If you’re anything like me, juggling work and life on a normal day can be a challenge, but throw in the special ingredient of the holidays and you’re suddenly juggling a handful of howler monkeys! In a meeting with some fellow board members from Colorado Youth at Risk (CYAR) the other day, I said to my colleagues (one an investment banker, another a marketing professional, and the other the executive director of CYAR), “I think maybe it’s just PR people who have such crazy lives…” They all laughed at me and said, “Welcome to the real world – it’s all of us!”
The American Psychological Association (APA) says that 75 percent of American adults report moderate to high levels of stress. As well, in its most recent Stress in America Survey the APA discovered that financial concerns are the leading source of stress for 71 percent of Americans this holiday season. A national study by SleepBetter.org found that 11 percent of households without children say holiday stressors cause them to lose sleep, while 27 percent of parents indicate that this is the case.
Judging by the fact that I made holiday cookies all day Sunday, but wrote this blog post late at night – I suppose I’m part of the 11 percent for whom the holidays bring great joy and a bit of stress all at the same time… So what to do about it – PR professional or not? I found some great tips – as well as some insight regarding what the heck causes all this holiday stress – from About.com:
- Set your priorities: for example, pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them – skip the rest.
- Cut corners: for example, send cards only to those you regularly communicate with, and don’t feel the need for a personal note/letter in each one.
- Change your expectations for togetherness: be aware of your limitations and set limits.
- Set a schedule: put your plans on paper (or, if you’re like me, on your BlackBerry).
- Breathe: take some time for deep breaths, maybe meditation or yoga… breathe in the serenity!
So, as the holidays bear down upon us, I will be following the advice above and trying to simplify. While work and, certainly, my clients take a high priority in my daily life, I’ll also remember to take time to breathe, set priorities and know my limits, and not feel bad about not being able to make every holiday party or sign a personal note on every holiday card. I wish you the same serenity and a very happy holiday season!