Why I break for Christmas (and think you should too)
By the time you’re reading this, it’ll be the last working week before Christmas here at Selling from the Heart HQ.
From 16th December we close the office for the whole of the Christmas period, until Monday 3rd 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 for many years now, 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 — 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.
**This video was recorded several years ago – but everything I say in it is just as important today
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).
Pre-pandemic, I used to like to go abroad for a spot of winter sun (and because it’s easier to switch off completely when I’m thousands of miles from my home office!!!). In the past I often stayed away right through the Christmas period. This time I haven’t even been abroad for the past 3 years, so I’m REALLY looking forward to a 9-day trip to Morocco, and then I’ll be spending the rest of the festive period pottering quietly at home, going for lovely walks and making the most of spending time with family while I’m still (temporarily) living near them in North Wales. 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 take a proper break:
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 or blog 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 etc.
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 do often ask them for things at unreasonably short notice (though I’m infinitely better at not doing that than I used to be!!).
So I do ask a lot of them (thank you Media, Angie, Clarife and Jenn — I couldn’t do what I do without you). They 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 (it’s very much up to them when they take their holidays) 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 all switch off completely
We do of course, all take breaks and holidays at other times of the year, and I typically like to take a 2 week break in the summer too. But the reality it’s not “quite” so easy to switch off completely at other times of the year and I think it’s rare that I don’t end up having do at least some work related tasks while on holiday – for example last year I actually cut my trip short by 2 days as I was offered a “too good to miss” opportunity to do an online presentation to 1200 people, and spent the last day of the holiday in my campervan on a campsite pulling the presentation together! It’s just all so easy to have a sneaky check at the inbox, pop into the Facebook Group, or just do a couple of things here and there, when the rest of the world isn’t on holiday too.
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 holiday 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 hunkered down to 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 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 it’s actually the best thing you could do for your clients. Spend time with friends, family and loved ones, sleep in until 11am, take long walks, watch movies and read fiction books, or hop on a flight to somewhere warmer. (Just one thing to watch out 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 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 2023, 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!