The holidays are a busy season for most people, but for a wedding and event professional, the end of the year is pure insanity. Between fall and winter weddings, meetings, fun holiday plans, school plays, holiday trips, and the never-ending to-do list, you pretty much have no time for yourself. We’ve all had those holiday seasons where you look back and feel like you just went through the motions in a blur of stress. If COVID-19 taught us all one thing, it’s that there are true benefits to having nothing to do. As we enter the 2021 holiday season we should take a piece of that lesson with us and try to really enjoy it. Read 6 tips on how to have more work-life balance this holiday season!
1. Set Boundaries
One of the very best things you can do before you’re deep into the season is look at your calendar and mark out time where you will not work. If you are squeezing events and meetings into every single nook and cranny between October to January, you are forgetting to give yourself time to enjoy any of that time with your family and friends. Really think about the things you would enjoy doing through the holidays, carve out that time, and then protect it. If you’ve marked off a weekend for family and self-time, when a client inevitably asks for you on that exact date, you have an answer. Think of your hairstylist. If your hairstylist only has an open appointment on Thursday at 6:00 a.m., you know you're going to make it happen because it’s your hair. Make your happiness as important as your hair.
2. Get School & Family Event Dates Early
Schools always do concerts, plays, or parades for the holidays, and they seem to be especially adept at informing you of these events two hours before they happen. Your mom will for sure plan her holiday present exchange the day you have set aside to send thank you cards to vendors. Email the school secretary, and call your family, early and ask for all the planned dates so you can have them on your calendar – which is beginning to look like a crime scene map – so you aren’t scrambling later to move things around when you find out your child is starring in the Pumpkin Parade and you’re needed at your grandma’s Hanukkah kickoff. Get those dates down!
3. Host or Work: Don’t Do Both
This is often one of the hardest holiday choices, but it is for sure a choice you must make. If you are booked solid with holiday work events and weddings, you should not be the host of all the holiday dinners and parties. If hosting all the holiday dinners and parties is important to you, don't load yourself up with work in that timeframe. It’s true, you can do both, but you will enjoy none of it and will end up crying during at least one of those events. Do you want to spend Thanksgiving screaming at your partner for buying the wrong potatoes while you were working–they will get the wrong potatoes, that is certain–or berating your kids for not cleaning the bathroom properly? Don’t host the dinner if you’re slammed. Just let someone else do it, and you show up with a dish of the wrong potatoes, smiling, and nobody will know. On the other hand, tell your client you’re not free for their NYE wedding if you know that you want to throw a gorgeous New Year’s Day brunch. Adulthood usually means choosing, and in this case, choose what will get you to January healthy and well-rested.
4. Ask for Help
The easiest way to make the holiday craze less of a craze is to offload some of your million tasks onto others. Do you have access to an assistant for some events? Do you have a post-production outsource option? Can you get more childcare so you can Christmas shop? Can your partner make dinner for…three months straight? Ask! The reason many wedding professional parents really struggle in this time is because we’re doing it all, and in the end, doing it all means you’re left drained and miserable. There are no awards for the most tired on Christmas Day, and there is no joy in being the grumpiest on Thanksgiving. Look at the events coming your way, and see where you can ask for or hire a little extra help. Costco hires seasonal employees for a reason, seasonal needs are just higher. Handle your seasonal needs like Costco.
5. Enjoy Yourself
Do you really love hot chocolate and Christmas movies? Are you super into prepping amazing food the night before Thanksgiving? Do you adore making latkes every night of Hanukkah? Do those things! We work really hard to make every holiday super magical for our kids, we work really hard to deliver magic to our clients, and it’s so easy to forget to bring yourself any magic. Don’t cut out all the reasons you love the holidays in a work-family-events haze. Make time for those movies and go shop for all those fancy ingredients. You will bring more to both your work and your family if you are enjoying yourself, so find the things you enjoy and keep them in the mix.
6. Say No
At the end of the day, we can’t be everywhere doing everything. If the town tree lighting is kind of late and you’re all kind of tired, skip it. If Grandma’s Christmas party is two hours before you go to work, don’t go. If you have a client that is incredibly demanding of your time every evening, send to voicemail until business hours. This isn’t the season of making everyone else happy at the expense of yourself. Make this season the time of seeing your loved ones smiling, feeling proud of your work, and humming holiday songs in the car. If people and events are draining you and filling you with anxiety before you even get there, just don’t do it. You're not a Nike ad. Don’t overcommit and don’t try to do all of the things. Your kids don’t need to see Santa nine times, you don’t need to attend three vendor cocktail parties, and you definitely don’t need to host your entire extended family in your backyard if they never help clean up. Pick a few things and make them special.
At the end of the day, when you’re overextended at weddings over holiday months, you really need time to rest so don’t forget to say no, don’t forget to ask for help, and don’t forget to set boundaries. In your efforts to make everyone else have the best holiday season, don’t forget yourself. You deserve as much help as Costco in December, as much schedule control as your hairstylist, and as much magic as your kids.