The 5 Best Ways to Deal with January Stress

1403732772383_stressful-situationOften transitioning into work mode again in early January is hard . You may feel bombarded with a backlog of due dates and project deadlines. It’s that tricky switch from the “holiday” mindset to the “work” mindset. It’s a common issue many of us face, YET a lot easier to navigate than you might think.

Here are the 5 top tips for moving back into work mode successfully and stress free.

1. Look at the negative in a positive light!

Often 80% of your stress is being stressed about being stressed. In Kelly McGonigal’s  TED talk “How to Make Stress Your Friend” she talks about this phenomenon. It’s based on the misconception that all stress is bad for you. Ask yourself “What’s good about your deadlines and work backlog?” You might hear yourself say things like “I have interesting projects on the go.” “I’m making money instead of spending it”. “I’m becoming better at prioritization”. This simple change of perspective will lower cortisol levels, increase relaxation, and enhance brain capacity to deal with the work.

2. Remind yourself of the good end-goal

When the work gets challenging, remind yourself of why you took on these tasks in the first place. Think of the big picture and reenergize yourself with your original purpose and intent. For example, I’ve taken on this project to challenge myself and learn new things. I’m doing this presentation so that I can get new customers, increase my brand, and make a difference for people. Now, put your inspiring end goal on a stickie note where you can see it while you work.

3. Take a mini break

It’s seductive to over-work if you’ve just come off a holiday, but that may undermine the good benefits you received from taking time off. Take mini breaks where you put your mind on something altogether different and preferably enjoyable. For example, take walk in nature, enjoy a mini nap of 10 minutes, have a 5 minute check in call with a loved one. This will rejuvenate you enough to continue and finish your workload.

4. Be your own best coach

Often exhaustion happens when you let the “inner task master” push you too hard. A few kind words to yourself can get you going again. Make a list of 5 accomplishments or things you appreciate about yourself–especially regarding your work. For example, I put in a focused 8 hours on this project yesterday. I got a good night’s sleep. I went to the gym. Positive focus like this can increase your vitality levels and mood. Tell yourself you can get the work done AND stay in a good mood at the SAME TIME…and you will be surprised that you can actually program yourself to do just that.

 5. Take pride in your progress

Break your next goal into small incremental tasks. Tick off each one as you do them. This makes it psychologically easier to finish a big project.  For example, if you are creating a Power Point presentation you could break it down into 5 sections. Opening, Overview, Point #1, Point #2, Point #3, Closing. It can help you feel like you are accomplishing things even if it’s not complete yet. You are moving closer to the finish line, and that’s something to be proud of!

If you have tips for transitioning from holiday mode to work mode…add it in the comments below.


Carla Rieger is an entertaining, motivational keynote speaker on the top habits of highly resilient people. Creative resilience is the top skill you now need to  thrive in this fast paced world we now live in. It’s become a do or die skill. Bring Carla in as your humorous opening or closing speaker for your conference, sales rally, staff appreciation event, or professional development day…and set your audience on fire!