The holidays are, and have always been, my favorite time of year. I’m aware that many people struggle around this time, that some dread the holidays for reasons of their own. I get that. That is why I want to take a moment to remind you of one of the most important things about this weekend: rest.
We work all year long. We often don’t get breaks. When we finish one thing, we immediately jump right into the next, afraid that if we slow down, we’ll never get our momentum back.
The holidays especially are stressful, maybe the most stressful time of year for you. Shopping, baking, making travel plans, constantly monitoring the cat to make sure she doesn’t destroy the Christmas tree (or whatever seasonal/holiday decorations you might have up). I get it. It’s Christmas Eve, and I have to pack an entire month’s worth of festivities into one day because Adulting Stole My December. IT’S FINE. I’m not going to complain about spending an entire afternoon wrapping presents with Christmas movies playing in the background. Also, all the fudge and cookies I want. Yes please.
Other than finishing up a few things … because I am addicted and literally can’t stop … I’m mostly going to take the weekend off from writing. I don’t usually do this; I am an every-day writer. But for me, Christmas is not about work. It is about celebrating, and family, and enjoying just being still and drinking in every single precious moment. I become the opposite of the Grinch on Christmas. It’s a nice change of pace.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, take some time this weekend to relax. Spend time with friends; family; your fur babies. Don’t think about work. Don’t think about Monday, about the weather, about all the writing you’re apparently supposed to be doing right now. There is no greater time than now to put aside your projects and start to reflect on the year’s many successes and accomplishments.
It’s been a difficult year for many of us. Celebrate yourself. Give someone a gift. Take someone out for breakfast; for coffee. Let them tell you a story. Go for a walk. Do something that does not involve writing. There is still plenty of time to stress yourself out this year – and there will be plenty of time to do the same in the New Year.
Of course, if you feel the sudden urge to write – which often happens when we stop sprinting long enough for our brains to catch up – if it’s going to make you feel relieved, or elated, then by all means, take a few moments and write what’s on your mind. Maybe you need that. Maybe you haven’t written in a month, and this is the only chance you’re going to get until the calendar year comes to a close.
Whatever you do, though, don’t do it because you have to. Do it because you’re allowed to feel good, even for an hour, even for a day. You’ve worked hard this year, in some way or another. You deserve this. You deserve a day off.
Merry Christmas; Happy Holidays. May you focus on the good things in your life this weekend and in the week ahead. In your preparations for the New Year, I hope you take the time to set a few goals to write better in 2017 – however you define ‘better.’ I believe in you. I’m still going to be around to help you, in any way I can.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.