To Work or Not to Work Over the Holidays
What do you do over the holidays? Shutdown your business completely? Keep your regular work schedule? Or some combo?
To be, or not to be .. in the booth over the holidays.
For some, this is a pretty easy question with a straightforward answer:
NO. "For crying out loud" - I guess that's still a thing - "It's the holidays! Time to devote to God and the family." With all the together time, hugs, squabbles, and fights for food and presents taking precedence over mundane work matters. At least for a week or two.
For others, it's "Business as usual." No going all out on the holidays or caring two figs about an oversized ball descending from on high to count down the remaining seconds to the new year. Better to take advantage of some relatively quiet time to catch up, clean up, and prepare for a new fiscal year.
And then there are some of us who like to cut the difference, Goldilocks-style. But without the breaking and entering, destruction of furniture, or theft of food stuffs. We prefer to slow down the work and fit it around family get-togethers on an as-needed, as-desired basis. Or as the place to beat a hasty (and temporary) retreat to from the same.
That's the happy middle where I like to live. It's especially easy this year since I'm not the one traveling this holiday season. I just have to play host.
It depends on YOU and what makes you happiest ... and healthiest. And what your family will tolerate!
Advantage of being Mom
It's taken a few years, but now I'm the mom that the adult and college-age kids come home to. Yup, that means extra cooking, cleaning, and laundry, too! But it's all worth it to have family together, at least for a short time again.
It also means that I don't have to deal with extra traffic, airline security lines, and all the packing, unpacking, and making myself useful in someone else's home. That's worth a LOT.
I'm not the matriarch in my family - yet - but I've segued into becoming the destination for family and home-centered celebrations for my immediate family. A nice sign that along the way as a mom, I must have done something right.
A respite from family hoopla
The Oxford dictionary defines "hoopla" as North American slang for "excitement surrounding an event or situation, especially when considered to be unnecessary fuss." It's also fun to say.
But most importantly, hoopla pretty accurately describes all the hubbub of family coming together to catch up on everyone's news, argue about points large, small, and political (sigh), and dredge up old dirt on each other. Fun stuff. No wonder that after a while, everyone - especially the hostess - needs a break.
For me, that's a quick dive into my voiceover studio, where I'll happily take on last minute auditions and rush jobs. It's the perfect change of pace and shifts my brain from chaotic, overworked, let's-keep-'em-happy-for-as-long-as-I-can mode to pure creative play. Ahhhh.... I really do emerge from the booth that much more refreshed. My version of "Calgon, take me away!"
The only frenzy in the family should be during the tearing open of presents.
Moderation, the perfect balance
The trick to hosting happy family holiday celebrations is to strike a healthy balance between taking care of everyone else's needs, while not completely neglecting yourself. Not always easy! If you have a large family, enlist your spouse, siblings, and adult kids to share the work and keep things positive.
You may have a relatively small family, like I do, but that doesn't mean we still don't need some time to ourselves, too. Going for a walk, provided the weather isn't too cold or downright frightful. Quiet time sitting by a warming fire, ideally with a book or glass of wine in hand. Enjoying a favorite movie with loved ones. Or finding time to exercise, meditate, write ... or focus on your business. If a bit of work here and there helps keep you organized or just makes you feel better about being on top of things - more power to you! Kudos if it also gives you a creative outlet and a much needed break.
There's nothing wrong with some "me time" in the middle of all the holiday time craziness. A little moderation goes a long way to keeping yourself balanced. The only frenzy in the family should be during the tearing open of presents.
Laura's Quick Tips
Do what's best for you and your family
If you need a little "me time" - take it! Everyone will be better off for it.
"If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy"
The holiday season is a marvelous time for families to spend together. It's also one of the most stressful times of the year, because families ARE together, and there's this expectation that everyone should be happy and joyful throughout. Yeah. Sure. Not realistic. Happy and joyful only go so far, particularly when families are together. Too often, social filters are tossed out, new arguments arise, and old rivalries resurrect themselves.
My best advice? Pace yourself and encourage everyone to take a little quiet time out for themselves - however they wish to spend it. Work a little, if it makes you happy. Play a lot and laugh. Give kids and teens ample time to decompress and let off steam, ideally OUTSIDE the house.
Most importantly, if the family is converging on your parents' home ... be sure to help out your mama. 😏