The weather is cold, the stores are packed and the sleigh bells are ringing. Yep, it is definitely the holiday season! This time of year can be filled with good tidings and cheer, but it can also bring a huge heaping pile of stress in our lives. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you an analogy that will help you understand just why you may find yourself feeling like a bit of a scrooge this time of year.
For this analogy, I want you to go back to your school days in your mind. Think back to middle school or high school when you would have to buy lunch from the cafeteria. You would walk in line, grab a tray and start piling on all the different things you wanted to have for lunch. Then, you would carefully carry it over to a table to eat everything. I want you to remember that feeling of balancing your lunch tray because that is what we are doing every day with all the different parts of our lives - especially during the holidays.
Think about everything you have on your tray right now. Usually, you have a plate full of work responsibilities on one side and another plate for family obligations. With the holidays upon us however, you might find an extra side dish of holiday preparations on one side of your tray. Maybe your work plate is beginning to overflow as your boss adds on a scoop of tasks that need to get done before the end of the year. Maybe your family plate is the one that is filling up as relatives from all over fly in to celebrate the holidays. Add another side dish here for friends and another for office parties and before you know it, things are just about to spill off your tray and into a messy pile on the ground.
When we let those work obligations or family responsibilities on our tray fill up too much, our tray starts to feel heavy or lopsided. We get so overwhelmed by all of the plates we are carrying during the holidays that we spend all our energy on just getting everything done and we completely miss out on the holiday joy and spirit. The closest we come to feeling Christmas cheer is stress eating a holiday doughnut because that one relative we really don’t want to see insists on hosting the family get together this year. Now we are not only missing out on the holiday spirit, but we are also not taking care of ourselves and our personal goals.
So I encourage you to take a moment to look at what is on your tray right now. It can help to even draw out a visual of what your tray looks like. Take a piece of paper and draw a big rectangle on it. This is your tray. Now ask yourself, what is on your tray right now? What are you carrying emotionally and psychologically? A good starting point might be to draw a plate for work and a plate for family - your traditional work life balance. From there, start thinking about all of the extra side dishes you may have added on your tray and draw those. What is causing you stress right now? What is making your tray feel heavy and unbalanced?
Taking a look at what you are carrying on your tray in life will give you a clear indicator on what you can let go of and what you can shift around on your life for more balance. You can look at the tray you have drawn out and identify what things on your plates you can possibly put on someone else’s tray who has more space. Asking for help - especially during the holidays - is the best thing that you can do for yourself so that you can feel balanced and really approach the holidays with a positive and merry spirit. ‘Tis the season after all!
If you are having trouble figuring out how to manage your time, I want to help you learn how to create a plan that you can use to make sure you have time for yourself and your career goals. That is why I am doing my planning workshop, Quit Your Job: An Intensive Workshop for the Aspiring Entrepreneur, tomorrow at 6:30pm at United By Blue. In this workshop, you will learn how to develop an actionable 90 Day plan to help you achieve all the goals you have for starting a new business that supports you. Learn more and sign up by clicking this link. I hope to see you there!