During the holidays, our thoughts naturally turn to family, friends and that well-deserved work hiatus that follows the annual office party. However, many people suffer with ‘holiday anxiety’ and ‘holiday blues’ – resulting from seasonal stress and demands, unrealistic expectations, loneliness, anxiety… And then on January 1, theye experience the anticlimactic letdown and sabotaging self-evaluation.How vulnerable are you to holiday blues?Do you commit to family gatherings, and then find it hard to follow through?
Do you find it difficult to balance work demands with holiday demands–to balance your and your family’s expectations with manager or client demands?
Have your holiday experiences been a time of joy and relaxation? Or do you stress about holiday deadlines and seasonal demands of family, parties, financial constraints and over-commercialization?
Do you dread the annual office party–consider it a meaningless waste of time, money and effort?
During your holiday vacation, do you experience stress responses such as headaches, excessive eating and alcohol consumption, trouble sleeping and irritability? Anxiety or depression?
Does this promise sound familiar? “This year will be different….”
This year can be different. By applying your ‘value lens’ to your expectations and commitments, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and actually enhance the upcoming human and holiday experience. Just as values-based goal setting is a crucial tool for life planning, self help and career achievement, it’s no less important for planning leisure activities where we expect genuine meaning and instead find disappointment.The Values Lens – A Resource for Making Meaning and a Meaningful HolidayWhat is your values lens? It’s a way of seeing those things that most matter, the personal fulfillment arising from experiences in life that resonate with our sense of significance and meaning. Look at these techniques to apply your lens:Identify what motivates and inspires you–the values at play that make work, leisure and personal goals significant and achievable.
Visualize ways to apply these motivational values to the seasonal experience. Is physical activity invigorating? Is good health a value or ideal that you cherish but neglect? How about ‘giving back?’ Then training for a spring 5K run might be a valuable holiday stress reducer … shape up with your work team — forego the annual office party and cut firewood for poor elderly families.
Don’t just promise that ‘this year will be different.’ Focus makes the real difference. Create a time to focus on your values before you’re overwhelmed. Develop holiday goals that are aligned with your values — just as you’d incorporate strategic goal setting to your business vision and your family’s future. Focused goal setting for the holidays will enable you to prioritize demands and expectations – and eliminate the stressful ones that burden you. Focus is a means of separating the wheat from the chaff – with true focus on ‘less,’ your efforts will deliver a meaningful ‘more.’
Share your values and goals with your family and associates. This will help determine values that are shared and can be worked on together with sure benefits for all. It will also enable your ‘support systems’ understand that values should be respected. You’ll find that when you respect your values, others will, too.Our values really do make life meaningful for us, and further tell us when to say yes … when to say no … the guide we need for everyday and the most meaningful decisions. And when we make real meaning of any experience, it extends to our families, our friends and even our workplace associates.
Holiday Blues is a Workplace Issue, TooReducing workplace stress during the holidays is more important than many business leaders realize. Research has long demonstrated the effects of stress on health care costs, lowered productivity and workplace morale. In a Chrysalis Corporation study of 600 employees researchers found:– Two-thirds of full-time workers said they have experienced workplace stress around the holidays.– Nearly one quarter of the workers surveyed said they have taken at least one day off in the past because of holiday stress.– As for the major causes of holiday stress, 54 percent cited finding the time to shop for gifts, while 41 percent mentioned keeping up with day-to-day work responsibilities. Other factors include spending time with family and friends, 35 percent; balancing a manager’s expectations against the employee’s needs, 28 percent; and preparing for household guests, 26 percent.This holiday, experience life through your values lens. It’s a gift you give yourself that really does last a lifetime.
The author of three best-selling business books, Century 21 Real-Estate world brand developer and Scottsdale Four Seasons Resort developer, Peter H. Thomas is a highly regarded entrepreneur, business mentor and self-help guru. Though retired, he currently heads LifePilot, an international, not-for-profit organization that provides values-driven, motivational products, programs and workshops for entrepreneurial success, self-help, personal management, parenting, coaching and business leadership. LifePilot is aligned with LifeManual, Thomas’ inspirational “operations manual for life.” For more information about LifeManual, visit [web: lifemanual .com]. Contact Peter at values@lifemanual .com. Or, enjoy a free download at [web: lifemanual .com/index.php?page=read_one].