Holiday Stress

Dealing with Holiday Stress

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If you are like every other person on the planet, then you are probably experiencing the holiday stress that comes along with this time of year.  As a business owner though it can often feel worse for some reason and can be paralyzing if we don’t deal with it properly.  There are family events, community events, shopping events, business parties, and oh yeah, work to be done!

The keys to surviving this type of pressure aren’t really any different than what it takes to deal with other busy or stressful times of the year, but when there are multiple sources of stress it can feel different if we let it.  Here are my top tips for dealing with the holiday pressures you might be feeling.

Tip 1:

First and foremost, recognize that it is not just you.  We all feel stressed this time of year, as there is a LOT going on all at once, and it can easily become overwhelming if we don’t get ahead of the feelings. Every other business owner, employee, employer, vendor, customer, and the person you interact with is feeling the same way.  So take a deep breath, hold it, then let it out slowly.  We are all in this together and we will all get through it just fine.

Tip 2:

Second, too many business owners (non-retail of course) act as if the business year ends at Thanksgiving and just give up trying to do anything.  My own team thought that the year was basically over and I had to remind them that there were four weeks before Christmas when we got back to work after Thanksgiving!

Tip 3:

Next, think about what it feels like in the weeks before you leave for your vacation.  A couple of weeks out, it feels like you have an overwhelming amount on your plate and you will never get it all done. Then, the week before you magically become the most efficient and productive person in the history of the world.  What happened?  Well, what happens is that the closer you get to that last day before you leave, the better you become at setting priorities and boundaries!  The little stuff that doesn’t really matter is simply set aside or ignored or delegated and the most important stuff actually gets done.  What if we operated every single week of the year as if it was the week before we left on vacation?  How much could you and your teams accomplish if you had laser focus on priorities?

So now that we know the three secrets – everyone feels the same way, it’s not over yet, and setting boundaries works wonders – what do we do?

I like to give my team 2-3 goals to achieve before the “end” of the year, whichever day that is for your team.  The goals might be production, revenue, new leads, new accounts, or whatever makes sense for your business. Make sure at least one of them is a “working ON the business” goal that will give you a head start on next year. Then talk about the goals every day, keep the team focused on their top priorities and goals.  Make it OK to not get to everything, and make it NOT OK to fail to complete the priority tasks/goals.  Remember that no matter what the time of year, there will almost always be more on your plate, on your team’s plate than you can possibly get to.  That’s okay, it’s normal, just make sure that you get to the right things and the rest will sort itself out.

If you need help navigating the challenge of this time of year, let’s schedule a 30-minute meeting (Zoom or in-person) to help you have a productive December.  You can schedule your call by going to

Author: Mark McNulty, Business Coach in Louisville, KY


Dealing with Holiday Stress