Ah, Christmas – the season of peace and joy and selflessness. Oh, and STRESS! Name any common cause of stress and it’s probably present during the holidays – financial worries, major travel, disruption of routine, busier than usual schedules. For those who run a retail business, especially one that is based on their own creative endeavors, the situation is even more dire. Sales pick up (if you’re lucky), and demands on your time come thick and fast. Now more than ever the independent artist/businessperson needs to bring all their creative resources to bear to meet the season’s challenges.
Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever foolishly tried to hand-make all their Christmas presents will probably be aware, stress greatly impedes creativity. The feeling of being overwhelmed seems to block out all other signals in the brain, resulting in the craftsperson sitting in front of a blank canvas or table full of supplies in very real danger of hyperventilating, and with no real chance of actually getting anything done.
There’s really no fool-proof way of dealing with holiday stress, but luckily, whether you’re facing an open house with no inventory or just need to get that pile of Christmas cards mailed out in time, there are a few simple tasks that can help you begin to find a foothold. The trick is to do what it takes to feel that you’re in control of the situation. For me, that means tackling the jobs that don’t require creative input, like getting the studio clean so I can find what I need when I do sit down to work, or dealing with that pile of laundry that’s been adding to my stress all weekend. Those tasks may not seem directly related to the most pressing needs of the moment – in this case, getting a lot of inventory made for my upcoming studio show – but getting them out of the way gives me the foothold I need to tackle those tougher to-dos.
Pick a small task, get it done, and move on to the next. Soon you’ll find that you’ve accomplished most of your to-do list, and those few lurking tasks that were giving you the most trouble suddenly won’t seem nearly as intimidating.
Whatever holiday task you’re facing, the first step is not to let yourself be overwhelmed. And the second is probably to get off the computer and get to work! Ready…… BREAK!
PS: speaking of things that are stressing me out – don’t forget about the Big Party on the 5th!