The holiday season has officially arrived and with it comes the familiar rush of parties, fairs, markets, sales, and social events. I work for an online retail company and we, like many makers and merchants, have been preparing for the holiday season since July. We’ve done so much work to get ready and I can’t believe the holiday rush is here. This is the time that you as creative and handmade business owners put the plans you have been making for months into action. But amidst the swirl and sparkles of the season I want to take a moment to discuss how to find ways to take a break and enjoy this time that you’ve spent so long preparing for.
I’m not the first one to tell you that taking a break is crucial to maintaining your sanity during a stressful time of year, but you might think, “How can I when I have so much to do, show, sell, buy, make and plan?” But building some time to take a pause in your holiday whirlwind is important to keep your energy level up and make sure your business shines during the season.
Here are a few ideas to find serenity during the season:
Plan and automate routine tasks in advance
Pre-schedule your social media outreach such as tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts in advance so that your online presence doesn’t fall by the wayside as you run around fulfilling your seasonal obligations. You will also save yourself from the pressure of coming up with content on the fly. Concentrate on creating and scheduling a week of content at once so that you can rest assured that your communications are not another nagging task on your plate.
Build a short, relaxing, healthy routine into your day
The holidays are not the time to turn over a brand new meditation, beauty or exercise leaf, but taking fifteen to twenty minutes each day for yourself can provide a chance to find your center in the social and selling blitz of the holidays. Find a time that works for you and block that time off on your calendar for yourself. Your routine could be a short meditation or yoga session in the morning before you start your day or in the evening after your work day is over, a pause for a cup of tea or a short walk in the afternoon, or a bath before you go to bed. It may seem decadent, but it’s important to recharge and the time you spend on yourself will give you more energy and focus for your holiday activities.
Pre-schedule time off
Look at your calendar for the next month and pick days where you will not schedule anything – no fairs or markets, no happy hours, no holiday parties, nothing. Save this time to cook a healthy meal, do laundry, catch up on reading, making cookies or whatever you want. It’s your time! While it may seem ridiculous to schedule down time, if you are like me and are tempted to jam your calendar full every day, this is a good lesson in stepping back.
Build in time to be creative without pressure to produce
Take some time to engage your creativity in a way that does not relate to your creative business. Try out a new holiday cookie recipe, create some original holiday cards, or even make a vision board that allows you to reflect on the year that’s coming to an end and what’s ahead. One of my favorite things to do is to combine one of these activities with a low-key social get together – why not a cookie, card or vision board making party? Whatever it is, keep the project manageable and confined to a few hours. It should be a welcome, refreshing break to step out of your busy holiday routine and make something you feel good about.
The holiday season can be a stressful time that can feel more like an obligation than merriment, but taking the time to plan, manage your schedule, and finding moments to take a breath, reflect and re-energize can help you get through the season with style.
What’s your holiday coping strategy?
Eleanor Callott Whitney is a writer, rock musician, educator, and arts administrator raised in Maine and living in Brooklyn. She finds joy in bringing order to the chaos of creativity, empowering artists with the tools they need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and in managing and facilitating creative projects with panache. She is the author of Grow: How to take your DIY project and passion to the next level and quit your job! and writes extensively about art, culture and nonprofit management. She published the personal, art zine Indulgence for 15 years, as well as co-founded the Portland Zine Symposium and has worked for the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, and P.O.V./American Documentary. She is the proud recipient of a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College where she learned to stop worrying and love statistical and budgetary analysis.