8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Holiday Vacation

Whether you’re traveling to visit family or staying in place for the holidays, you may find that you have a little extra time on your hands. Rather than use your free time to binge-watch a favorite show on Netflix or hit the post-holiday sales, we challenge you to enrich yourself in different ways during your time off. Up for the challenge? Here’s what you can do.

1. Reflect on what you accomplished in 2016.
Before heading into the New Year, reviewing the past year month by month to reflect on what you accomplished can help establish an assured mindset for 2017. Create a list of your accomplishments, and add anything that makes you feel proud, from getting married to donating to a favorite cause. Determining what you accomplished in 2016 (and how you felt about your achievements) will help you define your values and focus your goals for the New Year.

2. Develop goals for the New Year.
What do you want to focus on for the first part of the New Year? You have 365 days to accomplish what you set your mind on; however, starting strong will determine your success throughout the next 12 months. Start by developing a few small, achievable goals that are steps to reaching a larger, overarching goal. Make your smaller goals ones that you can accomplish in the first two months. By finding ways to break down intimidating goals, you’re more inclined to continue to focus on them when life gets busy.

3. Reassess your career path.
Think about the work you do, the industry you’re in, and the impact you make. Are you happy with your current position and where you’re heading professionally?

If you answered no, consider what’s missing from your life professionally or what’s currently on hold. What are the next steps you need to take to achieve a more fulfilling career path? If you answered yes, assess your strengths and determine what habits you need to shed or characteristics you need to adopt in order to advance in your field. Resolve to highlight the strengths that bring the most value to your position and minimize the areas in which you struggle.

4. Research ways to get involved in your community.
From civic boards to volunteering, there are many different ways to get involved in your community. If the vast amount of options overwhelms you, start by picking three causes related to your values that you want to see addressed in 2017. Use these causes to define your research. Learn how your chosen cause is being addressed in your neighborhood, research St. Louis-area nonprofits that are committed to making a change for the better, and join the movement.

5. Challenge yourself to learn one new thing.
Whether you have two days or a week off, there’s always time to learn something new. Online courses make it easy to pick up a new skill, but you can decide what to learn based on your personal interests, not necessarily your professional goals. In other words, if you’ve always wanted to figure out how to write calligraphy or change your car’s oil, this holiday break is a great time to practice!

6. Decide what change you want to impact and find a way to be a part of it.
All across the St. Louis region, there are opportunities for individuals to be a part of something big. Ask yourself how you can take part in making our region a better place for everyone. What skills or talents can you bring to the table? What change do you want to see happen in our neighborhoods? What’s inhibiting this? Find your unique role in making St. Louis a better place.

7. Read a book.
Anything from an e-book to a physical book counts! Finding time to read is a great way to recharge over the holiday break. Expand your knowledge on a topic or simply enjoy a good story.

8. Rediscover a hobby or activity that makes you happy.
If being busy or stressed has pushed an activity or hobby that you love out of your life, use your time during holiday break to bring it back. Instead of dealing with the stress of life by disengaging or watching TV, activate your brain in a different way. Restarting a previously-loved hobby could be just the thing to jumpstart your creativity in other areas of your life.

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.