The holidays are in full swing and there are 12 days left until Christmas. Depending on your line of work, you may be extremely busy, or the holidays may be a time to rest and relax. The holidays are definitely the busiest time of year for me. At work there are endless opportunities to chase after overtime hours, and even if you don’t plan to work overtime, longer hours are still unavoidable. Add the stress of the season and other types of everyday stress, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.

In fact, I fell ill last week and spent the weekend in bed, as well as taking a sick day on Monday. I was unhappy that catching a cold meant I had to give up productivity for the weekend (even missing the chance to work extra hours on Sunday), but I made a quick recovery. When I began to feel better, I noticed a lot of sick and unhappy co-workers who didn’t take time to rest.

So here are a few tips for the holidays:

Take care of yourself. Remember work and trying to buy presents for everyone on your list isn’t all there is to the holidays. Aim for least 7 hours of sleep per night. It may be tempting to be more productive by sleeping fewer hours, but your body will suffer as a result.

Think about if working long hours per week (70-100) is really the best thing for you. I’m not going to tell you how to earn your own money, but again life is not work. Even if you love your job, it is important to take breaks. If getting to Christmas is the goal, think about how you’ll feel when the day arrives. Will you be well rested and happy to see family and friends, or will you be a tired mess? Taking time for yourself gives you an opportunity to rest and recharge rather than slowly suffering.

If you’re in an industry that does not give you the opportunity to have many days off (such as retail), maximize your free time. Spread tasks over periods of time off, so you can actually use some free time to relax. Try not to do too much on your days off.

The holidays are supposed to be a time filled with good cheer. If you feel crushed by the holidays, there’s no harm in putting on a cheesy Christmas movie, a favorite song, or decorating your living space or work space.

The end of the year is also a great time to reflect. Sometimes looking back, instead of feeling anxious about the present or future can also have a calming effect. What went right for the year? What makes you grateful?


How do you get through the holiday crush?

Christmas 2014 by Gunilla G of Flickr

Christmas 2014 by Gunilla G of Flickr


I’ve been so busy lately with a project at work that is running very behind. It’s not my fault, but I still do have to keep up with it and try to get my end of the project done as quickly as possible. Some days I feel like I come in to work and don’t look up again to take a breath until I realize it’s already lunchtime and I’m starving. Then, I’m usually working right up until the very last minute until I have to leave to catch my train home. This is both good and bad–it makes my days go by pretty quickly, but sometimes I’m left with a vague, stressed, uneasy feeling when I leave for the day. Here’s what I’ve been doing recently to combat this:

  • Listen to music. I already listen to music almost all day in work, but recently I’ve been listening almost solely to classical music or other instrumental music to calm me. I don’t have to concentrate on any words and I can just get lost in my work (and avoid the sometimes noisy distractions around me) without blasting loud, distracting music.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does drinking a lot of water make me feel better physically and mentally, but it also forces me to get up more than twice a day to stretch my legs. It’s never good to go most of the morning before realizing that I haven’t gotten up once to do anything! I’m kind of getting two birds with one stone on this one :).
  • Take a minute or two to chat with coworkers. Sure, I have a lot to do, but will it really matter if I complete a task if I’m left frazzled afterwards? As much of an introvert as I am, I still do need human interaction. This morning, I talked to my friend for a few minutes before we both dove into our respective to-do lists for the day and I felt so much better for it. Conversation about things that matter to me (even if it’s a silly conversation) keeps me grounded and focused.
  • Unwind on the commute home. I keep my headphones in when I go down to the train and I also take out a book to read. Like I said earlier, sometimes I leave work and I feel stressed and I may even have the beginnings of a headache stirring. Once I get one the train, though, I force myself to let go of all that stress and worry and switch into home gear instead of work gear.

These may seem like simple things, but they’ve helped me immensely during this crazy time. Do you have any tips or tricks for staying sane during a busy time at work or school?


I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. The holidays are here already and the year is nearly over. How time flies!

A few weeks ago my Sunday started off on a bad note. A friend notified me that my long running website had been hacked. It was redirecting visitors to a page filled with malware. Since I was attending church that morning, I had to wait an agonizing four hours until I could actually address the issue. Once I returned home, I did a scan of the site and found all of the areas infected by malware. (Thankfully, Damage Control was not part of the hack.) I had backups of the site and could just purge the malware and put the site back up, but that wouldn’t address the issue of how it was hacked. So I decided to pull the site down and leave it down for several months with a note of apology to visitors.

The hack came at the start of the busy season at UPS, which meant I wouldn’t be able to take off from work to fix the site properly until January. I decided to turn the hack into a positive event. I had long wanted a chance to modernize the site and move it away from the old HTML 1.0 website that I had coded by hand almost 20 years ago. Taking everything down and having to fully recode would give my website the update it needed. The process of building websites is a difficult one, but immensely enjoyable. Earlier this year I attempted to help Karen update the layout for Epic Careering. While the project wasn’t completed, I had fun with the attempt.

When I put up the notice about the website being taken down, I was touched by the outpouring of support I received from friends on social media. The offers to build something new, joint projects, and even a Spanish language version of the site were amazing. Once I start work on the site, I know it will be a great project, especially with friends willing to help me.

Sometimes an event can look awful on the surface, but a new opportunity can arise. Have you ever found opportunity in a seemly difficult situation?

My Powerbook 5300 by Lance Nishihira of Flickr

My Powerbook 5300 by Lance Nishihira of Flickr. Also, the web looked like this when I first built my site.


I cannot believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I’ve been saying that over and over to myself since I woke up this morning. Time has been flying recently, to use an old, worn out cliche. I’ve been busy with work so that every day seems to go by quickly. In some ways, I like that but in others I don’t. I don’t want to feel like my world is passing me by while I work and look forward to something coming up in the future.

I thought I would use this post to stop for a moment amid all of this craziness and think about what makes me happy and what I feel grateful for in my life right now:

  1. My family-my sisters, nephews, parents, grandmother, and my extended family. Where would I be without them? I’m especially mindful of that this time of year because so many people don’t have family or they prefer not to spend their holiday with their family. I’m so lucky to have the family that I do.
  2. My friends. What would I do without them? When I need to laugh, cry, vent, celebrate, whatever–they’re there for me. I’m going out with a friend after work today and I’m so thankful that we are both able to do that together.
  3. My job. I’m so happy to have a job that keeps me busy doing work that I enjoy every day. I am able to challenge myself in this line of work and I’m able to live because I get paid to do it.

I am thankful for so much more in my life, but that list contains what is most important to me right now in my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am without that list so, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

What you thankful for this Thanksgiving?


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