It’s December 14, and probably my last post for 2023 here at the Marathon blog. I’m hoping you’re all running at “warp speed,” wrapping up last-minute holiday orders and exhausted. It’s a crazy time of year, but for most of us, it’s that last-minute adrenaline rush that makes it special.

So many of you miss finding the time amid all the pre-holiday chaos to just slow things down and hit the pause button. Relax, I’m not suggesting you do anything major that has an impact on customer orders; just take a breath.

We’ve all been on flights and heard the announcement that if you need to put on your oxygen mask and you’re traveling with a child, put on your mask first and then help them. That’s because you can’t help them if you don’t take care of your needs first.

So, here’s my suggestion – take time to switch hats to parent, spouse, and friend at the end of the day. Take a couple of hours and recharge your battery. Then go for one of those eleven-second therapeutic hugs I’ve written about many times over the years. Remember the people closest to you and their importance in your life.

And speaking of essential people – now is the time to double-check your list of people who helped you build this year’s business. Think about everybody who’s in your “village.” Anybody you might have missed thanking? Whether it’s a manager at a venue, a wedding planner, a florist, or another photographer – there’s still time to grab lunch together, send a gift basket, pick up a bottle of wine, etc.

Here’s one more idea: Dean Collins, at holiday time, would acknowledge his biggest clients with a portrait sitting and a print, all at no charge. It’s easy to do and ideal for an environmental portrait on location, taking in the holiday spirit in a subject’s home.

Here’s the bottom line – first, take care of yourself. Hit the pause button and take time to recharge. Second, don’t forget everyone in your “village.” It’s easy to get so wrapped up in business that you miss the people closest to you. Third, don’t forget people outside your network’s inner circle and remind them how much they’re appreciated.

Wishing everybody a healthy, safe and peaceful holiday!