The other day I was having a working lunch when my companion mentioned that she was planning on reading six manuscripts by the first week of January. This sounded like a lot to me, only because I know how for people in publishing, reading books is what they do every single day of the year, so getting through six in a few weeks definitely means work mode–not relaxing and doing “fun reading.” But she brightly said that the endless stream of emails dies down over the holidays, so it gives her more time to “get ahead” while others are presumably enjoying themselves.
As I was listening to this, I thought, ‘A girl after my own heart!’ I often think of holidays and long weekends as time to catch up on work or get a little ahead, rather than true breaks. And I think so many of us feel this way, especially if we feel passionate about our careers as opposed to seeing them as “just a job.”
But this also gave me a pause. I never ever take a full day-off, ever. Last full day I didn’t do anything remotely work-related was probably months ago. I also workout like a little demon, 7 days a week, primarily because I believe it gives me stamina to be a better worker. And finally, the fact that Christmas is just around the corner is hardly exciting to me this year–probably because I subconsciously think of it as regular working week with a bonus of shopping errands thrown in.
This reminds me of how when you’re little, adults around you always said that they’re not excited for their birthdays because it’s just like any other day of the year, etc. I’ve turned into that person! Oh no!
Of course, it’s good if you can catch up on work if that’s what you really need for your peace of mind. But I also think it’s good to get genuinely excited for something. And that enthusiasm for your life doesn’t come when you’re always running at full speed. Taking the time to tweak little things, recharge your batteries, and give yourself some empty space, will serve you better as you start the New Year on a calm, introspective mood–as opposed to hectic, harried mood.
Give yourself the gift of time and try these tips to recharge during the holidays.
Clean out your email inbox and your texts. I literally have thousands of unread emails in my Inbox that I will never, ever read. (Mostly ads and notification emails from social media! Ugh!) Erase those emails from LinkedIn and Facebook and while you’re at it, go change your settings so they don’t notify you (unless you really want to be notified every time someone comments on something). Also get your name off any mailing lists you don’t actually need. Finally, get rid of any texts you don’t want, and contacts you’ll never call again for whatever reason.
Clean out your desk. Get rid of all the loose scraps of paper, receipts, bills hanging around and put all the important ones in one file. After you’re done, decorate your desk to reflect where you are in life and inspire your work. See: How to Get Rid of Paper Clutter and How to Create Inspiring Home Office
Fix the things that need fixing. I have a beautiful watch that I haven’t worn in a few years because I accidentally dropped it and cracked it. This sounds terrible but I was really, really busy!! Take some time to mend the things you like so you can get back to using them. Clean your jewelry. Change the watch battery. Put the button back on that coat.
Get rid of old makeup and beauty products. Because you know you’re going to either receive or buy a lot of beauty products for the holidays (:D) and you need to make room. You’ll feel sooo much better! See: How to Organize Your Beauty Products
Do a little less. If you usually set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than it needs to, and try to fit in as many chores and tasks in each day, give yourself some breathing room. Plan some empty space between each activity. At some point, you need to tell yourself, “Just relax.”
Think about your relationships. It’s likely not *every* single relationship needs to be examined, but if you’re like me, you might have a few relationships that changed over the past year…either dramatically, or so subtly that you don’t even know when things started getting awkward to upsetting. Upon reflection, you might realize that you really want to patch things up and begin on a better foot–and what better time to do that than during the holidays? Or, you might find that a relationship is really not working out for you at all. Unfortunately, this sometimes just happens, even when one or both sides are well-intentioned.
One thing I’ve found very useful is the concept of putting people on a “different shelf.” You might have trusted, loved, and respected someone very closely, and found that this person somehow can’t be put on that level anymore. In that case, instead of suffering miserably between either cutting this person out completely or painstakingly “fixing” the relationship, you can simply adjust your expectations of this person, and put him/her on a different shelf (not eye-level, hard to reach). You know what I’m sayin’?
Take a break from workouts as needed. If you find that you just don’t have the time to do everything for the holidays *and* still workout, give your mind and body a break. You suddenly find that there is no rule you can’t break, because you’re the rule-setter of your life, duh.
Take some yoga me-time. Have a self-love session–light some candles (bonus points for holiday flavors!), dim the lights, and go extra slowly. Check out our Holiday Yoga series: Power Flow for Stress and Self-Loving Poses.
Set your goals for 2016. This can be as formal or casual as you want, though make sure it’s a fun, relaxing, exciting activity, not a stress-out session. Think about what you want to accomplish professionally and personally. I like to write these down in my diary–and while you’re at it, how about picking your diary for the year? (I am conveniently running out of my current one–yay!)
Figure out your mantra or theme for the next year. My 2015 theme was Power and Abundance, and I do believe these words nudged my life in the direction it needed to go. I haven’t decided on a theme for 2016 yet–although I’ll probably share that with you dumplings in due time. 🙂
How do you plan on recharging your batteries during the holidays?
Related: 5 Tips to Actually Relax and Enjoy the Holidays
7 Tips to Staying Organized Over the Holidays
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Photo: Beata Ratuszniak via Unsplash; Roman Drits via Barn Images