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How to keep your spirits bright while working on a holiday

Dec 30, 2020

Many industries slow down or close up shop completely for various holidays. Others, such as retail and service industries, see an increase in business while everyone else is closed. While there are plenty of benefits to working over the holidays—from whittling down that to-do list, to potential holiday pay—it’s still normal to feel a little stuck while working those hours. That’s where we come in with our top tips on how to make the most of your individual circumstances while working on a holiday.

1. Don’t write off personal holiday celebrations

When you celebrate isn’t nearly as important as being able to spend time with the people you care about. If you’re scheduled to work on a holiday you traditionally celebrate, see if you can arrange a separate time that you can spend with loved ones. Whether you push the festivities to later in the day, or choose a new day all together, being flexible with when and how you celebrate will save you so much stress in the long run. As a bonus, pushing the celebration out to a later date gives you something to look forward to longer. It’s like an extended holiday season!

2. Focus on coworker relationships

Some people’s circumstances will prevent them from being able to celebrate with friends and family at all. If the people you see most are your coworkers, they can start to feel like family, too. Instead of missing out on quality time, create your own with your work family! It’s no secret that we spend a lot of our adult lives working, so boosting coworker relationships is incredibly important. What better time to bond than when you’re all working together on a holiday?

Some recommendations for celebrating with your work fam:

  • Host a potluck with everyone’s favorite holiday meal
  • Have a desk or home office decorating contest
  • End the day with a holiday happy hour
  • Schedule time for virtual team building activities

3. Flex your skills

Whether things at work slow down or ramp up over the holidays, there’s nothing stopping you from using this time to show your boss what you’re made of. Schedules are often altered a bit on a holiday, which could give you some extra bandwidth to work through things that aren’t on your regular agenda.

A great place to start is to revisit your Accountability Chart to see if there are any new opportunities for you to boost your own performance. Maybe your manager is taking a vacation day and you need to intercept some client emails, or things are slow and you have plenty of time to finally put that proposal together. Whatever the case may be, use this time to lean into parts of your role that haven’t gotten as much love throughout the rest of the year.

4. Decompress when you can

If you ended up worked through the holidays and your company offers a flexible floating holiday vacation policy, consider taking time off after the holiday shuffle is over and schedules go back to “normal”. If others had the day off, touch base with your team and wrap up any loose ends. Then reward yourself with your own time off.

If you are unable to take a vacation day, do what you can to find time for yourself outside of work. Schedule a few hours of alone time or plan a time where you can catch up with a friend uninterrupted. Whatever you decide to do, reward yourself for all your hard work by dedicating time to use the way you want.

5. Remember your mission

We’re not talking about your company’s mission (though that’s an important thing to keep in mind too!). We mean your personal reason(s) for doing what you do. Determining what drives you to show up every day will keep you focused and help you stay motivated during your holiday shift.

If you’re having a hard time putting your finger on what inspires you about your position, identify why and bring it up with your boss. Whether it relates to how your company approaches holiday work, or just the general structure of your position, having the tough conversations about how the company can continue getting better will benefit all of you in the long run.

When all is said and done, the most important part of approaching holiday work is to evaluate what’s most important to you. This is a great time to reflect on what’s most important to you, and identify whether you’re staying true to those values. When you’re on the track that’s right for you, working those holiday hours might just be a little brighter.

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