Tips to Avoid Christmas Burnout

Ange Connor

Here we are again! Weeks from Christmas, another year coming to a close and the to-do list’s growing much quicker than we can cross the items off.

No matter how hard many of us try, this time of year seems to bring with it, stress and a pressure to get everything done and wrapped up in a neat little bow before the Christmas break and the start of the New Year. Christmas shopping, meal planning and preparation, parties and social outings become our focus in addition to that growing work to-do list.

Whether it is ourselves, our managers, or our clients putting the pressure on, we seem to get in our heads that all those tasks that have been on the to-do list or those projects that have sat to the side for months now must be completed all prior to stopping for Christmas. In reality, it’s a little crazy to think this way. The mentality or concept of having to have everything wrapped up or done by Christmas comes from many years back, when come Christmas, many businesses would close for up to a month and business really would stop. Nowadays, yes, some businesses close for maybe 2 weeks, but so many of us are open for business as usual straight after the Christmas and Boxing Day public holidays or at the start of the New Year. However, our mindsets of getting everything done before Christmas have remained, hence the pressure we put on ourselves and our teams.

As deadlines loom, workloads increase, pressure mounts and everyone gets busier the closer we get to Christmas; it’s a recipe for stress and burnout in the workplace.

Burnout affects everyone differently, but common signs to keep an eye out for in yourself and your team members include increased errors in work, anxiety, sleep deprived/tired all the time, disengagement, moodiness, limited or no patience, increased anger and frustration, and becoming withdrawn.

In the lead up to this Christmas, it’s important to take some time to look after yourself to ensure this doesn’t happen to you so you can enjoy your Christmas and New Year break.

Here are 8 ways Beyond Blue suggests you can look after yourself this Christmas period:

So as you keep adding to your to do-list and the pressure mounts, it’s key to remember that this getting things done before Christmas is an outdated concept and what will really happen if you don’t get your mile long to-do list completed? Our work will still be waiting for us when we return from our break.

In addition to Beyond Blue’s tips for minimising stress and burnout this silly season, here are Inspire HQ’s tips for managing workloads and minimising stress in the workplace this Christmas:

  • Communication is key – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, getting stressed or feeling pressured and like you are burning out, talk to someone. Talking to a Manager, a colleague, or your EAP provider will help.
  • Prioritise your to-do list – instead of adding everything to the get done before Christmas to-do list, prioritise your to-do items, run multiple to-do lists such as prior to Christmas and a January to-do list. You might be surprised how much your to-do list reduces when you challenge yourself to stop and think what can be done in January.
  • Question – if you’re being delegated tasks by management or colleagues and even clients, positively and politely questioning the deadline date might help you and them realise that there are no consequences of not getting this task done by Christmas. There will no doubt be tasks that must be done before Christmas, but there will be some that might be nice to have done by Christmas and others that can be done in January. Understanding the consequences if we miss the Christmas deadline are important too. Often, there are no consequences of missing that Christmas deadline.
  • It’s ok to say no – as the social calendar fills up quickly at this time of year, and we organise catch ups with everyone before Christmas even though we haven’t caught up with them for many months, it’s ok to say no to attending a social event or Christmas party, or proposing that social catch up be done in the new year. If your workplace is crazy busy in the lead up to Christmas, buck the trend and have your Christmas party in the new year when your team will probably enjoy it more anyway.
  • Flexible work times – It’s become the buzz word from covid, but in the lead up to Christmas and trying to get to a shop to purchase something can be difficult if you work standard business hours. Will your team benefit from and help reduce the stress and pressure if they can take half a day off to get some of those messages/tasks done and then make the hours up later or after hours?

More often than not, we’re our own worst enemies for putting pressure on ourselves to get everything done in the lead up to Christmas and New Year. Next time you go to add something to your to-do list, catch yourself and check if it really needs to be done before Christmas. That way you’ll have the best chance of feeling a sense of achievement and accomplishment this Christmas.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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