Six Ways to Attempt Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

Posted by Elizabeth McLeod On Dec 18, 2014 9:00:00 AM

Six Ways to Attempt Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

Do you find yourself reaching for your iPhone or sweating over a big deadline while your entire family scoffs down gingerbread cookies and seems blissfully unaware of your impending corporate doom?

When you’re under work stress during the holidays, it’s hard not to be a total Grinch.  Work-life balance is always tough, but the holidays often bring even more of a struggle.

Here are six tips to manage your work stress during the so-called most wonderful time of the year.

Be present

This goes for your time at work and for your time outside of work.  If you spend your weekly meeting thinking about the neighborhood Christmas party, or if you spend your time with your family thinking about a business proposal, you won’t be effective at either.  With our inbox only a click away, it can be challenging to completely unplug, but having a firm line between work and home will lead to a happier and more productive holiday season all around.

Plan time off in December

Between school plays, Yankee Swaps, and promised baked good contributions, you’re going to be incredibly busy.  December is a crazy time of year, and if you spend every waking moment after 5pm running from festivity to festivity, your work and personal life will soon suffer.  Plan ahead, and schedule some time off to relax and recharge.

Let it go

So what if your three-year-old doesn’t want to wear a red sweater for the picture?  So what if your icicle lights are still hanging in March?  Who cares?  Embrace Stouffer’s and paper plates this year.  The holidays are a time to enjoy your family and friends, not stress over an overly ambitious Pinterest project.  Take off the pressure for perfection.  Adding to your load of stress by emphasizing minute details will only ensure that you do not experience a moment of actual “time off.”

Practice saying no

No is a powerful word…when you have the courage to say it.  During the holidays, it can be challenging to prioritize.  Think about what is most important to you, and how to use your time most effectively this season.  Whether you’re saying no to your bosses request for a 9PM conference call on December 24th, or to your weirdly-spunky neighbor’s white elephant swap, exercising your right of choice is crucial to a happy holiday.

Focus on what you love

Schedule something you genuinely enjoy doing each day.  Whether it’s Christmas shopping with your girl friends, decorating with your family, or taking a few minutes to indulge in a peppermint mocha coffee, make time for it.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed with office deadlines and social commitments.  Ensuring that you do something you love each day will keep the holidays as a time of joy, and not a time of stress.

Realize you are not alone

Odds are that your coworkers, even your boss, are feeling a little extra stress this time of year.  Everyone has in-laws visiting, too many neighborhood functions, and decorations that have yet to emerge from the basement.  You will not be the only one who takes their entire hour lunch to shop, or who needs to sneak out early to pick up relatives from the airport.  Cut each other, and yourself, some slack this year.


This time of year is a balancing act.  So often we feel pulled in different directions, and struggle to find a moment of joy in the most joyful time of year.  Focus on being present, balancing, and letting go of the unrealistic expectations.  Following these tips will ensure that you meet your work commitments and still have time to enjoy your holiday.


photo credit: Mr.Thomas via photopin cc

TAGS: Managing Stress, Life Style

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