Don’t Forget to Slow Down this Holiday Season!

This Christmas eve, while I was doing some last-minute gift wrapping, my phone buzzed. It was an editing opportunity through one of the companies for which I work. The rate wasn’t bad, but the problem was, the assignment would be due at six a.m. in the next morning. I decided to turn it down. After spending the last few months working on several big projects simultaneously, I realized that I cannot live in a racing mode forever. And so shouldn’t you. Sometimes, slowing down is the best thing you can do for yourself.

The holiday season can conjure a variety of emotions. In the ideal world, it should be the time of pure joy and happiness. For many, however, it’s a very stressful time. Searching for the perfect gifts, juggling family gatherings, and even spending hours in a traffic jam just to get to some major mall during Boxing Week can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed. For students, freelancers, and, broadly speaking, people of many occupations/life paths, the time before the holiday week is often the busiest time of the year, when deadlines, exams, and other commitments can take toll on one’s health and emotional well being. No wonder that the feeling of depletion often sets in once the initial hustle and bustle of holiday preparations is over. The good news is that this feeling is fully preventable.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or any other religious/secular holiday, most likely, you’re spending lots of time with your family members and friends. And this is great! Connecting with people you care about the most is vital. No matter how busy we are, we all strive to make time for those who matter to us the most. However, it’s equally important to make time for yourself. So don’t feel guilty about picking your favorite book, taking a solo walk, or just chilling down on the couch.

Barring some world events and celebrity deaths, 2016 has been a great year for me. After several years of doing gigs on a side, I finally launched my editing business. The journey to freelancing was far from an easy one. I had to learn the ins and outs of web design, social media management, and self-marketing. I also ran into a lot of projects that led nowhere and even had to deal with a few clients who refused to pay. When something isn’t working quite right, it’s easy to allow self-doubt to take over. In the end, I found courage to continue trying, and my efforts paid off. I found lots of wonderful clients, both in my local community and outside. In addition to freelancing, I also published my first book and began working on another (More details are coming soon!).

Wherever you are in your life journey, I’m sure you’ve had some ups and downs as well.  If you fulfilled all your resolutions for 2016, it’s awesome! If you didn’t, don’t be hard on yourself. There’s always another year and another opportunity for growth waiting for you around the corner. Remember to slow down and simply enjoy this special time of the year.

This year’s holiday season is particularly special because two major religious holidays, Christmas and Hanukah, fall on the same date. If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the history behind these festivities, I highly recommend an article by James Tabor, a renowned Biblical scholar. You can read it here.

Wishing everyone a happy 2017!