You’re not a violent person, but in the week before you go on leave, you’ve had it and are in danger of punching someone.

In fact, you dream of it.

Take PMS, multiply it by 3, throw in an impossible boss, a huge workload, general exhaustion, extra duties and shifts and a short fuse.

This is how millions of people feel the week before they go on leave.

Put them all in the same office, and press ‘play’. In short, you have a recipe for disaster. 

Here are some ideas on how to avoid a complete blow-up – and a possible arrest:

Tread water

This is not the time of year to launch a new and difficult project. If that is what your boss wants to do, he or she should have their head read.

Do what you have to do to get through the existing workload, but this is not the time to reorganise the office, master new tricks on the computer, or to appoint new staff.

Read more: Are you suffering from work burnout?

Get some sleep

Even if everyone around you is on holiday already, remember that you are not.

Let them go off on their own if you are tired after a long day at work. You can’t work all day and party all night and expect to continue functioning.

Your time for partying will come, but it is not now.

Accept that your colleagues are stressed too

You are not the only one under pressure – everyone is at this time of the year. Be lenient, and overlook slight shortcomings in others.

Maybe they will do the same for you. This is not the time to confront someone about their smoke breaks, or their nasty habit of leaving dirty coffee cups next to the printer.

Delegate Christmas preparations

You cannot work until the day before Christmas and be expected to be the main organiser, cook and bottle washer for the event.

Tree decorations, grocery shopping, even gift buying can all be delegated to the family members who are already on leave. You cannot work until the last minute and still get all of this together – that way madness lies.

Hold your tongue

When you are under stress, you are much more likely to have a blowout about small things which have been bothering you for a while, such as one colleague who regularly comes late, and another who interrupts you while you are talking in meetings.

Count to ten before saying something now – these things are best left to the New Year to be dealt with. A small irritation could result in a massive explosion right now. It isn’t worth it.

No negotiations

This is not the time to ask for a salary raise, or to renegotiate your duties at work. Everyone is stressed, and you might find yourself agreeing to things you never would agree to under normal circumstances – something you could sincerely regret later on.

No office politics

All offices have office politics, but this time of year, there is an extra edge to them. Disputes that have been festering have a way of erupting at this time.

Whatever you do, just don’t get involved. If necessary, leave the office, escape and go and have a cup of coffee, and just put some distance between yourself and the battlefield. Things are tough enough as they are already.

Alcohol is not the answer

OK, maybe a glass with dinner in the evening, but remember your emotional and physical resources are low now. Hangovers don’t help when you are under stress.

Alcohol is also (after a few glasses) a nervous system depressant. One glass can make you jolly, four could turn you into a weeping wreck. Rather go for a walk and get some exercise to help you relax.

Read more: What it’s like working with an invisible disability

Remember the vitamins

Now more than ever, you might need these, especially if you are living off junk food in the final working stretch. If you are under pressure, so is your immune system. If you wonder what else could go wrong this week, the answer might just be flu. Try and prevent it.

No moaning

There’s no point in moaning if everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is stressed and irritated and under pressure – constantly complaining about it just reminds everyone of the situation in which they find themselves.

Don’t be the person who focuses everyone’s attention on the negative. It’s like someone complaining all day about the heat – everyone feels it, and nobody can do anything about it.

Ignore the holiday spirit

From about the 10th of December, there is a holiday spirit in the air, It’s hard not to feel hard done by if you still have to work. Just don’t go there.

Your time to be on leave will come eventually. And then there will also be times during the year when you are on leave and everyone else is working.

Buy your colleagues each a chocolate

They will appreciate it, it’s a short-term energy booster, and maybe, maybe it will stop them from punching you if you are impossible during this last week.

Read more:

5 work related issues you should never feel guilty about

8 things I learnt as an intern