5 Sure Ways Any Business Owner Can Keep Holiday Stress at a Minimum
By: Kathleen Ries-Jubenville | Category: Gratitude | Read time: 3 minutes
Running a business is a challenge on the best of days, but during the holidays when we are shopping for gifts, decorating our homes, and planning family get-togethers, juggling all of it can feel overwhelming. But I wish for you to be able to enjoy your time with you family and be present in your traditions. So, here are 5 sure ways any business owner can keep holiday stress at a minimum!
1. Keep it simple!
If you are anything like me, you have at least ten boxes of holiday decorations in your garage. It's fun, but also exhausting and time-consuming to hang every ornament and set out all the knick-knacks. If you are having a busy work season or are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to scale the holiday work back. You can order a pre-cooked meal instead of cooking from scratch. You can set out just your favorite decorations. You can plan a "Secret Santa" gift exchange instead of buying a gift for every guest. You are a business owner, so I know you are full of creative ideas! Apply that skill to think of creative ways to simplify your holiday activities.
2. Make a plan and prepare!
Whenever I feel stressed, I take a few minutes to organize my thoughts and make a plan. It helps me regain control of my emotions and my schedule. Since I can predict the holidays will be a time of stress, I am now in the habit of planning the last couple of months of the year. First, I coordinate with my family about who will host which holiday get-togethers. I also remind myself to limit the festivities to only one or two friend or client parties so I don't overcommit. Then, I schedule time on my calendar to put up the decorations, write and send Christmas cards, shop for all the gifts, and wrap them. I learned the hard way when I was wrapping presents at midnight on Christmas Eve and was exhausted the next day! Finally, if we are hosting the big holiday family meal, I create a meal plan, a shopping list, and a cooking schedule. Then, the day before, we set up the extra tables and chairs, iron the tablecloths, prepare all the place settings, and pre-cook any side dishes that can be warmed up the next day. It is still a lot of work, but the planning and preparation reduces the stress during the month and on the day of the holiday.
3. Ask for help!
Business owners are wired to get things done themselves. We will just get in there and do it all, and do it great! But just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should do it all. When we do this to ourselves, we create unnecessary stress, taking ourselves out of the fun and relational part of the holidays, and - hear me out - taking away the opportunity for others to enjoy contributing to the festivities. Yes, getting others involved, especially the kids, can slow the process down. But working together empowers them and creates a time of bonding and memories. So, ask for help, even if you don't think you need it!
4. Schedule breaks!
If you can take some time off for the holidays, do it. If you can reduce the number of meetings, do it. The best days to take off are the days before and after the holiday to give you time to prepare, to clean up, to enjoy your family, and to take a nap! If you still want to get some work done, another idea is to tell everyone you are out of the office and just spend that time working on your business, instead of in it. This is a good time to review the prior year's progress, successes, and lessons learned and plan for the upcoming year's goals. Another great activity during the holidays is to learn a new business skill by taking an online class or participating in a 5-day challenge. And, of course, try to get outside. Listen to the birds. Enjoy the crisp air. Breathe and let the sun shine on your face.
5. Remember the reason for the season!
The best way to keep holiday stress at a minimum is to remember the reason for the season. For me, Thanksgiving is gratitude for the abundance we enjoy, our home and food. It is gratitude for my family and friends. And it is gratitude for the opportunities I have to build a business that can help so many people while allowing me to express my creativity and live a lifestyle I enjoy. And Christmas is about love. The love God showed us by sending His son, Jesus, to give each of us grace and hope. The love of my family and friends. And the love most people have for each other in this world. People of all faiths, celebrating holidays in their own traditions together. People of all colors and preferences and occupations and situations. If you get stressed during the holiday season, go outside and look up at the stars and consider how amazing it is to be alive right here, right now. No matter how challenging and unusual things seem right now in the world, the stars are still twinkling the same way. And love is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)