Mariah Carey on repeat can only mean one thing: the big day is just a few days away and it’s almost officially time to relax, crack open the Quality Street and obliterate your Netflix watchlist.

Or at least it should be.

For job-seekers and those in temporary or insecure work, it can be difficult to switch off when you know you need to find a job in the new year. And as for buying Christmas presents with limited funds, that’s a whole other world of stress…

To help you manage, we’ve compiled a list of coping strategies to help you adapt to a slower pace while also remaining active and well prepared to smash your career goals in 2021.

Give yourself permission to rest

Looking for a job can be as stressful and exhausting as work itself, so give yourself the permission to take a step back over the festive period – even if you don’t feel like you’ve earned it.

Dial down the notifications, stop refreshing your email every minute and step away from your screen. Now’s not the time to hustle, it’s the time to top up your energy reserves for 2021 and you will only do that by having some proper downtime.

Reflect on your achievements – and plan some more

After a few days of doing nothing you’ll probably find that your mind clears and you are able to see your situation with a bit more clarity. Make the most of this feeling, it’s like gold-dust.

Make a list of your 2020 achievements (even if it doesn’t feel like you have made many steps forward) and write down your career goals for 2021, including any skills that you would like to learn and experience that you would like to get. To make sure you don’t forget them, add them as monthly reminders to your phone calendar or set them as your desktop background.

Reach out to your network

One of the great things about the festive period is that you get to properly catch up with friends and family (even if this year you might have to do so over Zoom) – who will most likely be in a good mood and willing to help.

So why not take the opportunity to ask them for advice or – if they’re well connected – to share any contacts they might have in the industry you’re interested in pursuing. As long as you approach the conversation in a non-pushy way and are clear on the reasons why you need their support, most people will be more than happy to lend some advice.

Upskill to get ahead

Okay, so this slightly goes against our recommendation to try and switch off as much as possible, but if you do get a bit restless there are ways to be productive and use your brain without applying to EVERY JOB ON THE INTERNET.

One great way to invest in yourself is to take an online course on a topic that interests you and will benefit your job prospects. Many platforms host free courses that can be completed in your own time, meaning there is no time pressure to complete them.

On the Placed App, you can take some quick, fun quizzes on various topics related to work, from cocktail making to customer service.

Tick off some easy admin

The long, endless stretch between Christmas and New Year is made for admin. By admin, we mean easy tasks that will give you an excuse to get out of yet another family game of Monopoly without taking up too much time and headspace. Start by making a to-do list, concentrating on things that will set you up for success in 2021.

It could be something as simple as rearranging your desktop so that all your docs are well organised and labelled. Or maybe you want to update your profile on Placed. Whatever you choose to do, remember that an efficient and organised candidate is a successful candidate.

Don’t be hard on yourself

It’s been a difficult year, particularly if you’ve lost your job as a result of the pandemic or seen opportunities fall away. Prioritise your mental health and try to turn off any negative thoughts about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. The more happier and mentally refreshed you are going into 2021 the more productive you are likely to be. You’ve got this.