The Christmas season is upon us once more! And while most people look forward to this time of family and festivities, for a small business owner, the stress in the run-up to the big event can be crushing. With parties, present-buying and school plays, it’s already a hectic time of the year. Add the extra stress of managing and supporting clients through this busy period to the mix and what you’ve got is a recipe for Christmassy chaos.

Or at least it could be. But with a little bit of planning, you can make sure that as a small business owner, you’re able to enjoy the festive period just as much as everyone else. Here are some tips to help you out.

Plan an Actual Break from Work

And by that, we mean the kind where you’re able to completely switch off, without checking emails or social notifications, or constantly picking up the phone to sort things out. Scheduling social posts in advance or even just taking a small break from posting updates isn’t such a big deal and will mean that you can take time off to truly relax and return feeling fresh and ready to get on with the New Year. Setting up an email auto-reply and an answer phone message on your work phone to politely let people know you’re away will help put your mind at ease about client expectations and keep them informed about your availability during this time.

This leads us nicely to our next point…

Keep Your Customers and Clients In the Loop

Once you’ve decided the dates of your Yule-time leave, be sure to give your clients and customers as much notice as possible. This will not only allow you to be clear about when you’ll be taking time off but will also encourage them to plan ahead, rather than surprising you with last minute orders and requests. It’s also a good idea to post any changes to your opening hours over Christmas and New Year clearly on your website and across your social media platforms as another way of keeping your clients and customers in the loop – while putting your mind at ease as you enjoy a well-earned break.

Get Your Priorities Sorted

Not everything on your to-do list will be something that needs to be achieved before you break for Christmas. Take time to prioritise and take the things that will wait until January off your plate for now to ensure you’re not piling on unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve beyond what needs to happen before the big day.

Remember to Look After Your Staff

While keeping your clients sweet over Christmas is key, it’s also really important to take care of your employees. If you have a team, you’ll again need to plan ahead to make sure everyone gets a fair break over Christmas. On top of this, a small gift or gesture to show your appreciation for all your employee’s hard work at the end of the year is rarely a bad idea. A staff Christmas party is another way to show your gratitude and an opportunity to strengthen team morale – and what’s more, some or all of the expense of this is likely to be tax deductible.

Remember to Take Care of Yourself

So you’ve thought about your clients and customers and you’ve thought about your staff. Who’s next? Yes, that’s right – it’s time to finally think about you. You’ll notice from the above, that most of these tips are to do with reassuring yourself that you’re doing enough – because in reality, often the person exerting the most pressure on us is ourselves. Remember that, Christmas is a once a year sort of thing and that soon it’ll all be over and you’ll be back working hard in the New Year. You’re entitled to enjoy the festive period just as much as everyone else and taking a proper break is bound to do you and your business a world of good.

So take good care and have yourself a Happy little Christmas now.