The holidays are here. Many of us celebrate with family get-togethers and events where we are expected to make good memories. Unfortunately, these expectations can cause stress during the holiday season. This might include everything from travel anxiety caused by new COVID-19 variants to the financial effects of buying gifts to attending reunions and socializing while under pandemic restrictions.
Ironically, did you know that the month of December is designated as National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month? Even in the best case scenario, the holidays can be stressful. One in every five people suffer from a mental disorder, grief, depression, or anxiety – which can intensify over the holidays. According to a NAMI study, holidays aggravate the symptoms of 64% of people who struggle with their mental health. As a result, leaders must be aware of any mental health difficulties that their employees may experience over the season.
Coping with stress during the holidays can be accomplished by reducing workloads, and encouraging an extra mental health day or two around this time. When dealing with stress during the holiday season employers can use this opportunity to promote holistic well-being – particularly mental, physical, social, and financial well-being. Continue reading to learn about the types of stress during the holiday season, as well as some stress-relieving methods.
Types Of Stress During The Holiday Season
Although the holiday season is often the time for joy, fun, and family, it is normal to experience anxiety, stress, and loneliness. This time of year amplifies those feelings of vulnerability. Here are some classic types of stress during the holiday season.
Stress from Family and Society
Family reunions and holiday parties are major sources of stress during the holiday season. From event planning and organization to a full social calendar. Too much activity throughout the season can leave you feeling drained. Many individuals are looking forward to seeing their loved ones during the holidays, but travel can be difficult, and social responsibilities can be exhausting.
During the holiday season, many people have unrealistic expectations of themselves and of the people around them. Many want to throw the perfect party, buy the most thoughtful gift, or plan the ultimate vacation, but life happens and there are things you cannot control. Remember that the holidays do not need to be perfect to be enjoyable and meaningful. Holiday traditions provide a sense of stability and comfort. It doesn’t have to feel forced with repeat celebration routines year after year.
Breaking Your Regular Routine
A few more pounds may be a fun tradition for some, but it can be a major source of stress for others who are trying to lose or maintain their weight. Not to mention individuals who are dealing with eating disorders or other health issues. Changes in exercise and sleep habits may increase stress and aggravate other health problems.
Feelings Of Loneliness
Stress during the holiday seasons are sometimes triggered by bad memories. For example, if you experienced a traumatic event, family discord, or the loss of a loved one, the holidays may make you feel melancholy. Even relocating away from family and friends can awaken strong emotions of loneliness.
Stress during the holiday seasons is not always about mental health. Holidays can be costly, which may ultimately lead to poor financial health. Whether it’s the price of buying gifts or the cost of reuniting with family and friends, this time of year is especially draining on your cash reserves and savings. Financial stress can have an impact on your well-being since it makes you wonder if you’ll have enough money to get through the holidays.
Tips In Helping Employees Stress Less During The Holidays
The holidays aren’t always joyful for everyone. It’s necessary to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique. While “stress-free” may not be an achievable goal this year, we can still help our employees’ holidays be meaningful and memorable by helping them manage their expectations and stress throughout the season.
Here are 5 tips to stress less during the holidays and how employees can manage mental health during this season:
Assure Them It’s Okay To Say “No”
Parties and other year-end celebrations are common during the holiday season. Make it clear that if they say no and opt not to attend office parties, it will not have a negative impact on them. Gatherings should be a good experience that is entirely voluntary, so you should not penalize those who are unable to attend.
Employers can also help employees stress less during the holidays by encouraging them to appreciate the small pleasures that come with the season. Encourage them to sit down and prioritize commitments that really matter to them. Make them understand that it is perfectly acceptable not to attend every social function.
Encourage Employees to Take Paid Time Off (PTO)
Preparing for the holidays takes time. From budgeting finances to shopping, everyone starts to feel like there aren’t enough days in the week. It can be beneficial to encourage employees to take extra days to complete errands for peace of mind. Handling stress during the holidays needs good time management and employees need all the extra time they can get. This additional time off will help employees in carefully crafting their budgets and help manage their expectations.
Encourage Them To Keep Their Routine And Stay Healthy
It’s simple to slip out of a routine. It’s not so simple to get back into one. During the holidays, it may be tempting to skip the gym, let the children sleep in, or even have delayed meals. When avoiding stress during the holidays, the simplest approach to prevent the stress of getting back into your habit is to stay as close to your everyday routine as possible. Remember, it is essential to address and manage holistic health throughout the holidays. It is also a good idea to implement an employee wellness program that addresses the entire person.
Remind Them To Stick With Realistic Expectations
It’s that time of year to give thanks and reflect on your values and goals for the upcoming year. Try not to put a lot of pressure on yourself. Concentrate on activities that will make holidays meaningful for you and your loved ones. Remember, just because it’s a holiday, that doesn’t mean family difficulties go away. It’s fine to limit your time at gatherings if you have a difficult time being there for your folks. Understand that maintaining a healthy relationship throughout the holidays is also a worthwhile goal.
Tell Them That It Is Normal To Seek Help
When the stress during holiday the season becomes too much for them to handle alone, tell them it is totally acceptable to look for help. Talking with friends, relatives, a counselor, or a support group is beneficial. There is no shame in asking for professional help when needed. Maintain a set of hotlines or channels through which your employees can ask for assistance. A coaching session is also an excellent idea to assist employees in developing resilience during the holiday season.
Employee Wellness Strategies for Managing Stress During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is here, which means it’s time to get into the spirit of all the upcoming festivities. Unfortunately, it frequently brings unwanted visitors, mainly stress and loneliness. It’s no surprise since this season requires large emotional, physical, financial, and time investments. To counter this, employers can give tips to employees on how to manage stress during the holiday season.
When stress during the holiday season is at its highest, it’s difficult to take a breather and reorganize. That is why it is better to try to manage stress at the onset, particularly if the holidays have previously taken an emotional strain on your employees. Employers can do this by rolling out initiatives to help employees cope with stress, such as making party attendance voluntary, giving paid time off, and opening lines of communication for better mental health. The holidays are a time to be merry, but stress can dampen that mood. That is why employers should take a more proactive approach to ensuring that their employees are well cared for and emotionally prepared over the holiday season.
Contact Aduro and improve your employees’ holiday wellness today!