Five Ways to Calm Yourself During the Holidays

snowman-basketSometimes peace of mind can be discovered in counting blessings with a pot of tea and good friends.

Ringing phones clash in your head like security alarms; order forms are strung up like holly garland; and the incessant ticking of a clock in your head reminds you that time is running out.

You’re knee deep in baskets and boxes; bolts of cello and rolls of ribbon are strewn across your work table, and you’ve just taken another order of 40 baskets to join the three other major gift orders due next week because you are afraid to turn down any orders. One more ring of the phone, one more question from your sales person and you might just take some snowman ribbon and wrap it around someone’s neck. Sound familiar? If so, step away from the worktable. Put down the ribbon.  And breathe.

This scenario is one that is played out all over the country in many businesses during the hectic holiday season. While seasonal tunes are waxing sentimental and stirring up those emotional shopping urges, gift designers are in the thick of things, struggling to keep up with the pace and demand to solve the public’s desire for unique gifts. Keeping busy for the holidays should be a blessing for the gifting industry. But sometimes the holiday craziness can overshadow the reasons for being in this business and the true joy of the Christmas season.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have found that employee stress is being recognized as a major drain on corporate productivity and competitiveness and that job burnout experienced by 25 to 40 percent of U.S. workers is attributed to stress.

A survey of 30,000 by Roper Starch Worldwide showed that women who work fulltime and have children under the age of 13 report the greatest stress worldwide. The survey also showed that “globally, 23 percent of women executives and professionals, and 19 percent of their male peers, say they feel “super-stressed.” During the holidays, many gift basket business owners feel their stress loads doubled.


To combat the frenzies, try these few simple steps to stave off stressful moments:

  • Take a breather. Leave your work behind for a ten-minute break. Go outside and think about the beauty of the world. Watch the clouds go by. Stare at the stars. For ten minutes, don’t think about anything to do with work or responsibility. Take nice, even deep breaths. Feel yourself relax from head to toe.
  • Release the anxious energy. Do something that takes physical energy – fast paced walk, calisthenics, hit some tennis balls, scream. Releasing that energy helps decrease stress while physical exercise also increases well being.
  • Surround yourself with candles, soothing music and just sit still for ten minutes. Imagine yourself in a favorite place and just breathe in the peace and tranquility.
  • Put it all in perspective. Write it down and weigh it out. Seeing problems on paper helps increase possible solutions. And once you’ve taken a step back from the frenzied pace, perhaps you’ll be able to see that whatever stresses you were facing are a small drop in the bucket to bigger problems in the world.
  • Call a friend, have a good laugh, sing (even if you don’t feel like it). By diverting your attention to something pleasurable for even a few minutes, you can reduce your stress level enough to see less red and the pleasure of making green for your business.

In the midst of it all, find some time to remember why we celebrate the season – to share the ultimate love that was given to mankind. Share that joy with your customers and make it your personal mission in the gifting business to infuse tender loving care in each design you create. In doing so, you can discover that calming peace that God provides.

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