With the holidays fast approaching, visions of end-of-year deadlines and work-related celebrations are likely popping into your head – and that’s just the beginning. Outside of work, you might have a family vacation or get-together to plan, presents to buy and wrap, decorations to put up and more. Before panic mode sets in, now is a great time to take stock of how you will mentally manage all that is to come.
“Analyze where you are, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Maybe everything is perfect and where you need it to be, but maybe it’s not,” says Lindsey Robertson, APR, President of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) – Gainesville Chapter. This knowledge can be applied to both work and home life, especially in three core areas:
Have you reviewed your projects’ budgets lately? What about how much you plan to spend on gifts or special occasion purchases like new clothes or a trip to the salon? Thinking ahead at work and home can help alleviate the stress that often comes with money management, as well as possibly saving some cash in the long run. That long-running ad not panning out like you thought it would? See if you can cancel. Need new cocktail attire for an upcoming party? Try a local consignment shop or online rental service to get the most bang for your buck.
Where are you going? The holiday season can be jam-packed with work and family events, not all of which are required. Take a careful look at your calendar and, beyond what is mandatory, try to plan in some time for reflection and self-care. If a Wednesday evening get-together is going to make life more stressful than not, see if you can skip it. Finding time to care for yourself – whether that takes form as a spa appointment or walk around the neighborhood – can help clear your head so you’re more ready for anything unplanned that may come your way.
When’s the last time you called that wonderful client? What about mom? In the flurry of activity that often comes with work, the clients that make the least noise might get neglected. Make sure you’re taking time to reach out to everyone, whether that’s a simple “how are you doing?” call or holiday card to let them know you appreciate their business. The same can be said for family and friends. If cards aren’t your thing, try connecting via video chat or online messenger to let them know you care.
Lastly, share your authentic self with people in both your work and home life. Being down-to-earth with friends, family and clients about what they can expect in the coming months – especially if you know when you’ll be unavailable – can prevent hurt feelings all-around. And managing those expectations will make for a less stressful holiday season for everyone.
“Ask for help when you need it. There’s nothing wrong with admitting to yourself or others that you don’t have everything figured out or the capacity to do it all yourself,” says Robertson. “We can do anything we set our minds to, but not everything!”
By Catherine A. Seemann