It’s almost time to take a deep breath, climb off the work horse and take a well deserved break for a few days to enjoy the Christmas break. All that stands in our way is tying up all those loose ends and surviving a month of Christmas parties.
The strange thing is, that as I write these words, I am doing so as if there has been no interruption to the natural pattern of the working year. Yet in reality, this will be the first round of Christmas socialising that we will have enjoyed since December 2019 due to Covid. This time last year I was probably not alone in wondering if festive small talking over hors d’ouvres and house wines of dubious origin would end up being just a bitter sweet memory of times gone by.
It says much about our powers of adaptability that we were able to disengage from the real world and embrace online – from office to after work drinks – and then just as quickly slip back to our old habits once the crisis had passed… unless of course you were lucky/unlucky enough to be working in Downing Street while the rest of the country was making do with yet another Zoom drinks/quiz night!
Just so strange was the change of the status quo from early 2020 to early 2022 that these random memories feel like the groggy snapshots of a deep sleep dream. Nevertheless, let us rejoice and make merry, but try not to make a fool of ourselves as the Christmas party scene re-launches this month. To survive the coming weeks follow the basics; don’t drink too much too fast, don’t mix your drinks and definitely don’t forget that your boss is still your boss and not the mate you think they are after disregarding the first two pieces of advice.
So we’ve now completed the Christmas parties and its time to enjoy the festive break itself. While much of the world treats Christmas and New Year as a couple of days holiday, many Europeans – and the Brits in particular – tend to treat it as a two-week exercise in ‘Gone Fishing’. Whether you’re jetting off for a Christmas in paradise or parachuting into the next family gathering, one bit of constructive advice I can give is to turn off the phone.
Even as I write this, I know that you will laugh me off and I will fail with my own advice… but we all know that what I say is true!
The idea of a break is to have a break. Granted, the phone is as much a guarantor of entertainment as the purchase of the newly released Christmas edition of the Radio Times used to be – for anyone under the age of Gen X, this used to the bible for festive entertainment… Anyway, I diverge.
If you have a few days break, embrace them. Try to ditch the guilt and give your mind and body some time to switch off. Time invested in switching off from stress is time invested in yourself and will bring benefits in the long run. The second thing to is to revel in your rest. Most people at this time of year find themselves sleeping long and heavy through the festive break and again, this is nothing to beat yourself up over. Catching up on sleep is a healthy thing.
One more useful tip from me is to do something to break the Christmas break monotony everyday. That may be seeing friends, but it could also be going for a walk, cycle, movie – whatever it takes to get you out of the house.
Yes you will eat to much, probably drink too much too, but if excess means that by 1 January you are sick of excess and motivated to start the new year afresh, then that is a good thing too. There is a pretty grim run between January and March in parts of the Northern Hemisphere, so be rested and ready for the challenges that lie ahead, and this means being true to the Christmas break… So switch off, relax and enjoy! After all, your family and friends care about you and miss you, your clients care about their family and friends and you only have one life.