Why You Shouldn't Work During the Holidays (and What You Should Do Instead)

What are your plans for the holidays? If you're anything like me, you're looking forward to time with family, and the chance to have a well-earned rest. But might you also be figuring that now would be a great time to catch up on your email backlog? Or to clear the admin you've de-prioritized ahead of doing essential year-end stuff (not to mention turning up at office parties?) If so, I have a bit of advice: Don't.

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For a start, the upcoming weeks hold about the only remaining days of the year when, whether you work for the man, or work for yourself, the majority of people's attention is elsewhere. Meaning that you really can afford to have some guilt-free off time.

Moreover, the time of year, and the turning of the season is energetically aligned to reflections and renewal.

So use it.

And take advantage of this time to get into great shape for 2015. Here are a few ideas of how to:

  1. Step back and do a stock-take about what's working for you at work - and what's not. Don't judge yourself, but be brutally honest. What do you need to fix and how will you do it? Who will help you? How will you hold yourself accountable for making things different?
  2. Focus on your well-being. Yeah, I know, most of us eat and drink ourselves silly during the holidays, so I'm not advocating dieting or anything. But you can use the holidays to hang out a little, rest, and think about a the health-supporting habits you want to put in place for yourself come January. What are they? Even to begin to practice some of them now.
  3. Use the season to practice mindfulness. As much as we look forward to the holidays, they can be stressful for many people. We forget that they are just days of the year like other days and overlay them with all kind of importance that they may or may not have. Then, extended family and social gatherings can hold their challenges. Instead of just giving yourself another forms of stress, albeit away from the office, why not use the context of the season to practice mindfulness. Leo Babuta's post on this is well worth a read here.
  4. Forget about New Years' resolutions. So many of us go along with the ritual of setting resolutions for ourselves on the 1st of January. You know the kind of thing: "Make x amount of pounds this year"; or "lose 5kg"; or "get 1,000 people to sign up for my list". Not that there's anything wrong with having goals. But too often we set them imagining that we *need* them, and that, when we've achieved them, then we'll be happy. So long as we've pitched our happiness to the achievement of something outside ourselves, we've set ourselves up for failure. Instead, percolate and choose a theme for yourself for 2014. What feels like a natural thing for you to point yourself to this year? My theme this year was "Manifest". 2015's theme is "Go all out". What's yours?
  5. Decide that you'll experience less overwhelm in 2015. I know that you can't stop the amount of stuff that comes at you at work, and will start coming at you again when you get back to work in the New Year, but you can change how it affects you. Catch my post on the zen of work, and adopt a fresh mindset before you head back after the break.
  6. Read. Use the time off to get one or two titles of books that take your skills and knowledge in a different direction. I'm going to be reading Skip Miller's Proactive Selling, since one of the things I've decided to become masterful at next year is selling effortlessly. For more great title ideas, check out my post on the best books and resources to help you stay grounded in 2015.
As for me, I'm going to be taking my own advice and putting down tools over the holidays.

You might find me from time to time on Twitter or Facebook, but otherwise I'm closing up shop till mid January.

Meantime, I wish you and yours the very best of the season and hope that 2015 will be a good year for you.

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Christine Livingston

Coach, Catalyst, Change Artist

Writer, coach, inspiration junkie, partner, friend, coffee-drinker, paleo eater, world traveler and more.