Hourglass on a beach

Be nice – to yourself

Do you have a list of things to be done before your well-deserved and needed Christmas break? You are probably not alone. In this post, the bloggers share their thoughts and tips on how to cope with the sometimes crazy Christmas time. 

This is the third post in our advent calendar. Previously the bloggers have written a wish list to Santa, and shared their thoughts on the joy of giving.

Slow and steady

By Luca Love

Photo: Murray Campbell/Unsplash

It is a hectic time but I remind myself that some deadlines are arbitrary and self imposed. We may want to finish a task by Easter, Christmas, Midsommar, this Friday, before the party et cetera ad infinitum but unless there is a hard submission or grant deadline these are arbitrary. It is better to be slow and steady instead of fast but then “Oh wait this is not well designed and rushed so I need to spend more time and money redoing it properly”. So work hard and smart but at your own pace.

Oh yes and make a habit of doing NO work over Xmas or any other important holiday. Again, unless there is a big important and real deadline. Nothing is worth sacrificing your family and wellbeing for.

Time to act

Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash

By Tracer Yong

We all know the end of the year can be stressful: all types of work need to be wrapped up, and if you are a student, all types of final exam guarding your entrance into your vacation (with grim face). Well, please don’t expect any tips from me on how to deal with them, there is just no way around (a-ha!). However I think It’s a great time to review what you have involved yourself into.

We should all work on things that we are passionate about. Unfortunately, we do get into some situations where we are not completely happy with and not being aware about. It can range from personal aspects like a mismatched friendship/relationship, to professional life such as an uninformed career choice. Most of the time these concerns do not emerge without some stressful moments. Therefore, in my view, there is no better time of year to act!

Be with people you cherish, tell your true feelings, set goals that excite you, and you are all set for an amazing 2024!

Give colours to your life (task list)

Photo: Alexander Grey/Unsplash

By Meruert Sarsenova

We all have goals (personal, work/study related, and so on depending on our needs and ambitions). Planning, including setting deadlines, should help achieve the goals if they are realistic. And every year begins with planning and ends with meeting the deadlines (and of course, many more plans and deadlines are set throughout the year). Going through your task list might be overwhelming in case you have a long list, and the deadlines are approaching. What if you try to colour-code each task with a stress or ‘needed-effort’ level? For example, some tasks might seem scary and stressful, but you don’t actually need to feel this way. 

  1. Think about what the stress/’needed-effort’ level scale might be (e.g. 1-3 “low”, 4-6 “medium”, 7-9 “high”) and assign colours to them (pick your favourite colours or maybe classic green/yellow/red)
  2. Write down the task and next to each task write the level and mark it with colour (you can do it on paper or in any app you use)

This way, every time you look at you task list, you will be reminded that some of the tasks don’t necessarily have to cause you stress, and it can probably help prioritise them as well.

Be compassionate – to yourself and others

Photo: Christin Hume/Unsplash

By Oksana Goroshchuck

No matter whether you believe in Jesus’ birth, Christmas holidays in many countries is truly a time for resolutions, deadlines, and of course, plenty of parties before everyone either goes on vacation or stays away from work. In such hectic times, one of the most important words you should say sometimes is “no”. The second word you should keep in mind is Swedish “lagom”. 

I learned to say “no” and not stay too long at the parties or mingles – to get enough sleep. Sometimes, you should say “no” to too much drinking and overeating over the holidays (even though with julbords it may be very challenging!). It’s ok to say “no” to more experiments in the lab or taking additional tasks. It’s ok to choose a long walk in the forest over another “get-together-before-everyone-leaves”.

Same thing is with “lagom”. Despite the fact that it may sound boring if we’re talking about the holidays, it may help you not to exhaust yourself over the festivities. It’s ok not to go to every party you’re invited to. If everyone is required to bring something and you don’t have enough time to bake your signature cake, it’s still ok to bring yourself and some ginger cookies. Find your perfect balance.

Also, you may think about people, for whom the holiday season isn’t festive at all. With wars going on in the world, please, be compassionate if someone refuses to come to your party or can’t keep up with the deadline, because a missile was shelled in their hometown, and they are worried about their friends and family. The real world never stops disappointing us, no matter what date is on the calendar.

I believe thinking about yourself and others over the holiday season will help you to not overwork, overindulge yourself, get too tired of social interactions and enter the post-holiday season with a fresh and rested mind.

Good enough is more than enough

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

By Natalie von der Lehr

This is what usually gets me into trouble: It is more fun to say yes than no. I also have a slight problem letting go of texts and podcasts before I am happy with them. On top of everything I am a time optimist. Oh, and I am a professional procrastinator.

“Before Christmas” is a quite usual deadline, and it makes sense to get things done so we all can relax during the holidays. But stressing to get slightly too much done, in a slightly too perfect state, while also being social (christmas parties and such), following the Nobel Week (one of the busiest weeks for science journalists) and having a birthday in the middle of it all, is just not working. 

So what’s the solution to all of this? For me, having the following in mind (sort of) works:

  1. New projects are for January (saying “yes, but next year” instead of “no”)
  2. Good enough is more than enough (assuming you like things to be perfect, and after all there is a process called editing also)
  3. Get things done, off your list and more than anything, off your mind
  4. Those things that do not get done – move them to January. 

Be nice to yourself, and don’t put pressure and expectations on yourself that you wouldn’t expect from anybody else. And don’t forget to enjoy december. 


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