On January 4th in our team morning round up meeting, my boss spoke the words the entire team seemed to be feeling: "This is always the hardest day of the year to come back to work." I was admittedly feeling exactly the same way. And it got me thinking -- why? Yes, it's hard to come back after any vacation time. But, it's not just that. It's that whole after-the-holidays let down.
I love the holidays. My holiday season starts at Halloween where I still insist on dressing up every year, decorating, and participating in fun fall activities including apple picking and pumpkin carving. Then we move on to Thanksgiving where I fully delight in creating a huge meal for my family and friends. And after Thanksgiving, the mother of all holidays -- Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. I love the decorations, the lights, and the festive holiday spirit. I love spending time searching out the perfect gifts for the people I love to show them that I love them and am grateful for them. I love the spirit of giving at this time of year. It extends beyond gift exchanges with family and friends, to an increase of giving to not-for-profits and volunteerism. And I believe THAT is what is missing from the rest of the year.
So here are three tips to help you continue that holiday spirit of thanks and giving in the workplace throughout the year.
1. Show old-school gratitude. While an email or social media thank you feels good, going out of your way to speak to someone and make eye contact with them or hand-write a note of thanks is even more meaningful. It shows that you're going out of your way to do something a little different that takes a bit more effort, and it makes your show of gratitude that much more meaningful.
2. Give immediate feedback. When someone does or says something that you appreciate, tell them! And do it immediately. Giving that immediate feedback will make them feel good, and will encourage that positive behavior to continue.
3. Offer to help. These tips are not just about people doing things for you and you showing gratitude. It's also about doing things for others. It feels good. And, honestly, offering yourself up to help others will not only create those warm fuzzy feelings inside, but it will also most likely increase your skill bandwidth in taking on new tasks and will expose you to more people within your company--both of which can have positive outcomes on your career.