How to Survive the Holidays Both Professionally and Personally

The Holiday season brings time off, visits with friends and family, stress, obligation, and exhaustion.

This time of the year, I like to remember something Oprah Winfrey said, “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” During the holidays, I believe the struggle for many of us is between how things should look like instead of the quality or intention of the thing itself.

So here are 3 steps for surviving, enjoying, and being grateful during the holidays: 

  1. Identify your intentions. An intention is a high level focus or aim for an event or situation. At work, what is your overall goal for the holidays? If you want quality time off, your intention could be to prioritize critical and high priority items so that they do not nag at you during your vacation. Then, while on your vacation, your intention could be to give your full attention (being present) to the activity or conversation that is occurring at the moment.
  2. Self-Awareness and Management. Without self-awareness and management, you cannot keep track of how you are doing with your intentions. How well are you keeping to your intention, how do you feel about your progress, and how are the people around you responding? For example, if your “To Do” list at work is longer than the time you have before your break, you are likely to have increased stress and people cringe in fear whenever you walk past them. At that point, it’s time to revisit either the intention or the “To Do” list. Above everything else, you want to honor yourself and those around you. 
  3. Be realistic. We are able to see when others have set unrealistic tasks or goals; seeing it in ourselves, however, is much more difficult. When we are in that “I can do it” mode, we can find ourselves at the bottom of the canyon before even realizing that we stepped onto the slippery slope (self-awareness). There is a fine line between stretching ourselves and being unrealistic – if you find yourself crossing that line too often, find someone you trust to pull you back before you fall over the edge.

In short, the act of achieving the goal is as important as the goal itself; therefore, enjoy the journey. If you need to adjust your intentions along the way, that’s OK.

Trying to do it all and expecting that it all can be done exactly right is a recipe for disappointment. Perfection is the enemy. Sheryl Sandberg