5 Foolproof Ways to Prevent Burnout During the Holiday Season


Image credit: Secure Your Own Mask First print by Emily McDowell

By Tracy Matthews

For makers, designers and crafters, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Most likely by now, you are juggling a bunch of orders either wholesale or retail, spreading yourself thin with holiday craft fairs or trunk shows and scrambling every last minute for marketing promotions.

It’s easy to get caught up in your business and try to take everything on yourself. The end result: working your ass off and eventually getting sick, run down or in a state of total burnout. Midway through the season you might even find that you can’t wait for the holidays to be over. When I had my wholesale jewelry business, I always felt like I missed the holidays completely and spent the month running on adrenaline – and feeling terrible at the end of it.

So how do you prevent the dreaded “Holiday Burnout Syndrome?” It’s not difficult but it does take a commitment to you.

Here are 5 foolproof ways to prevent burnout during the holiday season. Get out your calendar because the most important part of these tips is to write them down so that you are  actually held accountable.

#1: Plan your marketing in advance.

Take a moment to write out and put your important milestones for the next several weeks on the calendar. Back out a few days before each event or milestone. If you are having a trunk show, make sure you sent out an invite several days before, the day before and the day of. Set a deadline for shipping on your website orders. Back out several days and plan your email marketing around the deadlines. Make your life even easier and them in advance to prevent last minute scramble.  For more holiday marketing ideas, check out our post: 3 Ways to AMP up your Holiday Jewelry Sales.

# 2: Ask for help.

As a creative solo or entre “prenuer”, often times we are bootstrapping to make ends meet. After all, we definitely want to make some money at the end of the season for our hard work. The problem and one of the biggest downfalls in a small biz is that we think that asking for help and hiring someone (even part time) is going to cost us more than it will help us increase profitability. I am here to tell you that this is a false belief.

What are you are best at in your business?  Think about what you love to do, what naturally brings money in the door and the things that light you up. What are the things that you dread doing and make you want to cry?  Maybe you don’t actually cry when you do them, but let’s face it – you procrastinate and put these things off as much as possible.

Identify all of these things that make you cringe and find someone to take those over for you. If you must, ask your sister or your husband to help you.  Prevent burnout during the holidays and hire an intern or virtual assistant. Craigslist, Odesk.com and OnlineJobs.ph are great places to find outsource workers who can work for a minimal wage but can take the load off your plate.  I work with two college students (one in NYC the other in Hawaii) and an awesome VA from the Philippines. I have never met any of them in person, but we have developed amazing working relationships. The best part is, my business runs a lot smoother with their help.

Here are ideas of a few things to outsource:

  • Writing and editing
  • Social media
  • Website updates
  • Email marketing set ups
  • Blog updates
  • Data entry
  • Research

Find an intern or a VA and track what happens once they start working. Do you start working on the items that bring more money into your business?

#3: Schedule time for yourself.

Now that you have your marketing planned and you are outsourcing, it’s time to take care of YOU! OK, some of the pressure is taken off.  Now you can make sure to spend at least 1-3 hours a day doing something special for yourself that helps you prevent burnout during the holidays and rejuvenate. Maybe it’s exercising, taking a yoga class, meditating, going for a walk, chatting with your bestie, or getting a massage (even the 10 min massages at the nail place are reinvigorating). The point is that you are taking time to do something that helps you recharge.

The most important step to this is putting it in your calendar. Make sure you are setting reminders and blocking out time for yourself. To read more extensively about calendaring, check out Robin’s post from September 26.

#4: Eat healthy and lightly.

It’s so easy to overdo it during the holiday season! Everything can bog you down from too many sweets and coffee to fancy cocktails or just too much food in general. Next time you are heading to Starbucks for another Mochachino or popping over to the dessert table for a second round, maybe take pause and reconsider. It’s all about making energizing choices. I know how hard it can be to make great choices during the holidays, but try. Eating a healthy diet with lots of veggies and drinking lots of water are your best bet against fighting of fatigue and sickness during the season. A little green juice helps too.

You’ll notice you have a lot more energy to sell your work at that Holiday Market, as well. If you are doing trunk shows, try standing instead of sitting. It’s an old trick to help keep your energy up.

#5: Get enough rest.

If you are someone who puts off sleeping in order to work more, than this one is for you. The most important thing you can do for yourself to prevent burnout during the holidays is to get plenty of sleep. Everyone is different so make sure you are clocking enough hours each night. Sometimes even an afternoon power nap can do wonders for recharging.

The truth is that most of us have a love/hate relationship with the holiday season. We bring in our highest profits at this time of the year. However, working all the time leads to burnout, exhaustion and a tinge of “I can’t wait for the holidays to be over.”

Give yourself a break.

Take action now:

  1. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write down everything that needs to be done within the next few weeks. Think marketing, making, designing, and delegating.
  2. Set your timer again for 10 minutes write out what you are best at in your business: all the things that bring money in the door.
  3. Set you timer again for 10 minutes and write out what you hate doing in your business. What can be outsourced?
  4. Sort through your notes and start creating your calendar. Schedule everything in that you want to accomplish over the next few weeks. Even block out time for self care, exercise and sleep.
  5. Find an intern. Start with a “gig” on Craigslist. College students are always looking for extra work. Remember, you don’t have to even meet them in person. Skype is a great tool for conducting interviews.

Do you get overwhelmed during the holiday season? Tell us what stresses you out and three things you are going to do to take better care of yourself during the holiday season in the comments below

Find out more advice for jewelry designers over on our blog. Pick up our 8 Sales and Marketing tips. http://bit.ly/Nofpnq


Makers, holidays wearing your down? Check out @flourish_thrive‘s tips to prevent burnout http://bit.ly/Sa7fRO


  1. Love this. Sharing of course! Is there any thought of adding a “tweet” or “facebook” share button to the blog? I can help you with this so more folks can share. (I wouldn’t charge you anything. I just love OMHG THAT much.) I just find I’m always sharing your content but have to do it manually each time. 🙂

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