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The Essential Holiday Survival Kit: Balancing Work with Holiday Rigors

The snow is falling, shopping catalogs are arriving on the daily, and radio stations are streaming those dulcet seasonal tunes 24/7.

The holidays are upon us.

As children, this time of year always held a certain magical and ethereal element that couldn’t be explained. While we may still feel that familiar pull on our heartstrings occasionally throughout the season, that sense of wonder has faded as we’ve eased into adulthood. The stresses of balancing careers with personal commitments this time of year can be daunting to say the least.

But here’s the well-kept secret: that childhood wonder still abounds and is just waiting for you to unlock it! Here are a few ways to help remove yourself from the stress and the tension of our adult-fueled holidays and reclaim that wonder and merriment.

Make Your Spirits Bright: Schedule Family Time

Family is one of the most crucial elements of the holiday. Spending time with your loved ones, reuniting with relatives you see only once a year, and investing quality time in the relationships that meant the world to you. As these times are best spent without work whispering in your ear, set calendar appointments to leave work a little early on days where your schedule lightens. Plan a family shopping excursion, put up those Christmas lights, or go on a hike through a snowy winter wonderland. By making it a priority and scheduling these times as you would a meeting, you’ll feel less stressed about trying to fit in family and balancing work.

Don’t Be Naughty, Be Nice: Maneuvering Family Visits

Extended family reunions can be both joyous and stressful. While your family events may not echo the dysfunction of Griswold proportions, there’s bound to be some high-tension moments or awkward exchanges. If you’re bunking with relatives or they’re staying with you, try using work as a way to re-center yourself and recharge your batteries in quiet spot. Check your emails, knock out those easy admin tasks, or tackle a light project. Don’t be anti-social but when family has gone to bed or are out running errands, take the time to get yourself back to neutral, while still being productive.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Selectively Celebrate

From office parties and neighborhood dinners, to school functions, and more, the holiday season can sometimes feel like more work than play. Embrace the annual traditions that remind you of the season but be selective in your commitments. You don’t have to say yes to every work or personal function to properly celebrate the holidays. By hand-selecting the events that mean the most to you, you can still channel the holiday whimsy without needing a holiday to recover from your holiday.

Also, if that Christmas tree is still waiting to be purchased, or the Thanksgiving feast has yet to be planned due to a hectic work schedule, consider mixing up your traditions for the year. Make reservations at a fancy restaurant for your Thanksgiving meal. Forego the Christmas tree in favor of some easier Pinterest-inspired decorations that will still bring the essence of the season into your home. By eliminating some of the holiday roadblocks that your schedule won’t allow for, you and your family can find a deeper sense of peace this year while breathing new life into your holiday traditions.

Goodwill Towards Men: Volunteer

The holidays are a great time to give back to your community! Spend a few evenings helping out a soup kitchen to ensure others can celebrate the holidays with a warm meal. Sponsor a family to fund holiday meals for families in need. There are so many ways to help; so schedule some time and go pay it forward. If holiday rigors are stressing you out, giving back to your fellow man can also help put many of your everyday struggles and deficits into a healthier perspective.

For those of you working in retail or dreading the professional push the holidays bring, you too can eke out coveted moments of joy during this high-stress season. While you may be hard at work in the wee hours on Black Friday or unable to partake in the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s all about enjoying the little things. Stream your favorite holiday music in the car, decorate your desk at work for added cheer. If you’re working from home, queue up your favorite holiday movie in the background. Finding little ways to punctuate your hectic schedule with the elements of the holiday you love most will help lighten your mood and still give you a sense of merriment for the season.

Burchard & Associates specializes in accounting and finance recruiting across all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution, healthcare, financial services, and more.

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