The Holidays are Coming, Survive Your Shifts

John Scott
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For retail workers, the holidays can be a nightmare. Large crowds, frustrated shoppers, confusing holiday sales, and frequent returns all add up to long, busy days. Fortunately, by preparing yourself mentally and physically, you can make it easier to handle tough days on the job.

When the holidays roll around, many retail professionals simply gear themselves up for a battle and fight to stay sane through each shift. To make it easier to be cheerful when dealing with holiday sales and holiday shopping, start preparing yourself before the shift starts. Make a note of the busiest days in advance: Black Friday and the last weekend before Christmas tend to be particularly harrowing for retail workers. The last shopping day before Christmas is also a busy time.

Before your busy shifts, make an extra effort to take care of yourself. Get a full night's sleep—it is difficult to stay friendly and positive if you're exhausted. Make sure to eat before your shift so that you aren't dealing with a growling stomach or a headache due to low blood sugar. It is far easier to deal with holiday sales when you are comfortable and well rested.

When you get to your workplace, avoid frustration by parking in a calm area of the parking lot or store. Try for the back of the lot, where you won't need to fight your way out at the end of the shift. According to a recent story from U-T San Diego, you can also try the lower levels of the parking garage, which tend to be less crowded, even during holiday sales.

For people who work retail during the holiday shopping season, proper footwear is crucial. Choose shoes that are comfortable and supportive; athletic or nursing shoes are often good choices. Unless your employer requires it, avoid wearing heels, which place undue pressure on the balls of your feet. To add extra cushioning, request that your employer add a padded mat to the back of the cash register during holiday sales periods. A mat will lessen the pressure on your joints and make your feet more comfortable.

During busy periods at a retail outlet, it can be easy to skip breaks. No matter how busy you get, help preserve your sanity by taking breaks as scheduled. Even ten minutes can give you time to breathe and spend a few minutes alone. While you do, remember to drink water; staying hydrated will help you avoid muscle cramps and headaches.

By preparing your body and mind, you can make it easier to deal with holiday sales at work. When you come to work with a clear head, a full stomach, and a peaceful mind, you will be able to greet customers with a smile and emerge unscathed at the end of the day.


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