The answer to holiday AND work stress
How do you actually feel about the holidays and the end of the year? I have noticed over the last week when I ask people this question, I often get a response outlining how much they have to do, how behind they are, how they are anxious about who they are seeing, what they need to bring, buy, or wear.
More often, they recite a litany of stress instead of the things they are looking forward to.
This week I even heard, “I can’t wait for it to all be over.”
That particular statement just made me sad.
But I get it, I’m not immune to the stress of the season and I’m certainly not immune to the stress of all the people around me.
To make it worse, we feel like this SHOULD be a happy time of year, which just makes us more stressed that we’re stressed.
It’s not unlike the experience at work, a lot of stress, a lot of obligation, a lot of juggling and the underlying belief that it shouldn’t be this hard, especially since we thought this is what we wanted to do.
So what can you do to feel better, to enjoy some of the good parts of the end of the year and of work? What can you do if avoiding stress just isn’t a viable option?
What can you do if the reality is that there IS a lot to do, the work IS difficult, and you are STILL going to be juggling all the things?
Look for little windows of respite.
I know this sounds simple but I have tried it and know for a fact that it works.
In order for this to work, you have to give up the all-or-nothing idea that days are good OR bad, seasons are stressful OR peaceful.
The truth is, work can be stressful, with little windows of respite.
The holidays can be difficult, with little windows of respite.
Relationships can be hard, with little windows of respite.
Not sure what I mean? Respite is defined as “a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.”
Sign me up. A short period of relief can have a huge protective effect against burnout.
Holiday burnout, work burnout, family burnout. You name it, this can help.
What happens if you start looking for these little windows of respite in your day to day? Maybe it’s the first few minutes upon arrival at work when you catch up with your colleagues. Maybe it is the sigh of relief when you actually get all caught up at work. Maybe it’s when a patient sincerely thanks you and you stop to actually hear and receive it.
Sure, these things might not happen every day, but if we don’t look for them, they will pass right by and with them, the relief and joy they can.
Even if your holidays are super busy, or you have year-end personal business that is overwhelming, the windows of respite are there.
-running errands in your comfiest clothes ever
-chatting with a friend on the phone while wrapping presents
-spending some evenings watching classic movies with your family (even if your day was otherwise awful).
-going to bed early, because you can, or staying in bed for a few extra minutes in the morning
-laughing hysterically over a tik tok and sending it to your friends
-facetiming with nieces and nephews
-stopping for a delicious coffee
Really all of this is a roundabout way of staying grounded in the moment so that you don’t miss the good ones, no matter how brief.
These windows of respite will hit the reset button for you. They will challenge the absolute thinking that EVERYTHING is so hard. And once that mindset starts to crumble, the happiness of the season AND of work can start to finagle its way in.
And you can feel better.
Have an amazing week and reach out to me if you need help. I have openings now for my 6 week program, How to Love the Job you Can’t Afford to Leave. Don’t wait until the new year. Feeling better is available right now.