Decrease the Stress and Increase the Cheer During the Holidays

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While holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and cheer, for many, it’s also a time of stress. This stress can stem from many sources—unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves to create the perfect holiday, an overabundance of events we need to attend, pressures to meet year-end goals at work, or even loneliness that many people who are missing or without loved ones face during the holidays.

While many of these stresses happen in the personal realm, they do have an impact on productivity at work, so it’s important to be careful not to add to this stress unintentionally, and to provide appropriate support that will keep your organization cheerful and productive.

Here are a few things you can do:

1. Schedule holiday events during business hours. People are already busy enough during the holidays, and adding one more event, even a fun one, just increases their feelings of stress. Many companies opt to schedule events after the holiday season, or if they do hold one during the holidays, they make it as low stress as possible.

2. Allow flexibility if you can. If it’s possible to allow for flexibility at your organization, the holidays are a time to do it. This can come in many forms like the ability to telecommute, flexible hours, or floating holidays. Floating holidays are particularly helpful for those who celebrate on different days and would rather spend Christmas Day or Christmas Eve keeping themselves busy with work.

3. Show your appreciation during holidays. This can be anything from something elaborate like a holiday gift or holiday snacks, to just a simple note of appreciation. A few kind actions or words go a long way when people are already overloaded.

4. Set a good example. If you’re stressed out during the holidays, chances are you’re stressing out people around you. Take care of yourself and do what you can to keep your stress under control so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the workplace. Taking care of yourself creates a healthier you and a healthier workplace.