3 ways you can turn holiday stress into success for your career

Getty Images | Nora Carol Photography

Between buying presents and wrapping up year-end work projects, the holiday season can be difficult for those attempting to achieve work-life balance. But there are ways you can alleviate and channel that stress into success for the new year, says stress coach Jordan Friedman.

Here are three ways he says you should navigate the holidays to set yourself up for a prosperous 2018: Stick to a routine, make lists and use stress as a motivator.

1. Stick to a routine

The end of the year is not the time to switch up your day-to-day routine, says Friedman. "If you exercise, make sure you stick to that exercise plan," he says, "and really try to get the sleep you need."

Sticking to a routine becomes harder at the end of the month with holiday parties and vacations. But if you stick to a plan and take care of baseline things like your health, says Friedman, it helps you feel less stressed and get through your day.

Media mogul Arianna Huffington agrees that prioritizing your health can help you find balance and increases your productivity. She tells CNBC Make It that she makes sure to get enough sleep, exercise, meditate and eat healthy food on a daily basis.

Huffington says that when you're well-rested and taking care of yourself, you can succeed "much more effectively."

2. Make lists

It's the season of making lists and checking them twice, says Friedman. The stress coach suggests ID'ing your most stressful tasks and writing them down. Those tasks can be work-related or run the gamut from holiday shopping to hosting annoying family members, he says.

Friedman suggests first identifying activities that you can finish easily, or even tweak, to help reduce the stress of the month.

For example, he says, instead of doing your holiday shopping at a mall, save time and avoid the crows by buying online.

In the office, don't be afraid to decline invitations or take on a little less work. But communicate this to your colleagues and boss.

Friedman advises saying, "Hey, I'm a bit stressed out. Maybe it's time for me to take a step back because I'll be able to focus more on getting this [project] done."

If you have multiple projects, he says, ask if you can take a few days off one project so that you have more time to strategize on another.

Finally, he says, you can try divvying up your work so as not to overburden yourself, Complete 80 percent now, says Friedman, and the remaining 20 percent in the New Year.

3. Use stress as a motivator

"The dividing line between good stress and bad stress is the duration," Friedman says.

Do you come back from work feeling like you've been run over by a freight train, he asks, or do you come back feeling a little tired but accomplished and looking forward to the next day?

If it's the latter then you have good stress, he says. That feeling of being under pressure can be used as a driver to knock out projects before the year's end.

To tap into this, Friedman says to list at least five things you need to do by Christmas or another set date because the time crunch will force you to be productive.

"The last month of the year can be a great motivator," says the stress coach, "because it really can sharpen your focus on work."

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