There's no denying that the holidays can be a stressful time -- between expectations to hit year-end goals, plan a budget for the new year, fewer days to complete assignments, and social obligations outside of work, it can be easy to let the stress affect your work and peace of mind.

But the holidays create a wonderful opportunity to celebrate family and giving thanks for the many blessings in your life, including your work and your coworkers. With a little intentional planning and organization, this is how you fill the holiday season with cheer, even while working towards those year-end deadlines.

1. Find Your Passion

Identify the aspects of your job that you are most passionate about, and structure your days so that your work is focused on those aspects. When work brings joy and purpose to your life, all the stress that's typically associated with the holiday crunch period tends to decrease. It's also helpful to communicate exactly what it is about your job that makes you most passionate to leaders in the company, so that they can help you grow in the areas that interest you most.

2. Find Your Purpose

Just as identifying the aspects of your job that you enjoy takes some of the tedium out of day-to-day tasks, keeping a focus on your purpose at work helps to lower stress and increase your enjoyment of your work.

Identify your long-term goals within the company and find new ways to actively work towards them, rather than letting yourself get bogged down in day-to-day busywork. All those daily tasks and projects can feel like a burden if you don't consistently remind yourself of what it is you really want to achieve in the long-term at your job -- and how those seemingly menial tasks will help you get there.

3. Surround Yourself with Loved Ones

Beat the holiday blues by spending time with the people you care about most. At the end of the day, it's your family and friends who will be there for you long after you've retired or moved on to another job. Always keep that in mind when work becomes stressful, and let it guide your efforts to maintain a positive work-life balance.

4. Simplify Your Life

Particularly in our hyper-connected age, where obligations and distractions are just a text or an instant message away, too often we stretch ourselves thin trying to do a million things at once. It's key that we prioritize the things we need to do and determine what is actually important, and that goes double during stressful periods in our lives. Take a step back, assess your priorities, and simplify.

5. Learn Something New

For motivated professionals, the opportunity to constantly learn new things is a major source of happiness at work -- as well as of personal growth. Take the time this holiday season to learn a new skill, whether or not it's related to your career.

Sign up for a class that's applicable to your job, such as a course in public speaking or graphic design, or something that's meant to broaden your outlook in general -- be it learning to play chess, braid your daughter's hair, or speak a new language. You'll be surprised to find that the boost to your self-esteem lasts well into the new year.

6. Jumpstart Accountability

Don't wait until 2019 to take accountability to create the kind of results you want -- in life and work alike.

Accountability is the "personal choice to rise above one's circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results." While committing to higher personal accountability this holiday season may sound like more work, it is actually a fundamental step in finding happiness at work.

This is because true accountability empowers and motivates individuals to achieve both their professional goals and their organization's top objectives. According to the results of our "Happiness at Work" survey, most employees report that becoming more accountable has had a positive impact on their personal level of engagement at work. The result is a positive cycle of taking ownership for key objectives that the team or company must achieve, and a sense of personal agency that creates genuine happiness.

Reduce Work-Related Stress by Prioritizing Goals

All of these steps are meant to help you home in on what's most important to you in your work and life -- and to prioritize these goals over tasks that may seem important in the short-term, but only serve to distract from your greater ambitions. Identify those things that you care about, that you are passionate about, and that make you happy -- and even if just for a few days, don't worry about the rest.

Published on: Dec 5, 2018
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