I can vividly remember a time when I worked in both government and consulting jobs and there was enormous pressure to do a month’s worth of work in three weeks during the month of December. As a small business operator, I’ve learnt this is the same but being my own boss means that I get to plan when I’m busy and how busy I choose to be.
I can remember a time when I felt completely burnt out and was way too tired to enjoy Christmas. My husband worked in a retail job and dealt with cranky customers for six weeks, and frankly he hated celebrating Christmas. He was completely over it.
Thankfully that’s not us anymore. We learnt to embrace our race at our pace. As a business coach now, I regularly share my tips on how to avoid burnout as a practitioner this festive season.
Tip # 1 – Plan Ahead And Dedicate Time For Family And Friends First
By booking time for commitments you want to keep with family and friends, you can then choose to work around these times. You get to remain in charge of your calendar and not be dictated of your availability.
Be sure that these special times and appointments are clearly marked in your diary. Over the years I’ve coped a lot of flak from family when booking way in advance in the calendar, but I feel awesome when I arrive to an event, feeling refreshed and have set aside time to be able to contribute to the meal by doing some food preparation and gift wrapping.
Tip #2 – Have A 100 Day / Appointment Countdown Till Xmas Campaign
After you have marked time for you in the festive season, calculate a 100 appointment vacancy count down till xmas. EVERY time I run this campaign, I quickly fill my forward bookings. I use ‘Buddy the Elf’. And whilst I have some grinchy clients who groan when they see Buddy, there are those regular clients who will book a couple of sessions to ensure they can tolerate their mother in laws and visiting family who they only see once a year – I always laugh when people tell me these sessions help them to stay out of prison, for without it their patience and tolerance of others would have taken a vacation to the north pole!
Tip #3 – Meal Planning & Food Preparation
Now I know this sounds ridiculous, but what do you find yourself advising clients – look after yourself first! As a busy working mum who has an active social life, the month of December for me is filled with a huge variety of ‘end of year’ activities, catching up with friends etc. and then there are all the events for my daughter as well. The last thing I want to think about is what to cook for dinner.
So, I plan a month’s worth of meals, which are quick and easy to prepare. I have variety to stimulate my palate and ensure that I maintain my calorie intake. I dedicate half a day each week to do food prep for the week to limit the time I do before each meal. I want to be able to dash into the kitchen and choose less than 10 ingredients and pull together a nutritious meal.
Tip #4 – Continue Your Exercise Regime
In order to maintain my high vibe I have to move my body each and every day. So I schedule this time into my calendar. Frankly you may call this ‘control freak’, but I call this keeping myself honest and dedicated to self. It also sends a message to universe that I am committed to self. I am also demonstrating to my clients that I walk my talk. I am filling up my cup first and everyone else gets the overflow.
Tip #5 – It’s Ok To Say No
During December, sometimes friends and family may have to wait. But this is my choice because I don’t want to compromise my time with loved ones. I want to capitalise on the time we spend together and not rush it.
Therefore, I have most of my ‘delayed dates’ in January. Instead of spending an hour with dear friends and family in December, I can dedicate an entire day or weekend in January. Everyone wins and I feel so much more relaxed. This means that my vibrational energy remains high to be of service to clients. Those nearest and dearest to me understand I run my own business and feel happy that I prefer quality time with them.
December is a crazy clinical month for me. I make an active decision to work an extra weekend day during this month to support my mental health clients who struggle with the festivity of the season – for whatever their reason. So, I limit what I do on weekends socially during this month and tend to celebrate life after xmas is over.
Tip #6 – Make Your Own Traditions
We’ve experienced a family rift because we weren’t gathering on the expected Christmas day event. If we are realistic, this is just another day of the year. Yes, it’s special for kids, but frankly you make it what you want to make it.
My husband almost loathes Christmas after working in retail for nearly two decades. So he hates shopping, even for groceries during this time. So we do things that are away from the crowds. We spend quality time with people who make us laugh and make our hearts sing.
There is always silliness with my crazy festive hats. There’s also laughing at my dancing, of which it is intended. There’s always friends around my table rather than immediate family who are spread three corners of the state. Our extended families all work either for themselves or shift work. So to get us in the one place on the one day is a logistical nightmare.
Just do your best. If some year’s this doesn’t appease someone, remind yourself that their complaint is theirs and not yours. Just please you and respect others.
Embrace your race at your pace. Plan ahead so it’s more likely you can cruise along the festive pathway rather than careen towards a cliff!