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End The Year Strong

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We are in that span of time between Thanksgiving and the big two-week holiday hiatus when Hollywood winds down. Submissions slow to a trickle and everyone seems to have entered that “checked out” mode. Holiday parties are aplenty and when you come home all you want to do is bake some homemade cookies, light a balsam-scented candle, and curl up on the couch with your favorite holiday flick.  At least that’s on my “want to do” list each night. But this year I’m catching up (and pushing forward) with all my personal projects. I am taking advantage of every free hour I have and inching closer to finishing that first script, that next short. But what’s the cost? This year will be the first year I can’t watch all my favorite seasonal movies: Love Actually, The Holiday, The Grinch (animated), Elf, Die Hard, and Gremlins. I come home and lock myself in my room every night to get work done. I will be the first to self diagnose myself as a victim of FOMO but I also believe in “the harder you work the luckier you get” school of thought so I am willing to sacrifice a few movies and nights out to come home and put in the work I feel is necessary to have a successful 2016.

I hear people say “I want to start the new year strong” but I want to end this year strong, keep the momentum going, and watch the hard work pay off!

If you have limited free hours this holiday season, here are my top five recommendations for using that time to achieve a happy and healthy holiday season.

Decorate

If you have to stay cooped up working, the best way to keep a festive mindset is to surround yourself with holiday decorations. Even if you can’t go out at least you won’t feel like you’re missing the season completely. Charlie Brown trees, poinsettias, garland, baubles all help to get you in the spirit of the holidays. 

Treat yourself to a holiday party (or two)

If you are able to step away for a night, holiday parties are a perfect way to catch up with friends and meet new ones. Whether it’s a close friend’s potluck or an industry mixer, a holiday party is a perfect excuse to get the gang together and celebrate the effort of another year of hard work. If you haven’t been the best at keeping in touch with friends use the holidays as an opportunity to re-connect.

Volunteer

Nothing says the holidays like giving back to your community. Many organizations have service projects that you can participate in for a few hours or the whole day. Suggest your office get involved with an event or a drive. Think of something you are passionate about whether it’s ending hunger or homelessness, caring for animals, providing seniors with quality of life, being an environment steward, or mentoring at risk youth and reach out to a non-profit in that area to see how you can help. Places might get flooded with volunteers during the holidays but are in need all year round, so try a service project out and make a New Years goal to be involved with a cause throughout the year.

Exercise

Exercise is extremely helpful in maintaining a positive outlook and feeling a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention it saves you the guilt of eating those holiday baked treats that show up all over the office. Treat yourself to a new exercise class or try to work out 3-4 times a week to keep stress levels low. A great excuse to hit the gym is signing up for a holiday themed race. Find one that supports a good cause, train up, and then reap the fruits of your endeavors on race day.

Write a list of accomplishments and goals

Once you make your deadlines and can take a breather, use some of your newly free time to reflect on everything you have accomplished this year and think about where you’d like to see yourself next year. You’ll be strong and focused and ready to start the next year with a bang!

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Jackie Perez

About Jackie Perez

Jackie Perez is a military brat turned engineer turned filmmaker. After five years of Naval service she left active duty and started a new career in the industry where she currently works as an assistant at Perfect Storm Entertainment and writes and directs short films in her free time. She is on advisory board for of Veterans in Film and Television, a graduate of the WGA Foundation Veterans Writing program, the founder of CAA Vets, and a Lieutenant in the Navy Reserves. Starting fall 2015 she will be pursuing a MFA in TV and Screenwriting through Stephens College and can’t wait to make her first feature film. She loves horror movies, has an environmental engineering degree from MIT, tries to travel outside the country once a year, plays the banjo, and has the most adorable hedgehog named Pickle.