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Three Ways to Tame the Holiday Stress Monster

Let’s face it. Managing stress at work is difficult enough. Now comes the holidays, and they equal more stress.

But the holiday stress monster doesn’t have to eat you alive. You can learn to tame it, prevent overwhelm, and have more fun this December. Yes, you, even with your commitments at work and at home. Get started with these simple ideas:
1. Bundle Up
No, you’re not bundling because the weather outside is frightful. Bundle your holiday activities so you can kill two calling birds with the same stone. For example:

  • Want to catch up with friends AND get your shopping done? Invite them to join you on your power trip through the mall.
  • Want to appreciate clients AND colleagues for a job well done? Don’t even try to schedule twenty lunch dates. Have one party, and stand up and thank each person by name. You’ll also help them make valuable connections that will help your business overall (and make you look even better for connecting them.)
  • Want to spend quality time with your family AND regain some peace of mind for yourself? Decide to gift yourself some click-free zones, and keep your mind free of technology distractions and requests.

2. Hire Elves
Santa doesn’t have to do it all himself, and you don’t either. In the business world, we call this outsourcing.Need elves in your career? Check out

What’s a must-do that you’re dreading? Cooking for company? Buying gifts for clients? Putting up the tree? There’s an elf for that.

Where can you find your own elvish support? You don’t have to go to the North Pole. Ask people on Facebook or Twitter, or if it’s a business/professional need, ask connections on LinkedIn.  Look at work-for-hire sites like Odesk, Elance, and even Fiverr, where people post normal (and sometimes abnormal) things they’ll do for you for 5 bucks.

Finally, don’t forget to ask those closest to you for help. You might find that being able to help you is exactly the gift they wanted to give.

3. Take a reality check, and punt.
[/success]No matter how you try, you cannot, WILL not, create more time in your life than 31 days before December ends.

Plus, for 90% of the professional and office work we do, worklife will shut down mid-December.  So it may be time to drop the ball, or punt some things to the new year.

To figure it out, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s on my list that MUST happen because it’s tied to something that WILL happen in December?
    • For those things, schedule time in your calendar right now so you know they’ll get complete.
  • What’s on my list that isn’t tied to anything in December, where December is a preference, not a need?
    • For those things, punt.

Not sure it’ll be okay to postpone those actions? Do a reality check by asking your boss something like this:

  • “I’m evaluating my list of to-dos between now and the end of the year, and X and Y seem that they could be done in January. By moving those, it’ll ensure that the rest can be completed successfully given the holidays. From your point-of-view, is there any reason I’m missing as to why X and Y would need to be done in December?”

When I coach my clients who are overwhelmed, I’m always surprised as to how many activities they think are MUST haves that upon further examination are really optional or time-insensitive. If you’re feeling stress this holiday season, I’m betting there are a few things you just need to punt.

YOUR TURN: How do you tame the holiday stress monster? Share your wisdom by posting a comment below. Or join the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, too.
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