How to Handle Managing Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

November 30, 2022

The most wonderful time of the year can be more stressful than usual with the work-life balance becoming more complicated than ever. Between family events and corporate crunch time, 38% of people have reported that their stress increases during the holidays. So how does someone find a balance to alleviate the stress but still enjoy the holiday festivities?

While it is not easy to maintain mental health in general, there are some small things that can make big differences in your everyday life if you properly implement them into your holiday schedule. If you feel yourself struggling more mentally during the holiday season, just know you’re not alone and we are here to offer a guide to lessen the stress of work-life balancing during the holiday season.

Set Up Personal Calendars 

man creating a personal schedule to avoid holiday stress

Keeping priorities organized and straight helps you balance the important things. By creating a calendar with personal holiday events coming up such as family gatherings, holiday parties, and other various festivities, and keeping it separate from your work calendar. Separating what needs to get done in your work life versus the family events can help you visualize how much time you realistically have to spend on each task. 

Managing deadlines can be hard when your mind is cluttered with other tasks like Christmas shopping or cooking and cleaning, it can be easy to get swept up with your personal life and lose focus on important deadlines. Stay on top of your work and find time to try and work ahead to alleviate the worry of missing important assets. There are a lot of different online resources to help you keep track of your tasks such as Google Calendar or Notion has options to stay on top of your work and personal life. Allow yourself to be able to take small breaks to give yourself some wiggle room for larger tasks, and remember to communicate with those around you to understand how efficiently you can really get your tasks done. 

Rewarding Yourself

It’s easy to slack on self-care when you are busy prioritizing other things in your life. The holidays have a strong focus on giving back, but that doesn't have to exclude giving back to yourself. If you allow in your schedule at least an hour a day to decompress and have ‘me time’ it will allow your brain and body to relax. Doing something small like, taking a walk, reading a book, or other various hobbies for an hour a day can be a reward to take a break from all the stressors and allow you to focus on the most important thing, yourself. The average person in the United States spends 3 hours a day on their phone. If scrolling on social media is your favorite way to decompress from work, school, or personal life, be sure to monitor your screen time so you can stay on top of your workload and make time for other things in your schedule. 

If you find yourself so busy without an hour to spare, rewarding yourself with other small things is important too. Like eating lunch in a different setting or taking a brief five-minute walk outside or around your office to clear your thoughts. A lot of times we easily can get swept up in work or personal matters and sometimes just a small walk to clear your mind can help you start fresh if you need a moment to go back to the drawing board. Staying physical in any small way helps blood flow which can be beneficial to keep clear thoughts. 

Acknowledge Your Emotions

frustrated businessman struggling with mental health

It can be hard to know when you have hit a breaking point if you are constantly in work mode. It can be easy to get burnt out quickly, that is why if you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to relax due to work or personal holiday tasks, then take a moment to stop, breathe, and understand what you’re feeling and why you may be experiencing these emotions. A lot of people experience high levels of not only stress but depression as well. About 14% of adults in the United States have reported experiencing the ‘winter blues.’ During this time of the year, a lot of people tend to feel more melancholic about family, friendships, or relationships and holiday depression can just hit harder than usual. 

Just know you are not alone and not weak in feeling overwhelmed, sad, or frustrated by the overwhelming tasks that seem endless during these times. Allow yourself to cry or get upset because you are not the only one who may be feeling this way. Talking to others helps a lot, if you have someone you trust to open up to, then talk out your feelings and you may find that those closest to you may have been through or are experiencing something similar.

Spreading Joy

One of the most common ways to alleviate negative feelings and thoughts is by giving back to others. Showcasing your appreciation for your friends, family, and coworkers is a great way to get into the holiday spirit while also being appreciative of the people around you. Doing other things like toy drives or volunteering at local food pantries can help improve your mood. Making any sort of positive change or connection within your community can help improve any negative moods or thoughts.

Volunteering and donations are the most popular during the holiday season since a lot of people want to give back for all the success they have had during the year. Implementing holiday volunteering or donating as a team can boost office morale and make everyone excited to do something nice for the community around them. Spread a little joy and feel it return to you tenfold by seeing how the smallest of gestures can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. 

