Do you dread the holidays? I have to admit I’ve always really enjoyed the holidays. I like the decorations, the music, the annual goodies and the gift giving, but hasn’t it all gotten a little out of control? Some years the holiday stress feels like too much. What I hate most about the holidays is the distraction it brings. Who really needs a 5 week break at the end of the year? The part of the year when you want to push to make your year end goals a reality.
The holidays provide this mental barrier for so many of us. “After the Holidays” we’ll get started, or “After the Holidays” my prospects will be more responsive to my phone calls. It’s as though life as we know it goes into a holding pattern. When you’re focused on really getting your life and your business cranking the last thing you want is a nation or even worldwide “mental” break. How do we combat that mental break syndrome? Here are a few tips to help you avoid the stalls of life at the holidays.
First, focus on not taking a break. Stay engaged and on purpose. Who says that you have to take a 5 week break? Most define the holidays as Thanksgiving through the New Year, that’s about 5 weeks. As I said I do LOVE the holidays, but I don’t need the holidays to be 5 weeks long. I appreciate a nice break for Thanksgiving, Christmas and an evening to welcome in the New Year, but settling into none op mode for an extended period of time doesn’t further my goals. Decide to take a break, but not check out for the entire season.
2. Limit the number of activities you attend
Limit the number of holiday functions you’re attending. Between community parades, holiday open houses, holiday parties, church services and gift shopping your entire month of December can be jam-packed with activity after activity. Make the decision to choose no more than 2 activities per week and stick to it. If you’re schedule is overwhelmed, you’ll feel overwhelmed and won’t be as productive. You can only have so many mugs of eggnog before the festivities wear thin. Chose the events that have a special meaning to you or are family traditions. Don’t feel bad saying no to an invitation to a party or special event. It is expected that it is a busy season and that not all those invited to a gathering will be available to attend. By limiting the number of activities you participate in you’ll save energy and time allowing you to enjoy the events that you do attend.
3. Be persistent in your sales efforts even during “holiday breaks”
It’s all about mind set. A few years back I hired a new sales rep in the fall. She didn’t have sales experience but was a high performance person. In years past, the week between Christmas and New Years had always been a “dead” week. As an organization we didn’t expect to have any sales that week; we knew no one would be available to make buying decisions. I forgot to tell my new sales rep not to put any effort into sales and left for a week’s vacation. When I arrived back she had a stack of orders and I was shocked. All of the veteran employees just knew that this was a dead week, a week that you took to reorganize your desk, color code your file folders and purge emails, but this unknowing new rep didn’t have these preconceived notions. Her goal was to sell and she set out with that mind set and was a huge success. The moral, you don’t know what kind of business you can find or develop over the holidays if you are willing to look.
4. Get clear on your Lifestyle Blueprint to allow you to make decisions that are inline with your values and purpose
Find the meaning in the holidays. As you more deeply explore your personality traits and create a clear road map for your life you’ll have a better understanding of what you’d like the holiday season to represent in your life. Knowing that when you quit your job and start a business of your own you can create the lifestyle you want for the holidays is a big motivator. I enjoy taking time to bake cookies with my kids, decorate the house, shop for the perfect gifts and attend holiday functions. I’ve designed my life so that I have the space I want to be available for these activities. It has taken the stress out for me. Instead of trying to juggle a job, kids, life and the holidays I juggle the kids and the holidays. I prepare so that I can take the time I want with my family. Having a clear perspective on how you’d like your lifestyle blueprint to look will help you design your holidays and when you have a design and a plan you have intention. This intention is the basis to create a life of freedom.
Summary: 4 Steps to dealing with holiday stress
- Don’t take a “mental” break for 5 weeks during the holidays. Stay engage and on purpose.
- Limit the number of activities you attend
- Be willing to be persistent in your sales efforts even during “holiday breaks”
- Get clear on your Lifestyle Blueprint to allow you to make decisions that are inline with your values and purpose