The holidays have always been associated with some type of stress. Whether it’s worrying about meeting end-of-year deadlines, financial burdens or navigating the personalities of family members, there’s always something in the back of our minds that can upset this period’s intention of celebration and joy.
And this year, with the presence of COVID-19, work and school can now be done at home, so a new stressor emerges: how will you accommodate the holidays and the changes to your house and schedule, and still get your work and schoolwork done?
Your office may be in the guest room that will now be taken over by a visiting relative. Your corner of the family or living room that was your office set up now may need to move to accommodate the holiday decorations. Your routine of getting to emails early before everyone is up may be now shared with a visiting relative who likes to rise with the sun.
Just when you thought you created a routine that actually works, the holidays are now the latest thing challenging them.
Consider the following ways to remain calm, adapt, get your work done and still manage to enjoy the holidays.
- Get present by taking a few breaths to relax your mind, disconnect from your emotions and give yourself the ability to look at your situation. You can’t solve anything if your mind is anxious, angry, frustrated or irritated. In those states, you use your energy to be upset instead of finding a solution. So, get yourself calm. Developing a breathing or meditation practice are ways to separate yourself from your situation so you can come back to it calmer and more present to deal with it.
- The holidays are a period of great celebration and joy. Remember what it feels like to get the house ready for the holidays? The foods, the decorations, the lights, the traditions. Regardless of how crazy the world is, holidays bring us back to some of our fondest memories. They remind us that life and its events are to be celebrated.
- Remind yourself that any inconvenience is only temporary. Though the holidays may interrupt your schedule, they come and go. Remember how much fun it is decorating but how good it feels to have the space back when it is over. Review your work expectations over the next 2 months to develop a plan. If you see interruptions in your ability to deliver on your expectations, address it early with your team and manager. You are not alone in making your home office shift back into some shared space brought on by the holidays.
- Communication is essential. As you learned how to make working and schooling from home happen, work as a family to discuss how you can make holidays happen in your space. Consider using family meetings to address the changes that will affect the house based on the holiday. Expand the communication to be sure everyone feels heard and included.
2020 has indeed been a year of changes, but with every change, notice that you’ve been able to adapt. Adaptability is truly a skill to be developed. The more you build a practice of responding instead of reacting to the things that happen around you, the greater the options you will create to make a success out of what happens.
Start the conversation now about what the holiday plans are and how they will affect work and school. Consider using a family meeting to hear thoughts and perspectives from everyone. Keep the focus on the holiday’s celebration purpose to encourage excitement and to develop the stamina to accommodate yet one more change, albeit temporary. Focus on the holiday’s celebration, excitement and joy.
The holidays come and go, but they have the power to dull the challenges of the real world, even for a moment. Let yourself fee the excitement and joy of the season. Be present to it all.
By Jay Forte
Consider reading 4 Tips to Not Be Bad at Working from Home