The Grind that Stole Christmas

In this hyperconnected work world, it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll be able to fully disconnect during the holiday season. Even if your boss tells you to take annual leave, chances are the panic that you’ll return to an out of control, demanding inbox has already set up shop. 

Regardless, it’s important to find that work-life balance during the holiday season to avoid burnout and to keep your sanity. Remember the first rule of flight safety – put your own oxygen mask on first.

So, how do we propose unplugging and recharging this season? By setting realistic expectations, planning in advance, scheduling, delegating and detoxing.

  • Setting realistic expectations for clients during holidays is recommended by a licensed therapist, Dana McNeil. She suggests setting your auto-response on email and voicemail to inform clients of your limited hours. 
  • Plan in advance. Schedule important matters before you leave or for your return. McNeil says to “Make it a priority to tend to them before you leave so they aren’t weighing on your mind. Organise your important clients, responsibilities etc, so you are up to date before leaving. This will help to create mental breathing space before you go.”
  • If you find it impossible to turn off your work self, scheduling time where you can work in limited increments is beneficial. Additionally, communicating with family/friends that you will be away for these sections of the day to avoid any upset or frustrated feelings because they were waiting for you to return that (not so) quick phone call. On this topic, keep your promises! If you tell your friends/family/clients, that you’re working for an hour, make it only an hour. 
  • Delegate when needed: Use virtual assistants, answering services, and other sources of support to handle non-emergencies during times you would be striving to celebrate holiday cheer with friends and family or while travelling. 

Perhaps a digital detox is something that you know you would benefit from too? But you’re also aware that this isn’t possible. If that’s the case, it’s okay! You’re not going to fall down the rabbit hole (regardless of what others may say). The key here is to be clear with your media community. Publish guidelines that set clear expectations from those intending to interact with the page. Set profanity filters for sensitive words to automatically filter profanity from public view. Automated responses (as mentioned above), and social media post scheduling platforms should help reduce necessary screen time during the holiday season. 

For those still panicking about taking time off, give yourself permission to take a break. This is a temporary time out and not a reflection of your lack of care and concern for your clients.

Now sit back, put your feet up and enjoy!