3 Overlooked Tips to Destress During the Holidays

Bring home holiday gifts without the baggage

It’s that time of the year. Some would say the most wonderful time. But for others, the lights and tinsel of the holidays evoke strong memories of the ghosts of holidays past. 

The holidays offer a chance to reconnect with family and friends, take that much needed R&R, and enjoy a cornucopia of delicious foods. For business leaders, the time off is a chance to re-energize, and build momentum going into the new year. Unfortunately, amidst the covid pandemic, the holidays may be limited and remind us of what we’re missing out on.

So how can you destress during the holidays?  

Let’s explore some useful strategies.

1. Set your intentions

What would you like to get out of the holidays? Spell it out. To avoid succumbing to holiday drama, set aside some time to write out your intentions for the holidays. 

Holiday get togethers are stressful for executives used to spending their days checking off tasks and attending meetings. It’s gratifying knowing that we’ve accomplished something. In fact, every time we cross something off of that to-do list, a flood of the feel good hormone dopamine is released. Suddenly, the work responsibilities vanish and you scramble to find a way to replenish those good feelings. 

But how can you feel accomplished when you are home for the holidays?

Simple. Prioritize R&R, family time, and hobbies. 

Busy people thrive when they set and achieve goals. But here’s a secret. It doesn’t matter what that goal is. Your brain can’t tell the difference between securing a high profile contract and spending an hour of uninterrupted time playing a board game with your family. So write out your holiday goals and check them off each day. 

What if you don’t know where to start? Well, let’s take a look at the next helpful tip to destress during the holidays.

2. Clarify your values

As busy professionals, we can easily lose sight of why we do what we do and how we go about doing it. These reasons are called values. They are the motivational forces driving our worldview. For instance, you might value trust, open communication, and ambition.

“Values are the motivational forces driving our worldview.” 

But what do values have to do with the holidays? A whole lot it turns out. 

When we get in touch with our values, we are able to see the deeper meaning behind work, family, and leisure. By clarifying them, we are able to hone in on the activities that bring meaning and thereby, pleasure to our lives. We can then discard those activities that do not. 

So as you set out to set your holiday intentions, begin by defining the things that matter most to you.

How do you do this? 

Begin by writing down your top 5 – 10 values (e.g., trust, honesty, success, relationships, independence). Next, write 1 – 3 action statements to accompany each value (e.g., “I will prioritize my interpersonal relationships.”). Finally, develop holiday goals based on those action statements (e.g., “I will set aside an hour each day during the holidays to connect with my family by playing a board game.”). 

That’s all there is to it. Now you can successfully translate your values into achievable goals during the holidays. Write them down, check them off, and start feeling a sense of accomplishment during the holiday season. 

Let’s move on to the third tip to destress during the holidays.

3. Disengage with social media and email

During the holiday season, it’s especially important to feel connected to friends and family. Thus, you might think that engaging with social media is a good way to stay in the loop. Unfortunately, perusing your newsfeed often results in the opposite. 

Let me explain.

Social media companies design their platforms to capture your attention. This is especially likely to happen when we are unsure what to do with our time. Who has spent 20 minutes scrolling through your newsfeed when sitting in a waiting room? I certainly have. 

As busy professionals we are used to having packed schedules. So when our schedules clear during the holidays, we are susceptible to the allure of social media. It can easily fill that void if we let it. 

How can we avoid spending hours transfixed by our phones?

  • Turn off notifications: If you aren’t aware that anything is happening on social media, you aren’t tempted to check it. 
  • Align with your values (see tip 2): Include disengagement from social media in your values statements (assuming it adheres to your values). 
  • Set goals (see tip 1): Make it a goal to spend x amount of time on social media during the holidays. Write it down. 
  • Dedicate time: It’s okay to spend some time engaged with social media, but you want to be in the driver’s seat. Thus, set aside 30 – 60 mins at the end of the night to check in. This would be a great time to check your emails as well. 

The holidays are a time to reconnect with our values and the people we love. Don’t let your time get hijacked by your smartphone. If you follow this simple advice, you will be on your way to feeling connected and accomplished during the holiday season.

Conclusion

At Chesley Brown, we understand that maintaining safety and security involves every link in the organizational chain. And these 3 tips to destress during the holidays are about more than enjoying your time off. When you truly connect with family and friends during the holidays, you’ll feel a sense of joy and accomplishment. 

These positive feelings produce dopamine, a brain chemical that helps keep you focused on the health and vitality of your organization when you return to work. Thus, your personal well-being during the holidays will help drive your organization forward.

Nevertheless, we understand that the holidays can be a time of great uncertainty. Chesley Brown is here for you. We’ve built a framework that teaches businesses how to anticipate and navigate risk before it becomes a crisis. 

Let’s talk. 

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