As safety professionals, you are all acutely aware of stress and what it can do to your employees. I just want you to remember that you're not immune. Stress can be a real threat to you, especially during the holiday season, and especially when you're in the midst of a job funk or a job search. I think I can offer you some advice in this regard.
Actually, the advice comes from my colleague, Linda R. Dominguez. She is principal of the executive coaching and resource network (www.executive-coaching.com) and author of Take Control of Your Career (McGraw-Hill, 2003). The other day, Linda and I were sharing a cup of cider and wondering how we were going to make it through Thanksgiving. She seemed to have a handle on the whole holiday survival routine. So I thought I'd share her thoughts with you.
Here are some tips to help you not only survive but enjoy this Holiday Season:
1. Keep it Simple
This is the time of the year when we run ourselves ragged - shopping, sending cards, making gifts, attending parties and even decorating our homes. Simplify things. How? By remembering that these are just means to an end and that the ultimate goal is a simple one: To be with the people you love.
If you find yourself getting stressed, take five seconds to use the Stop-Challenge-Choose process:
- Stop : Ask yourself, what is going on here? What just happened?
- Challenge : Why am I stressed? How important is __________, and do I need to expend negative energy over this?
- Choose : How would I like this to turn out? What can I do right now to make that happen?
It might sound trite, but it really works for me.
2. Don't Hesitate to Say "No"
Saying no to family, friends, colleagues and others can be especially tough this time of year. But be prepared to do it. Remember, when you say "no" in a neutral way (without anger, embarrassment or frustration), you don't need to explain yourself further. No excuses necessary - thank you, but no.
3. Don't Hesitate to Say "Yes"
Keep in mind that holidays are a time not just for family and friends but for career opportunity. In particular, holiday gatherings are a perfect forum for networking. Be on the lookout for these opportunities and cash them in.
4. Watch the Spending
The holidays are a time when some people go overboard with their spending. If you want to avoid the panic when those bills arrive in January, you better cut the spending in December. One way to do this is to take advantage of all the free entertainment on offer. For instance, driving around to look at holiday decorations can be just as fun as blowing $300 for tickets to see the Nutcracker Suite.
For gift giving, set a spending limit for each person or family, and stick to it. 'Got a big, extended family? Draw names so you don't have to buy nine gifts. Or be frank with your adult relations - tell them to limit to just one gift for you and you can do so for them. When I lived in England, it was delightful to watch children, even in wealthy homes, show so much joy over three or four gifts, not 20. For them, opening the Christmas stocking was far more special than the bonanza under the tree.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Have fun in your own way, and respect others by allowing them to do the same. Manage your time and energy by taking good care of yourself: get plenty of sleep, eat right, get some exercise, do something to relax - and of course, watch the alcohol intake.
You can choose to spend the Holiday Season in gratitude and peace, by keeping it simple, managing the money, and taking extra-special care of yourself - both emotionally and physically. And come January, you'll be ready to stretch to meet your new goals!
Wishing you career success,