Managing Mental Health as a Business Owner

young business owner overwhelmed with mental health strain

If you’re running the show you can feel the most overwhelmed by not only having to worry about your own mental health but your team’s as well. A lot of businesses experience different stressful spikes in sales during the holiday season, which adds a lot more pressure to perform well for the end of the year. Not to mention it is almost tax season. This causes business owners to constantly be checking their phones, answering emails or phone calls, and unable to walk away from their job/businesses.

It is a good thing to take large chunks of time off of your phone, set a boundary, and send out automatic emails to those who are trying to contact you during your offline time. If you do not unplug from your phone for at least a few hours, you will be constantly stressing over problems that have not even occurred yet. It is good to unplug, breathe, and take some time to focus on yourself.

Setting boundaries does not mean you are slacking on your job as an owner, but rather you are important to your team and staying healthy and on top of things are what will make the holidays go smoothly. If you meet with fellow colleagues outside of work, try and establish that you do not want to talk about work outside of work. If you take work with you during your free time, it creates a healthier balance of personal and professional life. Your brain needs a break after working long hours and talking about work outside of those hours can trap you in an endless cycle of constantly having work on the brain.

If your business needs assistance with delegating tasks or needs extra assistance around the busy holiday season, consider receiving help from other sources. Companies such as LSM are here to help with any marketing or software needs. Take the stress out of managing your branding and take these tasks off your plate and allow us to help make sure your company is consistent on social media, and on top of Search Engine Results, or posting enough ads via Google. 

Take this time to enjoy yourself and celebrate your team’s success, taking a break from the stress of the end of the year allows you to be able to start the next and new year with a clean mind ready for new ideas.

How Can My Company Help My Employee's Mental Health?

If you notice your team more distracted or on edge, it is most likely due to the high volume of expectations during the holidays. A majority of companies do an end-of-the-year review which is just one of the many things that can stress an employee out. It is important to acknowledge the hard work your team members put into their job and understand that we are all human and deal with different struggles whether it is the holidays or not. Be kind to your employees and try pivoting your leadership to focus more on your team’s mental health.

Checking in individually can be helpful to see if there is anything you as a leader can do to help with motivation or stress relief. However, if this is something within your company you do not have time for, try and communicate what resources are available for the individuals who need help to work on their mental health. Our bodies can be affected by our mental state, with more stress comes fatigued and sleepless nights for some. Having someone to talk to can help employees find a proper balance to stay on top of their work without overworking themselves.

It’s the small things that can help uplift the team, and celebrating the holidays in small ways around the office can be a small thing to uplift spirits within the office. Some companies do secret Santa, toy drives, or just general decorating around the office. Breaking up the daily routine with holiday festivities creates a good mental break for people to destress a bit over the overwhelming feeling that can occur from working too much. Checking in and making sure your team isn’t performing under high-stress volumes is important since it improves the quality of their work and their mental health.

Avoid Stressors as Much as Possible

It can be easy to get overwhelmed very quickly, so do not be afraid to say no if there is something you are asked that just can not fit on your list of deadlines and tasks. If you are invited to join a potluck but fear you won't have time to cook or clean, then be sure to establish this boundary and concern so that you don't add another layer of stress to your already full plate.

Rushing to get things done can lead to mistakes and miscommunication and that causes even more problems for your mental health if things do not go accordingly to plan. Try and take it as slow as you can to avoid the stressors and crunchtime of deadlines, this way you can work as efficiently as possible without any of the baggage of the negative stress it puts on you.

Now is the time to let go of others' high expectations and be more realistic about the work you do or the way you can attend and participate in holiday activities. At the end of the day, no one can hold a grudge against you if you properly set boundaries and restrictions on what tasks you realistically can and cannot do. This applies to both personal and professional life, if you find yourself stressing over holiday shopping with others, communicate with them to try and find other things to celebrate with instead of stressing about big shopping crowds or inflation on everything. 

It is not an easy thing to master a work-life balance period, let alone to get into a proper routine during the holiday season. However, no matter how small the difference is, making any sort of change or effort to improve your mental health can speak volumes in your daily life. Now is the time of the year to try and relax and be grateful for what you have and the people around you. 

Focus on all the great things you have done and will continue to do into the new year and focus on the positive things you have done in both your work life and your personal. If you still find yourself struggling, do not hesitate to reach out to someone for help, you are not alone and are valid for seeking extra help with your mental state.