Surviving the Holidays and Returning to Work Refreshed  

In a perfect world, the holidays would offer the perfect reprieve from day-to-day stresses. You get to leave work behind for a few days and catch up with family and friends during a time that’s intended to be joyous and celebratory. Alas, we all know that’s not how the story actually goes. As the calendar year comes to a close, everybody’s life is filled with chaos. You’re running around with an endless to-do list, shopping for people you haven’t seen in ages, trying to keep the house clean, planning extravagant dinners that will please dozens of different taste buds, and dealing with the inevitable family feuds that will ensue around the dinner table. In reality, the holidays are simply exhausting.

Despite your very best efforts, the holidays will likely offer a few pitfalls that can leave you a little worn out. Unfortunately, with all this excitement rotating around you, you may feel even more worn out when you return to work than you did before the holidays arrived. Fret not! Our team at the International Association of Women (IAW) is no stranger to balancing stressful situations with workable office mentalities.

To help you prepare for the upcoming weeks, we’ve compiled a few relax-and-refresh strategies. Take a look!

1. Leave a Day or a Few

You need a day or a few of uninterrupted lazy couch time after all the chaos settles down. If you’re traveling out of town for the holidays, do your best to fly in a day or three before you have to be back at work. It’s almost always a bad idea to land the day before your office beckons you. If you have to be back to work on Monday, try to fly back on Saturday, so you can decompress and get ready for the week ahead.

If you’re staying in town, don’t host a soiree Sunday night and expect to be at your best Monday morning. Instead, aim for a Friday get-together, so you can have the weekend to yourself.

2. Keep Your “Me Time” in Your Schedule

Don’t forget to do things that make you happy, even if you’re entertaining a big crowd or away from home for a few days. Whatever keeps you centered during your normal work week should absolutely find itself onto your schedule when things start getting holiday crazy. Plan ahead so you have go-to activities in mind when you need to relax. The following are just a few things you may want to put on your list:

  • Yoga. Whether you’re an advanced yogi or just someone who’s always wondered what downward dog really feels like, the holidays are a great time for you to make space on your mat and leave the rest of the world behind for an hour or two. These days, every city has plenty of yoga studios, and most of the time, you don’t have to be a member to attend a class or two. Simply find a time that works best for you, sign up and breathe. Most studios have everything you need on-site, too, so you don’t have to worry about lugging extra gear if you’re doing airplane duty.
  • Cocktails. If your normal life consists of a weekly happy hour or two, build that into your holiday regimen. Sometimes, being around a ton of people can take the energy right out of you. If you need time to think, trek off to a local wine dive and make friends with the bartender or chop it up with other patrons. A little unfamiliarity can do the body good when you’re trying to reconnect with yourself.
  • Cooking. Even people who love to spend every waking hour in the kitchen can abhor the holiday season. If cooking is your therapy, find some time to make the food you love to make without catering to guests and unwanted expectations.

3. Make Time for a Massage

As soon as you’re back to work, your email will be blowing up with thousands of things you need to do. Press the “pause” button on life during your lunch break for one hour each week, and visit a masseuse. A massage will help you decompress as you find your way back into work mode, while simultaneously allowing your body and brain to hang out and relax for an hour.

IAW is a place where women can build their brand, share ideas and learn from each other. Tell us how you de-stress from the holidays and get ready to head back to work refreshed!

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