5 Tips for Managing Stress Over the Holidays

Posted on November 26, 2018

With the holidays around the corner, steeling yourself against personal stressors–cooking 20 pounds of turkey meat for 15 is no sweat, right? But it’s also worth preparing for the holiday stressors that may not be as top of mind this time of year: work stress.

Navigating employees’–and your own–time off while also meeting your deadlines can be tricky. But it can be done. Katie Sandler, a wellness and professional coach, has some choice advice for managing holiday stress. Here are her five top tips:

1. Create an end-of-year game plan.

Plow your stress energy into creating a game plan–one that includes managing your health and priorities at work. “Stay on track with your sleep, exercise, and social connections,” Sandler says, adding: Write “bullet point objectives for each month.” Ideally, by writing everything down, you’ll have resources to refer to when holiday schedules become distracting.

2. Talk about your goals with others.

Talking to others about your holiday game plan and goals not only keeps you accountable to see them through but it “helps get your thoughts together,” Sandler says. What else helps? “Realizing you’re not alone and you can strategize with others on how best to manage.”

3. Put time aside for yourself.

Sure, the holidays are all about giving to others, but it’s also OK to be selfish and give yourself some undivided attention, too. “Put aside five, 10, 15 minutes a day to do something for yourself with intention,” Sandler advises. “Being on autopilot and aimless online shopping or looking at Instagram doesn’t count.”

Maybe that includes getting away from your desk and walking outside, or if it’s too cold, you could find a new place in the office to sit and listen to a favorite song or two.

“No one ever took a few intentional minutes to de-stress and said, ‘Dang, I wish I hadn’t done that,'” Sandler adds.

4. Know your boundaries and stick to them.

You might feel like you have to do everything and be everywhere, especially when technology makes it so easy. But it’s just not the case. You might be missed, but your time and energy is limited, so use it wisely. “Decide what events you want to be a part of, and don’t feel pressured to show up somewhere, like a holiday work party, unless you think it will be a good time,” Sandler says.

5. Use the slower work pace to your advantage.

Instead of getting frustrated that everyone else is slow to respond to emails or away from their desk completely, Sandler advises to “take a deep breath and slow down.” By pausing, it “enables us to envision work goals with a different and more creative perspective.”

Plus, once you feel rested, you can use that energy to “be the one to stand out and feel rightfully empowered for doing so,” compared with others who might still be slogging along.