Why you owe it to yourself to take a Christmas holiday

Christmas holidayIf you’re an employee, you probably already know what time off you’ve got over Christmas.  If you don’t, you might want to have a word with the boss, it’s getting late!

It’s a bit different when you run your own business.  You could, in theory, spend the whole year working if you wanted to.  If you think that your business will collapse without you, read this and think again.

But what if you’re just itching to keep on working?  I can sympathise.  I wouldn’t have started my own business if I didn’t have a burning desire to do what I do.  It’s a great idea to have your strategy in place so you can hit the ground running in the New Year.

That’s precisely why you need to take a Christmas holiday.

A Christmas holiday gives you time to reflect

You have your head in your business the whole time.  Even if you’re a director or part of a partnership, your success depends on you.  So you work hard all year.  Before you know it you’re saying “how can it be December already?  Where has the year gone?”

Perhaps you implemented all your plans.  Maybe you didn’t.  If you’ve spent time reviewing your performance throughout the year, that’s great.  Hopefully it’s given you good insight into what worked and what didn’t.  A bit of end of year time out is still a great idea.  You can review not just specific projects but the whole year.  Looking back over everything allows you to see patterns that may not have been visible before.

This doesn’t have to be sitting down with a pen and paper either.  I find that my ‘a-ha moments’ come when I’m out for a walk or thinking about nothing.

A holiday is great for your mental health

As much as you love your business, it shouldn’t be your whole life.  I know how absorbing it can be but you need to step away sometimes.

If I mention happiness, what do you think about?  Is your business the one thing that makes you happy or is there something else?  If you don’t have anything in your life apart from work, you risk burning out.  Stress, anxiety and depression can affect you even if you love what you do.

That’s not just bad for you, it’s bad for business too.  A healthy mental state allows you to think and plan clearly.  If your brain’s befuddled you won’t make good decisions.

Your friends and family need you

Maybe you don’t have any family.  If you do and you’re not communicating with them because you’re too tied up with work, I guarantee they miss you.  If you can’t remember the last time you spent time with your kids or had a proper conversation with your partner, take a Christmas holiday and watch things start to change.

If you live alone, maybe you think this doesn’t apply to you.  It does.  Your friends will drift away if you don’t spend time with them.  If you still have your parents or siblings, face facts.  One day they’ll be gone and you’ll regret missing out.

My Dad died six years ago and I’d give anything for one more day.  This Christmas will be the first one without my mother in law.  We won’t be getting through it with work, that’s for sure.

My pledge

I’m taking a Christmas holiday.  I’m pretty good at taking breaks when I need them so I’m pledging to carry on.  Will you join me?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Further reading

If you’re worried about yourself or anyone else, there is help.  The NHS website has assessment tools and links to other services.

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