6 Ways to Cope With End of the Year Stressors in Business and Life (During the Holiday Season)


‘Tis the season for frayed nerves due to:

End-of-year deadlines.

Countless hours spent tying up business transactions you want to have on the books before year-end.

Stressed out clients pressed for time - who need to speak with you now!

Holiday luncheons that take up too many hours of the day.

And if truth be told, at this point you would prefer a root canal without anesthesia rather than attend one more business holiday cocktail party.

And I’ve only just begun.

The extra demands placed on our time closing out year end business, along with our regular professional responsibilities – combined with all the additional activities and “to do lists” added to our personal lives during the holiday season – leaves many of us feeling exhausted overwhelmed and totally stressed out.

Now don’t get me wrong. The holiday season is a wonderful and joyous time of year. Decorations, gifts and festivities brighten up our lives.

The holidays give us an opportunity to spend time with the ones we love – reminding us that our life is truly enriched (if not defined) by the relationships we cherish.

However, all the extra activities (both at work and at home) that need to get done, without the benefit of one extra second in the day, leaves many of us spinning out of control. We spend our days breathlessly rushing from one event to the next event.

Many of us are too frenzied and stressed out to enjoy much of anything.

So how can you get your all business taken care of, while finding time to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends – without feeling totally stressed? (We could outsource some of our work to Santa and his elves, if they weren’t so busy taking care of the kids).

Following are six simple ways for you to deal with the stress of the holiday season – so you get to enjoy its magic and excitement. (Do not underestimate the power of simplicity!)

1. Breathe. Sounds so simple right? You’d be surprised how often we forget to breathe properly, especially when pressed for time or stressed out.

Breathing provides oxygen to the brain. If the brain is not appropriately oxygenated, it is impossible to think clearly and/or make good decisions.

The appropriate way to breathe is to inhale deeply for four seconds, then exhale slowly and deliberately for four seconds. Click here​ to read more about how to breathe properly.

2. Prioritize your professional and personal responsibilities – and include only items that absolutely positively must get done. Then assign a realistic timeframe needed to complete the tasks.

All the business things that you think would be nice if they got done before January – is not a priority. Scratch them off your list. They can wait until next year.

When it comes to gift shopping – make a list and prioritize who gets what. Do not go to the same store twice. That is a total waste of your time.

The Internet is perhaps the best time saver known to man. Take advantage of it.

3. Sleep. Forgoing sleep in an effort to get everything done usually backfires. At work, we are less efficient and productive when sleep deprived. We make mistakes we normally wouldn’t make (and then we have to take the time to correct these mistakes, assuming we catch them).

When sleep deprived, minor annoyances are often blown out of proportion.

Sleep deprivation makes us moody and irritable. It usually makes us not that much fun to be around. For some interesting information on the effects of sleep and sleep deprivation published by Harvard Medical School go to: http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters

Get your sleep. It will make you, and everyone around you feel better while putting you in a good mood.

4. Eat Healthy. Food provides fuel for our body (which includes our brain). Do your best to make healthy food choices during the holiday season. Not skipping meals is the best way to avoid stuffing yourself with junk food.

As much as is humanely possible, avoid the office kitchen where holiday cookies, cakes, chocolates and donuts seem to appear out of thin air on an hourly basis.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t eat the traditional food and desserts that symbolize the holiday season for you and your family, and that you love - but those foods should not be the only foods you eat.

5. Drink in moderation. One or two drinks might relax you –but after that well, it can get ugly.

As the commercial says: “drink responsibly.” Enough said.

6. Exercise. Physical activity keeps your body and mind healthy. I know, I know, I can hear you saying: “Who has the time?” My response is: “We make the time for the things that are important to us.” So make the time.

If you don’t like to hit the gym, stay physically active by taking the stairs, instead of the elevator. Park your car in the garage away from the entrance so you have to walk a little bit. You get the idea. Simple activities get the job done too. Read this article published by the Mayo Clinic for more information on the benefits of exercise and physical activity: Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity - Mayo Clinic

Don’t be stressed out this holiday season! Follow the tips above to make sure you get to actually enjoy this time of year!

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