10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays. . .When You Work in Retail
It's the most wonderful time of the year right? At least that is what the song that plays overhead keeps telling you, the one that you've heard for the twelfth time. . .today.
Ahhh, the holidays when you work in retail can be tons of fun or tons of stress depending on several factors. While you can't always control the weather, the long lines, or the sometimes grumpy customers (not to mention employees) there are ways I have found over the years to make them more enjoyable.
1. Plot/plan out the 7-8 weeks of the season. I like to use an old-school day planner so I can see it all at once but you can use an e version or whatever works best for you. Write in your schedule, appointments, parties, due dates for bills/projects, schedule DOWN TIME as well, schedule time with your family and friends to just enjoy the season.
2. Have your wardrobe set and ready to go. Shopping for a dress for the Christmas party during the Christmas rush is NOT fun. Have it bought and fitted. Don't forget shoes and accessories. Have your work outfits ready as well. Iron several days worth of clothing at once so you aren't scrambling in the morning. If you live where there is foul weather do you know where your hat/gloves/boots/ice scraper are?
3. Schedule 'me time', 'self care time', or whatever you want to call it. There will be a point you do not want to look at a single person. Schedule it, make it happen. It can be as simple as a bath or a hot shower with some lovely lotion afterwards, it can be a massage or time spent in the sauna. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. No one wants to be around someone who can't take care of their own self.
4. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you tired as well as cranky. To ward off any tendencies to fall into Grinch mode keep a water bottle on hand. Put some of your favorite tea bags in your purse so they are handy wherever you go. Starbucks makes great instant coffee/beverage packs you can tote along to mix up whenever you feel like it. Hydration has been a game changer for my energy levels.
5. Finish your shopping EARLY. I try to have everything purchased prior to Thanksgiving. (Chances are you are working on Black Friday so you don't need to wait for those 'deals' any way.) Use the buy online, pick up in store options that retailers offer now. Take advantage of free or charity gift wrapping options in stores. Buy online and have gifts sent directly to recipients already wrapped and ready to open. Have a stash of 'extra' gifties as well for those last minute hostess gifts. Soaps, pretty towels, scarves, lotions, mugs, liquor, all make fun gifts. Don't forget to have a stash of gift bags to put them in as well.
6. Stock up. Keep your home well stocked with the essentials, whatever that may be for you. Do you really want to have to make a Target run for toilet paper or cat litter after working a 10 hour day? I think not. My list includes: pet food/litter, coffee, paper towels/toilet paper, canned soup for a quick meal, oatmeal, yogurt cups, and some healthy frozen options when I am too tired too cook. Oh, and of course, wine for that bath I mentioned earlier.
7. Don't run on empty. Your gas tank, your phone, your wallet, you. Keep them all fed. You're running late for work after shoveling the walk when you realize your fuel light has been on for some time, you pick up your phone to tell work you'll be late only to realize you didn't plug it in last night, you finally arrive at work, hungry. . . . Keep your tank full, chargers every place you can stash them and ditto for quick snacks.
8. Don't ditch your workout routine. You do have one right? Exercise is an excellent stress-reliever. Do some yoga at home. I love Yoga With Adrienne. She is awesome and usually makes me laugh as well. Lift some weights if you don't feel like walking or running more than you already did all day at work. Swim! Take some stress off of those joints. Get outside with your pooch. Fresh air is awesome and animals are great stress relievers.
9. Do not over-commit/over do it. Do not. Do you really want to go to the 9th party of the season after working a dreaded 'clopen' shift (for those that don't work retail that is when you close the store around 10 then have to be back at 7)? What would you really hate to miss? What do you really NOT want to attend. Pick and choose wisely so you can enjoy those that you do attend. Watch the over-eating and over-drinking. Take one less cookie, keep alcohol to a serving or two if you have to work early the next morning. Heart burn and a hangover are recipes for a bad mood and a bad day.
10. Slow down and take a moment to relish the season. It's about love, family, and making memories. A year from now most won't remember if you baked the best cookies or wore the hottest dress to the party and you will have a dim memory of the day the registers went down and you had a line of customers out the door. It will all be over sooner than you realize and the cold and slow days of January will be staring you in the face.