I used to work in sales, including retail. I’ve worked a lot of holidays. Now, the way I work affords me that precious week of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day off.
When many people, myself included, put that Out of Office message up, there’s a danger mixed in with the excitement. Here are my tips for surviving the holiday slump.
Balance consumption with production
The holidays are amazing. Ever since we were kids, we work all year thinking about Christmas, Hanukkah, or your Winter Solstice celebration of choice. If you have children, you think of and start planning out a Christmas budget at the beginning of the year (you do, don’t you?).
On Christmas, everyone opens gifts in raucous excitement. Maybe you got what you wanted, maybe you got more than you expected. But now you are home with the kids, and maybe your extended family, for a week, consuming the gifts you’ve all worked hard to obtain.
Too much consumption and not enough production will put you out of balance. If all you do during the week between Christmas and New Year’s is watch TV, play games, and sit, you will feel like you are missing something.
And you are. When you are at work, or in your normal routine (habit loop), you produce and consume in balance. You go to sleep on time. You work out on a regular schedule. You go to work and perform.
The holidays throw that all off. You stop working out. You eat too much food. You stop producing, and start consuming full time.
Balance that out by producing something each day. Work out. Play with your kids. Write a blog post. Finish a special project at home. Deliver some value.
Delivering value is what makes you feel satisfied more easily and more often than consuming.
You need to exercise. I get around 5500 steps a day just getting to and around my desk job. The walk from the parking lot, from my desk to a conference room, from the conference room to a bathroom upstairs – hey, it’s not high intensity exercise.
But it is more activity than we all get being lazy at home.
If you have family staying at your house, and they don’t exercise due to choice or age or disability, don’t stop working out to accommodate them. It doesn’t harm them if you leave the house for an hour to walk, or go to the gym. It does harm you if you let the excuse of guests stop your ability to pump hyper-oxygenated blood into your brain stem.
Get moving every day during the holidays.
Make a list
I got two videogames for Christmas. If I play them to completion, it would probably take about 40 hours of my week. Hey, I’m on vacation, right?
If I make a list of the things I want to do this week, spending 40 hours playing games is probably not at the top of the list. I’ll play them some, but let’s take a quick look at this to-do list (that I’m not-at-all composing on the fly):
- Write a blog post
- Work out each day
- Spend time with the kids each day
- Change the light bulbs under the microwave
- Contact financial advisor to schedule a review of investments in January
- Schedule the recall repair for my car
- Play some videogames after the kids go to bed
Write down all the things you want to do during your holiday vacation. It’s probably 30 items long. Then you can prioritize them.
Make sure that at the end of your holiday, you’ve got the important things done. You will feel accomplished with every important item you check off your list. For every dollop of value you deliver, you will feel better about spending time relaxing.
Do you have special tips or methods for surviving and thriving during the holidays? Please share in the comments!