Taking Time To Wind Down

Given that we are now in December, things can become a little crazy. From my experience, it becomes a time of year where suddenly people step it up a gear and put a whole lot more pressure on themselves to get things done before time runs out and the year is over. In the trades for example, everyone is under the pump to get all those jobs finished in time for their clients who are hosting the family Christmas. But of course, with everyone being in the same boat, all that tends to happen is there is more demand on suppliers at all levels, stress  goes up and the chances that things will be finished in time becomes less and less likely. I can’t speak for other industries but I’m sure it is quite similar across the board.

So, at the time of year when everyone is thinking about holidays and having a much needed break, but at the same time you’re under the pump to get things done before the year is out, how are you supposed to wind down into the holiday period in a way that actually allows you to switch off a recharge the batteries?

  1. Write a list – writing down all the things that need to be completed before the end of the year is the best place to start. Once you can visualise what needs to be done, its far easier to put a plan in place about how to actually do them. Your list should prioritise what absolutely MUST be done. Anything that doesn’t fall on this side of the list should be added to the ‘back to work’ section for when things start back up in January. Knowing exactly what needs to be done when you kick off in the New Year will help keep your mind off work while on holidays.

  2. Manage expectations – if it starts to become obvious that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, don’t fret. Honesty is the best policy and all anyone wants is to be kept in the loop. Be upfront with your clients and keep them informed with where things are at. It is not worth the stress that comes from over promising and people will generally forgive you if you’re upfront with them. Things can definitely be finished in the new year.
  1. Log out – Set up the auto response on your email letting people know exactly when you’ll be back, leave a mobile number for emergencies only and log out of everything. It might also be a good idea to outline some examples of what constitutes an emergency and what doesn’t. Believe it or not, things will still be there for you when you come back from holidays but switching off in the meantime is necessary for your sanity.
  1. Put the phone down – having a break from social media means putting the phone down. This is not something we get the opportunity to do very often as we’re always ‘busy’ running our lives. Given that most work places shut down over the Christmas period, it is probably the best opportunity you’ll get to give yourself that much needed break. You don’t have to go full cold turkey, but at least trying to reduce your phone use during the break will mean less social media, allowing you to be more present, meaning you’ll have to connect with the people around you and just generally be a positive move for the headspace.

  2. Do nothing – This one doesn’t need much explanation. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to be constantly on the move or doing something. Veg out. Throw on a movie or strap yourself in for a full marathon. Dive into a good book. Lay on the grass. Whatever. Just chill right out.  

  3. Get outside – this is pretty self-explanatory. We don’t need to examine the science behind getting out into nature and going on some adventures. We’ve got the best back yard in the world to do it.

  4. Plan your next adventure – while you’ve got the chance to chill out, make a plan for a mid-year holiday. Come January when it’s time to go back to work, having a midyear get away already booked in will give you something to look forward to when you need a little pick up.

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