3 min read

How to manage the weight of the holidays

'Tis the season to sustain
How to manage the weight of the holidays
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Sustain issue #38 (Get Sustain in your inbox next Thursday)

I just got back last week from taking two weeks off in Costa Rica 100% disconnected from work. My wife and I were up in the jungle, got in some beach time, rappeled down six (yes, six) waterfalls, and saw lots of cool and some not so cool (looking at you, giant spider) animals. It was really nice to be off the grid.

I also had some time to think deeply about this work that I’m doing aligned to my mission of eliminating burnout from work. I come back with 30 pages of handwritten notes about what I have in store for this community early in the year. I’m so excited about it but I can’t share just yet :)  [Later edit: It's this, my new site grantgurewitz.com and the launch of my premium newsletter How I Quit Burnout]

Rested, yet depleted

I must admit, I re-enter this week a strange mix of rested yet depleted in a way I haven’t experienced before.

On one hand, I had the chance to relax in an extended way we all need and deserve. And in doing so, I opened up some of my best creative thinking in a while (most in the chair pictured above). It continues to amaze me how hard so many companies make it to completely disconnect from work. Or worse, how hard it can be to take any time off at all.

We knowledge workers need the time and space to use our, well, knowledge. Time off = more effective (and happier) employees.

But on the other hand, as I was in the sun living life Pura Vida as they say in Costa Rica, the realities of the world kept sneaking in. Rising COVID rates, New York essentially shutting down (again), healthcare workers long past their breaking point, a political system that continues to favor mainly white males, and horrific weather events fueled by climate change.

Like you, I don’t have the answers but I know you feel the weight of this holiday season.

Aim to sustain

So, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts before Christmas and as we head for the final week of the year.

  1. You’re going to see a lot of posts about how you still have time to slay your goals before the end of the year. Rest is more important than hustling into 2022.
  2. Consider taking next week off. Even if you haven’t already marked it off, make your case. You have more power than ever within your company right now. Ask for what you need.
  3. Consider going a step above just disconnecting from work. The news and social media will still be there so give yourself permission to retreat from it for a few days. Doomscrolling is terrible for mental health.
  4. Do your best. Your best is plenty. It’s ok if today just isn’t the day.
  5. Reach out to people; ask how they’re doing. If you’re having a tough day, reach out to someone. The power of intimacy in human connection can make complete overwhelm feel a bit more manageable.
  6. You are appreciated. Period. End of sentence.

I named this newsletter Sustain very intentionally. Thriving may be the holy grail, but it’s by nature an unsustainable default. In a world where work wants to take all your time and everything else feels like a looming disaster, aiming simply to sustain is the sensible answer. Take one step, then another.

I hope you have a safe, disconnected holiday where you feel loved!

At a sustainable pace,


Ready to downsize your relationship with work and quit burnout?

Hi, I'm Grant Gurewitz. I'm on a mission to end burnout at work. I've been in tech for 10 years (ex-Zillow, current: Qualtrics) who suffered deep burnout and came back from it with no help of the hacky advice out there.

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