during the holidays include:

Being honest with your family

If you feel pressured by your family don’t be afraid to speak up and express your feelings. Tell them what you want and don’t want during your time with them and explain your reasoning so that they can see where you are coming from. Try not to be aggressive with them as this can devolve into an argument.

Being empathetic with your family

If your family feels offended by your choices don’t be dismissive about it. Try to understand their feelings and motivations without being judgmental towards them because you don’t share the same view. Also make sure to acknowledge their concerns without being sarcastic or patronizing.

Being firm with your family

If your family tries to manipulate you don’t be indecisive. Stick to your guns and reinforce your boundaries if you have to but remember to be firm yet fair. This will help your family realise they can’t push you around and will help them respect your decisions.

Being appreciative with your family

How can I avoid burnout during the holidays?

When you suffer a ‘burnout’ you are in a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that can result from prolonged periods of stress. The stress can come in various forms but still puts strain on the body over time. The burnout that results is basically your body telling you that it is done! It’s had enough of all the crap and it’s checked out for the foreseeable future.

Manage your workload and expectations

Work is one of the main causes of burnout. To avoid work-related stress you need to manage your workload and expectations. Don’t take on more work than you can handle and if someone pushes extra work onto you give them a firm NO! Also be mindful of setting unrealistic goals for the holidays. It’s a time to manage the work you have, not cause an overload. Also don’t leave things to the last minute as this will cause added stress.

Take breaks and recharge to reduce holiday stress

Proper breaks are essential for avoiding burnout. Unfortunately, the odd day off doesn’t cut it! You need to have extended time off to take care of yourself. This can be from 4 to 5 days or even a few weeks. You need to take breaks from work and other stressful activities regularly so you can unwind and recharge your batteries. We are not robots after all! Proper breaks allow you to relax, refresh and refocus your energies so you can come back stronger than before.

Seek support from others

If you feel like you may be on your way to experiencing a burnout or are in the middle of one it is important that you seek support and advice as soon as possible. Talking to others such as your family, doctor or employer can help you cope with stress and improve your health and performance. Also listen to what your body is telling you, if you are run down take some time to rest and recover, etc.

How can I stay productive during the holidays?

Staying productive during the holidays can be difficult with all the distractions of the silly season going on around you. On top of that you have family commitments and the kids to look after during the school break! So, how does all this affect your productivity? Well, your productivity is impacted by a variety of factors such as:

– Your motivation and interest

– Your skills and knowledge

– Your tools and resources

– Your environment and distractions

– Your habits and routines

When your motivation is down, you’re surrounded by distractions and your routine is thrown out the window it can be very hard to stay productive. So, to help you improve your productivity during the holidays you need to work on creating the best conditions to help you get those tasks done! 

Some helpful tips that will ensure you stay productive during the holidays include:

Motivating Yourself

Motivation and having a keen interest in what you do are essential for productivity. You’re obviously not going to want to do something you have no interest in! So to stay motivated in your work and other activities you need to find a purpose or passion in it. Even the smallest joy in a task can do wonders for your motivation level. Therefore, you should consider why you need to do the task at hand, how it benefits you and what the end goal is that you want to achieve.

Improving your skills

Skills, and in turn, knowledge can definitely improve your productivity. Knowing how to do a task, for starters, is important but acquiring new skills and knowledge also helps your motivation. Practising your existing skills is important as well and helps you streamline your processes and action tasks faster. Whether you are learning or practising your skills it is always beneficial to look at ways you can improve and be more efficient.

Relying on your resources

Relying on the tools and resources at your disposal can help you save time and increase your productivity. Think of them as helpful aids that will work for you in order to get the job done. Choosing the right tools or resources for the task is also important. Consider what you have at your disposal, what you might need or how you can improve what you have to complete the task.

Removing distractions

There is nothing worse than trying to work in a noisy and disruptive environment. It creates frustration, lowers motivation and reduces productivity tenfold. That is why it is important to create a peaceful and relaxing environment where you can get the job done! Consider what kind of environment you like to work in, how you can create that environment and how you can remove or avoid distractions. This will get you well on the way to being a busy bee!

Establish a routine

Having a routine that you stick to even during the holiday period is great for maintaining your productivity. Doing certain tasks each day and making them a habit is a powerful tool to have. If you are struggling to turn your habits into a routine or sticking with them during Christmas you need to practice time management. This will allow you to plan your time effectively so you can get all your tasks done and still have time to spend with your family.

Seeking Professional Advice To Reduce Holiday Stress

Please be advised this information may help but is NOT a replacement for professional health advice. If you are feeling unwell please speak to a medical professional.