Why I break for Christmas (and think you should too)
At the time you are watching this, it’s be the the last working week before Christmas here at Selling from the Heart HQ.
From 14th December we close the office for the whole of the Christmas period, until Monday 7th January. We’ll be putting the “out of office” on the inbox and the phone service, and going off to have some genuine down time to rest up and recharge our batteries ready to do our best work in the year ahead.
This is something that I’ve done ever since the first full year of Selling from the Heart and it’s become a really important part of my business cycle. So I thought I’d do a video to talk about why I do it – because it could be that it needs to be an important part of your business cycle too.
Watch the video below or scroll down to read more.
And I don’t just close the office – I take a proper break. This year I’ll be taking 3 weeks off, but in recent years I’ve taken a whole month (though I do confess to having done a bit of sneaky behind the scenes work in that final week).
Often I go abroad, usually to Goa (my spiritual home) but last year I split my time between Morocco, my parents home in North Wales and just having some quiet time to potter and sort things around my home. This year is a bit different because I’ll be starting my Christmas break by moving home, then spending Christmas with my parents and boyfriend, and hopefully squeezing in another trip to Morocco for some winter sun. Oh, and my birthday falls in between Christmas and New Year too, so that’s another good excuse to take time off!
Here’s why I do it:
1. The most important reason of all… Self-Care
I put a lot of myself into running my business and serving my clients, and for every occasion that you see me doing something “outwards facing” whether creating a video like this, hosting a Q&A call, or running a launch to enrol new members in my programmes, I’ve got an equal amount of work to do behind the scenes keeping the “back end” of things running – managing a team, writing emails, doing accounts, complying with GDPR (yes, me too – I’m not quite sorted yet either!)
But the thing is, we don’t serve our clients by working flat out to support them all the time. We also serve our clients by being well rested and being at our very best.
In my case, most of what I do in my business comes under the heading of mentoring and teaching. In other words using my brain – so my entire business depends on me not being so frazzled and exhausted that I can’t string a sentence together, give a client feedback on a complex sales process, or tap into my intuition to get a sense of the best next step for someone. So regular extended periods of genuine down-time are essential to my work (you could even say an important part of my work).
And Christmas is the one time of year when it’s really easy for me to down tools and switch off completely. It’s also generally considered acceptable to close the office during this period which isn’t so easy to do at other times of year.
2. My team need a break too
I have four wonderful people who support me in my business. Because I run launches there are several super intense and busy periods throughout the year. And because I’m a Star Profile in Wealth Dynamics, I’m frequently asking them for things at unreasonably short notice (!).
So I do ask a lot of them (thank you Sara, Lizzy, John and Rachel – I couldn’t do what I do without you). They are also all freelancers which means that they have their own businesses to run, and all the extra complexity that comes with that, and other clients to work with. So I’m not the only demanding business owner they have to keep up with – they are juggling lots of us at once! So my team also need a time each year where they can catch their breath and recharge their batteries. They don’t all take the full 3 weeks off (and it’s not up to me if they do) but I certainly encourage them to, and my closing the office makes it that bit easier for them to take a decent break.
3. We can switch off completely
We do of course all take breaks and holidays at other times of the year. (However I do admit to having been a bit slack on that front this past year. In all the excitement of launching and growing the new membership community, I only took one full week off where I didn’t do any work at all during (oops!), even though I’ve had several trips abroad, including spending a whole month “digital nomading” in Australia). But in recent years I’ve tended to take a long break in the summer too. But it’s not “quite” so easy to switch off at other times of the year. It’s too easy to have a sneaky check at the inbox, pop into the Facebook Group, or just do a couple of things here and there, especially if we take holidays at “non traditional” holiday times.
4. Our clients are mostly away
This might not be the case for your business, but in my business most of my clients are also away at this time of year. From about mid-December our Facebook groups get very quiet and emails are few and far between. So if we kept things fully manned (or womanned in our case) there wouldn’t be a huge amount to do anyway, so it makes sense to grab the quiet time and use it to switch off.
But it wasn’t always like this
I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of a Christmas saint. This long break over Christmas is something that I’ve come to see as absolutely essential for me to rest up fully and recharge my batteries ready for the year ahead. But it wasn’t like this in the early days! There were definitely several years in the earlier days of my business where I “officially” closed the office then stayed home alone over Christmas and took the opportunity to really knuckle down and work on my business without interruption.
But I can see now that that didn’t serve me. It felt good at the time to get on top of things and get a head start on the year, but the result of not having a proper break meant that by spring I was already running on empty. I now find that I come back so refreshed after a long Christmas break that it keeps me going right up until I take another long break in the summer. It really is best for me, best for my clients and best for my business.
What about you?
Will you be taking a decent – and well deserved – break over Christmas? Or just the statutory holidays? If it’s the latter, I’d love encourage you to consider taking at least 1-2 full weeks complete break from work. Especially if you are the sort of person who never quite switches off you will be amazed at just how rested and clear thinking you will be when you return.
So the message today: Take a lovely long break over Christmas. Don’t feel guilty because you deserve it, and it’s the best thing you could do for your clients. Spend time with friends, family and loved onces, sleep in until 11.00am, take long walks in the woods or on the beach, watch movies and read fiction books, or hop on a flight to somewhere warmer. (Just one this to watch ot for though: try not to overindulge too much on unhealthy food and drink or you could come back feeling like you haven’t had a break because your body is struggling to process it all!). Instead fully absorb yourself in nurturing and taking care of yourself in ways that are genuinely good for you.
Trust me – your business – and most of all your clients – will thank you for it!
I’ll be back to business (and vlogging) in the New Year but in the meantime, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and a great start to the New Year.
What will you be doing over Christmas? Working to get a head start on 2019, going away for a holiday, or switching off from business to spend time with loved ones, or taking some quiet nurturing alone time for yourself? Let me know in the comments!