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3 Steps To Holiday Work-Life Balance

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Is holiday work-life balance difficult for you? If it is, please know that you are not alone. The holiday season is a time when stress rises and time becomes scarce.

You might feel overwhelmed trying to cram in as much work as you possibly can to end the year strong. Do you get more invitations to events, both work and personal, than you can handle or even want to attend? You might also notice that you are less active and eat far too many sweets, treats, and holiday beverages. Then there is sleep, or lack of, that might also plague you.

Over do the holidays tend to leave you feeling run down, wishing it would just go away so you could return to your normal routine?

Or despite all of those challenges do you long for the ability to enjoy the holiday season with family and those people that matter most to you? Are there certain holiday activities that you really look forward to?

I really love to host family, go for walks among the holiday lights at a few favourite spots, and cozy up in front of the fireplace with hot chocolate to watch some holiday movies. I still have some of the seasonal cartoons recorded on VHS that I pull out each year to watch and reminisce about my childhood days.

You can live your best life and have the holiday experience you want and still get work done. Holiday work-life balance is possible, but you must start early and consciously create a plan that will work for you for this year. Here are some tips to help you create the holiday experience you want this year.

Steps Towards Holiday Work-Life Balance

#1. Control your calendar

It’s already full, right, and there will be pressure to fill it up even more so remember this, because it happens every year. To have more time for more social events, family activities, and other holiday things take these three steps.

FIRST, prepare your calendar in advance

Want to know a secret to work-life balance? It’s having a birds eye view! Look at the entire month ahead. Not much work tends to happen that last week of December and maybe even first week of January if you have kids so prepare accordingly. Taper work demands down knowing this happens so you can embrace and enjoy the time. Aim to do more in the last week of November and early December. 

Some focused short term imbalance will lead to consciously designed longer term balance.

Think about that. It’s important so I’ll say it at again.

Some focused short term imbalance will lead to consciously designed longer term balance.

SECOND, Prioritize your Priorities

For business owners and career minded professionals everything feels like a priority, right? If I said you can only choose ONE priority among all of your priorities for December what would it be? Schedule that first. Then what would be your next 2-3 secondary priorities for the month?

Now, did you naturally go ONLY to work things? That’s fine, it’s your default, but what about your kids school concerts, office parties, friends holiday gatherings, a ski day at Rabbit Hill, or even a nice walk down candy cane lane?

When you prioritize… balance work and life!

THIRD, Don’t double book yourself

You’ll end up feeling rushed and stressed and won’t enjoy either event as much.

So what steps do you need to take to control your calendar and enjoy the holiday season?

#2. Practice Saying NO, nicely

If you want more holiday work-life balance then this holiday season is the perfect time to practice staying hyper focused only on the things at work and away from work that matter most. 

Are there certain holiday events or activities that you really don’t care for? 

Don’t say yes out of obligation. You’ll end up regretting it. Not only that but it will take away the chance to say yes to things you actually want.

Don’t say yes out of habit? Bring to mind those things you automatically say yes to even though you don’t enjoy them or your time is best focused elsewhere.

Be comfortable in saying NO. Practice finding ways that are considerate of someone who has invited you to something or has another demand on your time. They will usually understand where you’re coming from. Saying no gets easier the more you do it.

What things do you need to say NO to this holiday season?

#3. Don’t forget your health.

This is a common time of year to let your health slide. Here is where all those forces that pull you off track from the balance you want can really wreak havoc. This is far too big an area to cover here in one post but start with these few thoughts.

Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up within 30 minutes of the same time every day, even on weekends.

Maintain your exercise. Maybe don’t start a new routine right now and risk setting yourself up for failure because of lack of time. But do keep up your current program if you’re on one. Otherwise keep it simple. Enjoy our winter wonderland in some way on most days. If you want some more tips on staying active this holiday season check out this post of mine on Holiday Energizers.

Be mindful of your nutrition. Do enjoy the sweets and treats of the season but make them inconvenient. For instance don’t stand right beside the food table at a social event. You will mindlessly graze. If you want some more tips on nutrition check out my post called 7 Tips To Avoid The Holiday Nutrition Crash.

There is so much more to consider for your health so choose one thing in each area for this month ahead and commit to sticking to it. Do so and it can help deliver the holiday work-life balance you seek.

Fully finding work-life balance will take time, effort, perhaps coaching support, and maybe the support of a like minded community. But starting with baby steps like these this holiday season can give you a taste. In the new year you can take your next, bigger step.

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Brent Haydey is an experienced life and business coach in Edmonton, renowned for his calming, empathetic, and results-driven approach. With over 30 years of experience, he specializes in helping individuals and entrepreneurs find balance and success, blending teaching, mentoring, and coaching for impactful life changes.

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