Twas the Night Before Stressmas


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the office, not a creature was stirring… well, except for everyone really. 

The Christmas holiday and end-of-year season can really seem like madness for just about anyone - in both their personal and professional lives. Everyone’s experienced the crunch of the holidays - decorating, meal/party planning, gift buying/exchanging, personal/family travel arrangements, sitting in extra traffic, waiting in lines or hoping that last shipment makes it on time, etc.

Stress has long been associated with the season, and some of us seem to get hit harder than others. Is it really the holiday though, and the thought of spending time with family, even if you do have a crazy Uncle Larry? Sure we might need a little extra spike in our eggnog once in awhile to help us sit back a bit and relax, but looking at it when it’s well lit by Rudolph’s nose, these festive times shouldn’t be kicking us quite so hard in the spirit department.

Consider that the personal holiday season is crunched up against a number of end-of-year business issues, what’s really the source of our stress?

  • Clients who are scrambling to spend unused budgets and agencies scrambling to fill their needs.
  • Everyone’s planning for next year, which might include budgeting, planning for new hires, creating new initiatives, etc.
  • For those of us in the finance/operations world, we’re dealing with tax planning, end-of-year performance metrics and closing the books
  • Sales people trying to nail down those last few year-end targets and ramping up to hit those goals for next year.
  • Attempting to reach the people you need to, but can’t because their office is already closed up for the year. Or they are using their vacation time.
  • Those of us who might be taking that vacation, but probably really shouldn’t be because we’ve got too much work on the plate, so we either have a mess to come back to next year, or it’s all been left for some other poor soul to deal with.
  • People vying for bonuses and promotions and not knowing where they stand.
  • Dealing with the interoffice politics of holiday parties and the like. 

That’s just a short list of things that tend to add a little extra pressure at this time of year. Of course, December also offers the shortest days of each year. The loss of daily sunlight doesn’t do a lot to help our moods with everything else going on around us.

So, while we’re taking a moment to reflect on the things that matter in our lives during the holiday season, don’t let the holiday be the thing that sends you into a panic-induced stress. We have enough to worry about away from home, and maybe just recognizing that it’s not really the holiday will help take a bit of that edge off. So really, ‘tis the season, just let it ring!