THE BLOG
11/08/2013 04:43 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

5 Things to Do to Stay Sane and Productive During the Holidays

While the anticipation of the upcoming holiday season may send shivers of joyful anticipation down the spines of children, those shivers experienced by entrepreneurs at this time of year are of anticipation of a completely different sort. The idea of mounting responsibilities and roles is enough to send anyone into near panic attacks. Adding on the pressures of running a business may just get you that much closer to the proverbial edge.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. All it takes is focus. Here are some tips to help your holidays be both productive and enjoyable!

1. F= Fun
Build in time to enjoy yourself during the season. Literally block time on your calendar for R&R. Taking any time off and out of your intense routine stops the flow of cortisol, the stress hormone, which has detrimental physical effects when continually being pumped into your body. Conversely, enjoyable activities aid in the healthy functioning of the adrenal glands, which your body needs to rebuild and repair itself.

2. O= Observation
When was the last time you just sat and looked at what was going on around you? Whether it was in the office, on your commute, or at home -- take a few minutes to just observe. Notice who is doing what, notice their body language, notice their energy levels. What is working and why is it working? What needs to be avoided or stopped? What are you doing just "because we've always done it that way?" By taking the time to step back and observe, you can save a lot of time and avert potential frustration down the line.

3. C = Cheerleading
Now is a great time to express gratitude to those around you for what they do to positively impact your life or business. It is amazing to see the power of a few heartfelt words or a handwritten note. Expressing sincere praise acts to not only motivate those around you, but elevates all parties to operate on a higher performance level. And positive mentoring and leadership, encouraging behaviors that keep everyone moving in the same direction, lifts spirits and morale -- and drives business forward!

4. U = Understanding
Maybe the most powerful tool of all is to understand why you are doing what you are doing. The single most important question to ask yourself is "why." Why are you in business? Why do you celebrate the holidays? Why do you do all the things you do? If you are hearing a lot of the word "should" in your responses, it may be a great time to reexamine that belief. A "should" is something that someone else has said that you are taking on as true for yourself. Is that really the case? Just because its tradition may not be a good enough reason if that tradition is not aligned with your values. Get back to your core values -- the whys -- and take the time to simplify your life.

5. S = Sleep
Remember that concept? With so much on your plate and so little time to get it all done, who has time for it? You do! The reality is that your body needs sleep in order to work at peak performance. Studies have shown that those who have rested have far better performance over time than those who don't. Just like putting your oxygen mask on first, it is vital that you get your rest so that you are able to be at your best for yourself, your business and your loved ones.

And lastly, follow this simple exercise routine: extend one arm, bend at elbow, reach it towards your back... and pat yourself on the back. You made it through another year -- time to enjoy where you are and look forward to the possibilities ahead!

For more by Janet M. Neal, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

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