Suffering from End-of-Year Fatigue?

By late November through the end of December, many business owners experience fatigue resulting from trying to get everything tied up neatly before the end of the year.  During this period, the need for more working hours in the day has never been greater.

I hear from owners about what they should do regarding year-end tax planning, which requires them to take various actions. I receive numerous invitations for holiday parties, which means that someone is planning and hosting these events. And for many owners, the end of the year is their busy season. These and other factors can be overwhelming and result in end-of-year fatigue.

Warning signs

You can admit to having end-of-year fatigue if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety—concerns about whether holiday sales will live up to expectations, whether you’ve given the right holiday bonuses and gifts to staff/customers, or if you’ll make it to January 1.
  • Distractedness—the inability to concentrate on business because your thoughts are elsewhere (you’re thinking about shopping for holiday presents for the family; attending holiday functions, etc.).
  • Grumpiness—the bah-humbug feeling that you wish this season was over.

Recognize the signs of fatigue and stress in your employees and customers, too. Handle them accordingly; be patient and understanding.

What to do

You’d think that this year-end fatigue for small business owners would be easy to cope with after having experienced it year after year. But many re-live these symptoms with no relief.

Here are some things to remember that will help you cope.

  • Focus on the positives for this time of year. Keep your good fortune in mind. Maybe it is concluding a profitable business year. Maybe it is enjoying the holidays.
  • Be thankful. Tell your employees how grateful you are for their assistance throughout the year, and especially during this holiday season. Tell your customers that you are thankful for their business.
  • Remember that the New Year is just around the corner. The end of year feeling is, by definition, finite. A New Year begins on January 1 and you can put the old year behind you.

Did I mention it’s almost time for New Year’s Resolutions!

Another thought

Don’t confuse end-of-year fatigue with serious health-related fatigue programs. If your fatigue is more than just a mild care of too much holiday spirit, consult a doctor. One resource that may be helpful is “Fatigued to Fantastic, 3rd ed.” by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, which is about chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.


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