Written by: Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
The holiday season is often a time of joy and celebration, but it can also bring about feelings of burnout and overwhelm. It might seem to early to think about this, but honestly? It’s super not. This is especially true for small business owners and corporations who are juggling increased demands and responsibilities during this busy time. In this article, I want to explore why holiday burnout happens and give you some strategies to prevent it.
Understanding holiday burnout
Holiday burnout occurs when the stress and pressure of the holiday season become overwhelming. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon. First, there is often an increased workload during this time. This could be product-based businesses, businesses whose year end is coming up, or businesses trying to meet or tie up customer demands and deadlines before everyone jets off for their respective holiday plans. For small business owners and corporations, the holiday season can be particularly challenging. Small business owners often have limited resources and may be responsible for managing multiple aspects of their business, while navigating pivotal launches and financial pressures. This can lead to increased stress and pressure during the holiday season, as they try to meet customer demands while also taking care of their own personal obligations. Similarly, corporations may experience a surge in work during the holidays, with deadlines to meet and projects to complete before the end of the year.
Additionally, the personal obligations and expectations associated with the holiday season can add to the stress. We absolutely do feel the pressure to be doing all the things and have all the plans, while simultaneously not dropping the ball in our careers, health, and personal relationships. This combination of work and personal is the definition of having too much on our plates and can totally lead to burnout if not managed effectively.
Strategies to prevent holiday burnout
Whether you’re a small business owner or a corporation, it's important to implement strategies to prevent holiday burnout. Here are some tips to help you navigate the holiday season with ease:
Set realistic expectations: Don't try to do it all. Set realistic goals and deadlines, and communicate them to your team and clients. Be clear about what can be achieved during this busy time.
Focus on 2-5 big social activities. Every single day of your holiday season doesn’t have to be jam-packed. I love the holidays too, I get it. But, quality over quantity is most important. Don’t let your social calendar be the thing that overwhelms you.
Take breaks and practice self-care: Self-care is not the big things in our schedule. It’s not full days off, 90-minute massages, daily 45-minute morning walks, or 2-hour afternoon respites in solitude. That’s not realistic self-care for most of us. What is realistic self-care is a 5-min stretch break, 10-15 minutes to savor a cup of coffee in the morning, the 5-min skincare routine before you go to bed, standing up from your desk every hour or those few 10-15 minute walks you talk through the day. That’s realistic self-care.
Prioritize tasks. Focus on the most important tasks and let go of non-essential ones. This is the time of year to be ruthless about how you spend your time because a lot of the things on our to-do lists probably are not worth our time. Use prioritization techniques like the Eisenhower Matrix to identify what needs immediate attention and what can be postponed or eliminated.
Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be out of the office, plan for it. Don’t schedule big projects or monumental tasks around your time off. Plan to taper off tasks before you go out and as you return. Tie up loose ends. Oh, and communicate with your peers and clients. If someone needs to cover for you, make sure they’re fully prepped for that and have all the information they need and all the access privileges. Don’t let your time off catch them off guard.
Set the out-of-office responder. This should be 101, but I know it isn’t: make sure they know ahead of time and set the out-of-office to communicate when you’re out.
Respect the out-of-office. And on that note…can we make a cultural shift to respect the out-of-office responder? If we want others to respect our time off, we need to respect theirs. An out-of-office responder on someone’s email shouldn’t be an excuse to call or text that person instead. They’re away. Let’s respect that.
By implementing these strategies, small business owners and corporations can minimize the risk of holiday burnout and create a healthier and more productive work environment during the holiday season.
Remember, the holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration. By taking care of yourself and effectively managing your workload, you can navigate this busy time with ease and enjoy the festivities without experiencing burnout.
Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ellyn Schinke is a former scientist turned top coach and international speaker specializing in burnout and stress management. After burning out while pursuing her Ph.D., Ellyn was sick of all the cookie-cutter, BS burnout tips online and sought out the real, tangible tactics that would actually make a difference in her life. As a result, burnout when from being her lifestyle to her passion. Now, she's focused on helping corporate professionals and businesses free themselves from burnout and take back their lives. Ellyn is the founder and CEO of Coach Ellyn LLC, one of the top burnout coaches on Google, host of the Burned Out to Badass podcast, and more. Her mission: Make burnout a choice.