Beating Holiday Burnout

The holiday season is a busy time for marketers. When you add a big spike in off-hours social obligations—not to mention delicious baked goods—the end result can look more like burnout than holiday cheer. What can you do to help yourself and your team handle the workload and stay sane in the run-up to Christmas? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Did you know that burnout is now a diagnosable condition, according to the World Health Organization? The official criteria include feelings of energy depletion, increased mental distance from one’s job and reduced professional efficacy.
  • If you’re reading this at your desk, look around the room. Odds are you’ll see someone grappling with these symptoms. Our industry is particularly susceptible. A UK study from last year found that “39% of marketers are suffering from symptoms of depression and anxiety with work being the single greatest contributor”.
  • Even if you’re not in marketing, this time of year can be a handful. A survey by Healthline found that 44% of people say that they are stressed during the holidays.
  • So what can be done to cut down on the scary and increase the merry? If you’re in a leadership role, make it easy for people to ask for time off at the holidays. Research by West Monroe found that 51% of US professionals feel uncomfortable doing it, however much they’d like to. Organizational psychologist Marc Prine warns that this can greatly increase the odds of team burnout.
  • Elizabeth Grace Saunders believes that small changes can go a long way. Her tips include good old-fashioned fresh air and exercise: “Taking time to move provides an opportunity for our bodies and minds to recalibrate. Even five minutes of outdoor exercise can have a meaningful psychological impact.”
  • Neuroscientist Patrick K. Porter’s tips for decreasing holiday stress include some equally straightforward advice: “As challenging as it might seem during the holidays, it’s vital to make sleep a priority.” So go ahead and take that nap, doctor’s orders.
  • We also like this tip: Look forward to next year. The new year is just around the corner. Anticipating new budgets and projects will keep you motivated for what you’re doing now.
  • If none of this works, you could try a little schadenfreude? Whatever holiday marketing headaches you’re facing, remember—it could be worse. You could work at Peloton.

  • If you’re already feeling burned out, we have two final tips for you. First, remember that you’re not alone. All of these studies prove it. These feelings are very common. Second, try this recipe for spiked apple cider, a favourite of our very own Kathy Kwon. It’s downright delicious.

Issue #84
Dec 15, 2019

Further Reading