As offices start to slow down and close for the holiday season, it's tempting to take this as a sign that you, too, should slow down, kick back, shut off your brain and try to do as little as possible. After all, you've had a terrific year and the end-of-year-rush probably has you feeling more burned-out than usual.
We sometimes think doing nothing is the antidote to work. But according to famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, we are happiest when we are doing work--specifically work that creates flow. While the holiday season is an important time to break with the typical work schedule, there are some fun ways to make the most of this break, avoid boredom and return to work stronger and more focused than ever.
Use your holiday work break to challenge your mind with activities that will excite you in the midst of your rest. Here are three ways to do this:
Build a new habit
Now is the time to build a new habit you've been wanting, so that it translates seamlessly when you go back to work. Consider meditating, getting up earlier, or getting a head start on a New Year's resolution you are making. How can you shift your daily or weekly structure to incorporate this new activity? Commit to it now, and you'll be able to hit the ground running in the New Year. You'll be a whole new person, ready to take on even greater things in January.
Reconnect with important contacts.
The holidays are a great excuse to get in touch with longtime friends, colleagues, mentors and mentees. You'll be able to genuinely connect with others during this special time of year, and you can do so without anyone thinking you have an agenda.
Remember, don't talk hardcore business, since now is really not the time to do so. Check in with their lives, their families, and their satisfaction at work. Thank them for the positive impact they have had on your life. Take time to really listen, offer encouragement, and send well-wishes. You might even want to make plans to get together in the New Year, so you have some fun things on the calendar to look forward to.
Reconnecting with great people is a productive way to rejuvenate. You'll walk away from these conversations inspired, with a fresh perspectives on how you'll move forward in 2016.
Think critically about your career--and strategize.
Check in with your career and your personal satisfaction. Did you feel challenged? Were you bored? Did you feel like you were working in your Zone of Genius?
If your current work situation leaves much to be desired, your holiday break is the perfect time to strategize and make plans for big changes in the new year. Think about your ideal work day or your dream job. What steps can you take now to get there? Outline some projects you want to take on at work, set up a meeting with your boss, or talk with a career strategist about best next steps for finding work you truly love.
If you absolutely love the work you're doing now, great! Take this time to really pinpoint exactly why you're so engaged in your work. Identify the things that make your career wonderful, and use these observations as guidelines for big career decisions through the year.
What you do during your holiday break might just be the key to your success in 2016. Use your time wisely!