Your partner tells you that your in-laws are coming to stay at your place for Thanksgiving (because asking them to get a hotel would be simply out of the question). Your mind starts racing. You can already hear it; the criticism from your father-in-law about the state of the house – how you haven’t raked the lawn, or fixed the leak in the sink, or fixed the front rail. Your mother-in-law tells you that the turkey is a little dry (not like hers, of course) and the living room should really be painted. And on top of it all, you have 4 holidays parties to attend, 3 performance reviews to conduct, and 2 major projects to finish by the end of the month (and a partridge in a pear tree).
If you’ve ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you might be feeling a bit like Clark Griswold right now; you just want to have the perfect holiday, but everything seems to be working against you.
The holiday season is upon us, and for many this also means the onset of constant stress.
Maybe it’s the thought of spending a lot of time with family and in-laws or maybe it’s coordinating travel. It could even be the stress of a tight budget with a growing list of holiday expenses. Whatever the reason, the holidays, while often one of the most joyful times of year, often cause significant stress.
In addition to the stress in our personal lives, the holidays can also be a stressful time at work.
The holiday season falls right in line with the end of the calendar year, which just so happens to be the time that many businesses are trying to wrap up their affairs, spend down budgets, conduct performance reviews, and close out pending projects. Many employees choose to take time off during these weeks, which either leaves a larger workload on those of us still in the office or causes projects to remain on-hold until everyone returns in the new year.
Although it often feels frustrating and unfair that your plate is full while others are off, by planning ahead for these situations, there are actions you can take to sidestep and mitigate much of the related stress. Learning to breathe and laugh it off is a good place to start! But next it’s a good idea to make adjustments, preparations, and contingency plans that can help the holidays become that most WONDERFUL (and not most stressful) time of year once again.
It’s also a great time to start thinking about New Year’s. Make it a 2019 personal or staff development goal to learn tips and techniques to conquer stress, improve time management, or get organized through one of my customizable workshops.
Photo: “National-Lampoon-s-Christmas-Vacation-chevy-chase-fanclub-25408780-1280-720” photo by Travis, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.