By David Adewusi
Kwame adjusts his glasses, and takes a deep inhale. The date on his laptop comes into view: 25th of December.
Again, just like the previous year, the day is a bore, characterised with deadlines and work meetings. While millions across the world would be getting Christmas gifts, Kwame’s reality is tied to writing, or creating a report around an event.
If you are stuck in your office during these holidays, I can only hope your duties are more exciting than Kwame’s. However, since I will also be working for the dough on Christmas day, here are a few tips I have gathered to help the workaholics get through the day:
Reschedule the Holiday
The world wouldn’t move Christmas Day just because of you, but you can always choose to celebrate on another day. Who says Christmas cannot be celebrated on the 26th of December? Or 28th? Or even the first week of January? If you definitely have to be in the office on D-Day, then it is fine to reschedule your holiday till a later time. In fact, you can speak with your friends and family to reschedule outings to fit your availability. If they don’t agree, you can enjoy the holiday as a lone wolf, watching movies, drinking wine, or enjoying your favourite home-made meal, alone.
The time of the celebration doesn’t matter as much as the celebration itself; all that matters is your happiness, and that of your friends and family if they agree to move the date.
Avoid Social Media
Scrolling through social media on Christmas day is like teasing yourself with your favourite meal, when you know — more than anyone in fact — that you wouldn’t be getting it. Social media will be filled with all the things you will miss: the reunions, the meals, the party, the love, and the yuletide happiness, and obsessing over them on social media will do one thing: make you sad. So, why don’t you prevent this by avoiding social media altogether?
When you get a break at work, take a walk or find something to eat. Rather than get all negative after feeding yourself with social media, stay happy and positive by staying offline.
Choose to be Happy at Work
There’s only one thing worse than having to work during the holidays, and this is working while angry, distracted, and doleful. It’s already unfortunate enough that you have to work, but also complaining the entire time? Horrible plan. Making the best out of a holiday at work is a psychological exercise; no Santa will surprise you with a giant cake, or a bag of gifts to lift your mood. It is up to you to do the mental exercise to get the best out of the day. Choose productivity; you can even play music and dance while you complete these tasks. It’s Christmas; you could complete your tasks wearing a Christmas hat, or a bright Christmas sweater.
Nobody wants to remain in the office all year, but by choosing to make the best out of this situation, you can enjoy the Christmas experience without feeling pity for yourself.
Plan Something With Your Co-workers
For individuals who would work from home during this period, planning something fun with co-workers can be termed as impossible. But for folks who would be stuck in a building with several other unlucky work buddies, here are a few ideas: fill the office with the brightest Christmas decorations, organise a Christmas-themed awards show, or play secret Santa. You can also order food from a nearby restaurant, eat together while sharing your major wins in the year.
Find Something That Fits Your Schedule
You would definitely regret it if you don’t take part in at least one Christmas activity. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant; it could be dinner with your family, a day at the beach with friends, or going out for drinks with your work colleagues. No matter how minute it seems, make sure you partake in a few activities that fit your schedule with your friends and family.
Take Breaks When You Need Them
Most of us choose to not take breaks because of the societal narrative we are used to, the narrative that constantly reminds us that our value is in working all the time. Contrary to this flawed narrative, we are supposed to take a break everytime we feel a need for it, and even more times this season. You have worked an entire year; isn’t it okay to just take a few hours off to clear your mind? Or an entire afternoon just to listen to music? These moments will not only help you feel relaxed, they will give your brain a chance to restart, which in turn could make you more productive.
Create Work Boundaries
If you show too much enthusiasm doing your work during the holidays, your boss can take advantage of this to saddle you with more tasks. However, while you should show as much enthusiasm as any other day of the year, it is important that you establish boundaries with your superiors. Can the task be completed without you present? Do you really have to be there for that weekend meeting? Negotiate your working days and hours, and make your stand. Always say no to sudden change in plans that would require you in the office.
Use the Opportunity to Save For January
January in itself is three months formed into one; usually long, and challenging, it is always best to prepare ahead. Since you wouldn’t be involved in several Christmas celebrations, this offers a great saving experience, and a chance to cut back on frivolous spending.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
No matter how busy your job is, there is a chance that you’d get a few hours to yourself each day. These few hours could change everything; have you always wanted to ride a bike? Or make a TikTok video? Whatever your dreams are, this is a perfect opportunity to try them out. It’s the end of the year, what do you have to lose?
Pictures are memories frozen in time, and perhaps in a few years, you will look back at these pictures, at how hard you once worked during the holidays, and it will be a reminder of the life you’ve had, the great progress of your last few years, and how far you have come. It doesn’t have to be professional; take random pictures of your workspace, yourself, and with your co-workers. Interestingly, the process is bound to make everyone involved have a good laugh.
Christmas Day at work doesn’t have to be such a complete bore; it’s up to you to make something out of an already-messed up situation. While it might not feel like it yet if you are still stuck in the office, Merry Christmas!
David Adewusi has appeared on Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, African Writer, and Naked Convos. Currently living in Ibadan and being forced to study in a Nigerian institution, his biggest dream is to be left alone.