Updated: May 13, 2021
Whether you have one day off, one week off, or maybe more, you are likely to have a couple of free days over the course of the holiday season. But before you succumb to the urge to spend the day in pjs watching Christmas movies or battling the lines at Target to finish your holiday shopping, consider my recipe for success in order to get the most out of your holiday break.
Around the holidays it may feel like there is so much to be done and so little time. If you strategize and commit to working smarter, not harder, you will find that you can actually do all of the things while still giving yourself some well deserved TLC. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” So if you want to go back to work feeling accomplished, energized, and rejuvenated after the holiday season keep reading my plan for success.
Move your body.
Sometimes when you have a day off, your mind will try to trick you into thinking that you should attempt to set a new world record for most hours spent in pajamas, but before you commit to that endeavor, please be reminded that your body was made to move! At the end of the day when you lay your head on the pillow, (assuming you actually picked your head off of the pillow that day) you’ll either be saying “I’m glad I did” or “I wish I had” – get your body moving on your day off and I promise you’ll be glad you did! Plus the added benefit of holiday endorphins that will have you grinning from ear to ear (and maybe even more easily able to tolerate when politics come up at the holiday party). While you are at it, take this opportunity to change up your routine by trying a new class at the gym that might not usually work for your schedule or giving your furry friend for a trip to the park.
Never will we ever have “enough time” so if you are waiting for the “right time” to roll around….newsflash, it’s not coming. RIGHT NOW is the right time; so pick up that book you’ve been meaning to finish (or more likely start), read an article from your favorite magazine or blog, or flip through the newspaper to start your day. Since we already got your heart pumping, we might as well get your neurons firing while you’re at it…ya know, just to check and make sure everything is in working order.
At this point, you have moved your body and read something, you should feel very accomplished?! Keep that feeling going by putting pen to paper. Writing can be an extremely therapeutic and helpful processing tool and if you’ve never done it before now’s your chance. You could try free writing, write a poem, or make a gratitude list….or any kind of list really. Take the opportunity to revise your wellness plan. Or maybe play around with each and see what you like best!
Catch up with an old friend.
Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year to spend time with everyone who you truly care about. With time as our greatest asset, how we choose to spend it with is really important. When we value our own time it shows others exactly how they should be valuing our time as well. So before your day(s) off fly by in the blink of an eye you’ll need to strategize and prioritize who you spend your time with while still making time for yourself. The key here is not to spread yourself too thin; make a list, reach out to those individuals and put your plans on the calendar so that they are sure to happen. You might even go as far as to make the dinner reservation if you need to so your plans are set in stone. Also you’ll need to be prepared to say no when you are overbooked or just don’t want to do something. Your day off is just that, YOURS. So choose to spend it with those who bring you joy.
Make a new friend.
After you’ve caught up with an old friend, try introducing yourself to someone new. Maybe you’ll be really brave and introduce yourself to someone at the bar or at the gym or play it safe by striking up conversation with the significant other that your cousin brought to the family Christmas party. Like the Girl Scouts always say “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”
Give a lot. Get a little.
OK, I am not about to pretend that I don’t LOVE opening Christmas presents. However, more and more I find myself realizing that I don’t really need anything at all. So let’s think about how we can do more with less by gifting and getting experiences and consumable goods instead of unnecessary and impractical stuff that we don’t really need. Next time before you buy something try asking yourself “will I still have this in 5 years?” If the answer is no, then within 5 years this item will be in our landfills, or worse, our oceans; so instead do us all a favor and don’t buy it! Speaking of getting, I am a firm believer that you should never leave yourself off of your Christmas shopping list so as you shop for your loved ones go ahead and #treatyourself of your day off. Whether it’s getting your nails done or a night out to dinner with your partner amidst the holiday chaos choose something to gift yourself. Lastly, while you’re giving, take the time to give to those who are in need this holiday season. Take the time to clean out your closet and donate gently used clothes, make a contribution to a local toy drive, or spend some time volunteering in your community. There are so many people who are in need this holiday season and since we are already so ready to give (and to get), let’s make sure some of what we give is to those who need it the most.
Whether you apply any of these ideas to maximize your break or decide you are better off kicking it in your pajamas, I hope this holiday season brings you joy.
Wishing you and your loved ones abundant joy and merriment,