The holidays represent the most wonderful time of the year. But for many, the holidays also mean increased levels of anxiety and stress. The demands that come with the holidays – parties, entertaining, gift buying – are a lot to handle, especially for those who were already feeling overwhelmed. In fact, an online poll conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that, although one-quarter of those polled report that the holidays lift their spirits, more than half report the holidays make them feel more or very anxious and/or depressed.
Given the stress of the season, it’s no surprise that staying focused at work can be a challenge. But that’s no excuse for bringing drama into the workplace. In fact, the holidays are the perfect opportunity to prove your value and productivity as an employee. Simply put, those who can avoid the temptation to be less productive at the holidays and remain focused on results will have a competitive edge and greater job security going into the New Year.
How can you achieve this? Here are five things you can do today to help you thrive at work at the holidays and beyond:
1. Be Willing – Are you a “yes” person who is willing to take on any task that’s given to you or are you just getting through the day with the bare minimum? Are you focused at work or are you thinking about ducking out early to make that holiday sale? Leaders want to work with the willing because they are the most valuable employees who are self-motivated and use their energy not to resist or be defensive, but to get results.
2. Avoid the BMW (Bitching, Whining and Moaning) Banter – When confronted with stress or challenges, often times the response is surprise, panic and blame. Personal accountability goes out the window and you create a story that includes 100 reasons why it can’t happen rather than acknowledging that it’s not them, but your lack of readiness that’s really holding you back. Focus on the facts of the situation, and you might find it can be done!
3. Keep Your Emotions in Check – No boss or employee wants to deal with a high maintenance, high drama, moody co-worker. If all you can do is freak out about your in-laws impending visit instead of work, you might be guilty. In our personal lives it’s somewhat tolerable and even endearing at times, but at work it’s a counterproductive waste of time and energy. Remain professional and keep your holiday stress/emotions at bay and those around you will take notice.
4. Stay Focused on the Big Picture – You don’t just have a job, you have a role. That role includes what is in your job description and more, much more. Resist the urge this time of year to take the “easy street” and just focus on your piece of the puzzle. Instead, stay mindful of how your role fits into the larger goals of the company and put in the extra effort to contribute accordingly.
5. Remember, Suffering is Optional! – Perception is not always reality. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed often at home or work, odds are you are arguing with reality – a battle you will lose 100 percent of the time. The stress is not due to what is happening to you, but the stories you are telling yourself about the situation. Ask yourself questions such as “what are the facts?” and “what story am I telling myself right now?” Once you are clear on fact versus fiction, you can move ahead to add value and get results – a quality any leader is sure to reward.
Yes, it’s ok to feel the pressure of the holiday season. You are human, after all. The key is not to let it overcome you or zap you of precious energy you could be contributing at work. Those who are able to stay productive and make that happen will most certainly reap the benefits.
Cy Wakeman is a national keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times bestselling author, and trainer who has spent over 20 years cultivating a revolutionary approach to leadership. For more on Cy, check out http://www.realitybasedleadership.com/.
Looking to kick off the New Year right within your organization? Check out Cy’s latest holiday gift package that contains everything you need to bring reality back to the workplace.