19 Female Leaders on Saying No to Holiday Stress
‘Tis the season to curl up in a small ball and hide under your desk because you’re so overwhelmed? Not anymore! While the last quarter of the year is often chaotic and busy, it’s important to manage stress before it becomes too much to manage. If you struggle to set boundaries, say ‘no’ and let go of perfectionism, these 19 female leaders across several industries offer their insight so you can say no like a pro when it comes to stress.
USE YOUR HANDS FOR SOMETHING BESIDES TYPING ON A KEYBOARD OR TAPPING A SCREEN
“As a busy professional, it can be so hard to unplug, but it is also so good for your mental health. To make disconnecting easier, put your phone out of your line of sight, or even in a drawer. Then choose an activity that will keep your hands busy — even better if they are dirty too. When your hands are tied up, you’re less likely to end up scrolling social or flipping TV stations absentmindedly. Some of my favorite ways to disconnect with loved ones are playing a board game, doing a craft like pottery, baking family recipes and looking through old photos. When I’m looking to unplug and de-stress by myself during the holidays, I love to read a paperback book while taking a bath, do home renovation projects — hitting nails with a hammer is pretty self-relieving as well — and play with my dogs.” —Samantha Hoff, wellness expert and founder of Pottery with a Purpose
MAKE A TO-DO LIST & COMPLETE IT (BUT DON’T BE HARD ON YOURSELF IF YOU DON’T)
“Being goal-oriented is one of my superpowers. I need to write down or put my goals on paper to make them happen. I will move it to tomorrow’s list if it doesn’t happen today. This is for both daily goals and long-term goals. For long-term goals, I make a vision board. For the gifting season, it’s my Excel shopping list. It brings me so much joy.” —Alina Villasante, the founder and designer of Peace Love World
DON’T BE ASHAMED TO OUTSOURCE WHAT YOU CAN
“I used to be the mom that’s chaotically running around in total frustration at the last minute, trying to finish everything by myself. Worse yet, I’d have difficulty enjoying the holidays with my family because I was too focused on making everything perfect. I had to realize that it’s better to have things done than done by me. For example, I could get my gifts wrapped professionally so that there’s one less thing for me to do. I could also cut back on cooking by having our holiday dinner catered or buying the side dishes at the grocery store. I could even hire professionals to decorate the outside of the house. None of these make me any less than a great mom, and the money is usually worth the mindfulness I get knowing that there’s one less thing I need to get done.” —Parisa Bady, CEO of Meros Media
DON’T STRESS TOO MUCH ABOUT THE PERFECT GIFTS
“I can’t tell you how much I used to stress out over getting clients and staff the perfectly thoughtful holiday gift. A few years ago, I stumbled upon some good ideas that I’ve consistently put into rotation ever since — and I have calendar reminders set so my assistant can order the gifts. Taking the guesswork out of gifts and removing the task of purchasing and shipping them myself made a huge difference. Gifts are always on point, and never late.
The gifts themselves are super simple – bonsai/money trees with fun messaging on the card, gift certificates to local restaurants, and so on. I find that internal staff prefer a cash bonus and/or additional PTO. Sprinkling some extra PTO around the holidays can improve morale and make the team feel less stressed (which, in turn, makes me feel less stressed).” —Kari DePhillips, founder and CEO of The Content Factory
SET — AND STICK TO — STRONG BOUNDARIES
“In the office and for work, a great way to cut back on holiday stress is to be very clear about your boundaries about time! I put my holiday working hours in my email signature starting in November so it’s very clear when I will and won’t be available. And, give yourself buffer days so you’re not going from holiday craze into work and back and forth. Remember, taking time off is okay. You’re worth the rest and break. It’s also okay not to say ‘yes’ to every work event, Zoom happy hour, and party. Decide how much time and energy you want to spend on parties ahead of time and allow for just that time — you do not have to burn yourself out for other people.” —Olivia Dreizen Howell, CEO of Fresh Starts Registry
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