8 Ways to Stay Motivated During the Holiday SeasonDec 01, 2020
Managing your career or business, homeschooling, and working remotely while doing a bit of holiday planning (virtually and in-person) can challenge even the most organized individuals. Over the last two weeks, I've been embroiled in planning logistics, meal prep, and holiday online shopping along with client appointments, what seems like a massive influx of emails, designing and ordering holiday cards, and closing out some key projects before the new year.
And we're only through Thanksgiving weekend.
It's enough to make you want to stay in a food coma for a week...or two.
For me, I've found that the key, however, is to find the right balance between the holiday hoopla, relaxation, and work. Admittedly, I struggle with wanting to do much of anything this time of year, which is why I have to watch how much I take on or commit to doing to avoid feeling overworked, burned out, resentful, or worse, fail to deliver. I value my integrity and delivering a quality outcome, whether in my personal or professional life, too much to let that happen.
So what's a girl to do except enjoy leftover stuffing and a plethora of desserts? (As you can see by my food references, I have a lot of food around me right now!) ;-)
Well, you don't want to end the year exhausted because this will inhibit your ability to set your goals and intention for the new year. You also don't want to burn yourself out because it's hard to reboot from this type of fatigue.
Try one or all of these eight techniques to keep your spirits up while you're "doing it all" during this holiday season.
- Share the load, Sister. You've heard this before, but I think it needs to be repeated....stop trying to be Wonder Woman! While you could probably do it all yourself, why should you? Consider what absolutely needs your hands-on touch (in my case, my wicked mac-n-cheese, yep food again) and what could be passed on to someone else. Enlist family members to help with baking or preparing holiday meals. Hire temporary help or hire a seasonal personal assistant for local errands, and consider a virtual assistant to help with email correspondence and phone calls. There's no shame in asking for help and lightening the load. Focusing on what you do best will keep you fired up and motivated throughout the holiday season.
- Become a master of your schedule. If this year has taught us nothing else, it's that life is precarious, and we have to spend it on those things that bring us joy and happiness. Since life is short, be sure to spend your time on what matters most to you in your life. Is that family, loved ones, your fur-baby....it doesn't matter, do more of it. When you master your schedule, you fit in more of what matters AND still accomplish those other tasks at hand. Truly celebrate and enjoy the season, and don't miss a moment of doing what you love...safely.
- Stick to your self-care routine. I recently introduced The Miracle Morning into my morning routine, and it's made a world of difference in my daily productivity. Spending precious time alone in the morning before going about my day centers me and keeps me focused. The holidays can be a challenging time to start a new routine, but I'm a big fan of test-driving before you buy. In other words, sample a few self-care routines to find the one that works best before, then adapt it in the new year. Please get in the habit of scheduling your self-care activities on your calendar, so you don't forget or skip them and use timers to stay focused on and task. Setting a timer definitely helps to keep my wandering mind focused for set moments.
- Allow for some flexibility....and a lot of forgiveness. Okay, this may sound contradictory to the previous suggestions, but they work hand in hand in truth. While it's important to try to stick to a routine and create a plan of action to do so, you have to allow yourself some room for the unexpected, unanticipated and unforeseen. In fact, 2020 has taught us to be nimble, adaptable, and flexible, so put those newfound skills to good use. Remember the saying, "We plan and God laughs" well, it's true! When things pop up that take you off a bit off track or schedule, learn how to roll with it and make any necessary adjustments to manage your new course of action. Then reassess whether you need to get back to what you were doing or keep movin' on. By the way, these are great skills that you may want to promote on your resume, LinkedIn profile, or in an interview or annual review conversation. Show how you've navigated the unpredictable waters of the pandemic and how those skills have prepared you for what's next!
- Take a few days off. I know it's hard to leave work at work, particularly if you've been working from home, but if you have vacation days left on the calendar or recently neglected to take a few days off this year....take the time NOW. Allow yourself time to refresh and recharge during this holiday season. Order a few new books you've wanted to read, start learning a new language, register for an online cooking class, or finish knitting that blanket you started 10 years ago (don't laugh, I did that last year). If you've been working around your office and not a dedicated office, clear out that space, so you're not tempted to jump back in there. Oh, and taking a few days off also includes taking a break from your cell phone and laptop. Unplugging from social media and the internet will do you a world of good! Trust me; whether you physically take a vacay or indulge in a luxurious staycation, you'll come back to work with greater insight, perspective, and joy with fresh eyes and a fresh mind.
- Deepen connections. While you may be foregoing the holiday parties, gatherings, or get-togethers this year, that doesn't mean you can't reach out and connect with dear friends and loved ones. Commit during the holiday season to reconnect or reintroduce yourself to people you've lost touch with and to get to know them on a deeper level. This is a great way to network because networking is about making connections and forging relationships. It's not just about what you can get out of the relationship. Make a list of 3 or 5 people you want to reach out to (don't go crazy), then set a goal to connect with them over an egg nog latte.
- Create your new year goals. If you haven't already, start creating a few short-term and long-term goals you'd like to accomplish in the first quarter of the new year. Set specific goals with purpose and intention. Only 8% of people keep their resolutions and achieve their goals because they miss this step. Going to the gym because it's a new year and you want to drop a few lbs won't cut it. Instead, consider why you want to go to the gym (or purchase some new exercise equipment). If you want to lose weight, is that move the best first step for you? What's your commitment level? What are you willing to start doing or stop doing to make that happen? What's the end game, and what can you do in the first quarter to move in the right direction? You see, goal setting isn't about creating a wish list; it's about creating a new habits list based on your why and after setting your intention. Doing this prep work before you finalize your new year's goals will help you be more successful, and it's a GREAT motivating activity for the holiday season.
- Focus on your successes. We've been conditioned to always focus on what we haven't done, finished, or accomplished. Besides, we tend to feel guilty and look negatively upon ourselves when having one or more things left on those to-do lists. If you live in that space, you'll run the risk of feeling like a failure during this holiday season. I want to invite you to drop the to-do lists and create a "ta-dah" list. Make a list of everything you've accomplished this week, month, or year. What have you been able to do that you initially never thought was possible? What new things came your way, and you managed it like a boss? What are you proud of? What have you dropped or let go of that have given you more hope, strengths, or joy?? Don't embrace an energy of lacking, and instead embrace an energy of fulfillment! After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year...so celebrate and enjoy it!
Bottom line, the holidays are a time of celebration, so don't lose sight of that. Expand your idea of success to include self-care, deepened relationships, time off, "not" doing it all, and celebrating YOU. Try a few of these suggestions this holiday season, and you may cue yourself up for a phenomenal (even if it's an unpredictable) new year!
Peace & Blessings, Happy Holidays!