We all know that the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, good cheer, and optimistic hopes for the New Year. It’s a time for parties, gifts, laughter, and joyous family gatherings. However, while that may be the ideal image we hold in our heads, it’s not always easy to live up to. For many, the holiday season is a time of unmet expectations, disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion. Instead of excitement, it can be a time of loneliness, reflection on past “failures,” and anxiety about an uncertain future. Therefore, we have a few simple strategies business leaders can leverage to reduce holiday stress at work.
The “holiday blues” can be caused by many factors, including stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, and the inability to be with one’s family. The cost of travel may keep some families apart. Others may be grieving lost loved ones. On top of the pressure to meet end-of-year goals at work, the increased demands of shopping, parties, gatherings, and house guests may contribute to feelings of stress or sadness. Common symptoms can include:
- Irritability and anger
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Poor sleep
- Chest and body pains
- Digestive problems
- Lack of energy or motivation
All of these conditions can become concerning if left unaddressed.
People spend more waking hours working than engaged in any other activity, so managers and leaders can be important sources of support for employees going through tough times. This doesn’t mean having all the answers but being available for employees to reach out to and being familiar with the support resources that are available to them. Here are a few things managers can do proactively to reduce holiday stress.
Encourage open communication by speaking in non-judgmental ways and being an active listener. These indirect behaviors can go a long way toward helping employees feel safe when reaching out to ask for help.
Culture of Acceptance
Create a culture of acceptance by embracing that people are different and their experiences are different. For example, accepting that stress and mental health challenges are a natural part of many people’s experiences can help you project openness when someone is struggling and allows them the room to make an individualized plan.
Model best practices such as setting work-life balance boundaries, admitting mistakes, and asking for help. These can be valuable ways to create the work culture you want and make others feel more comfortable practicing these behaviors themselves.
Employee Assistance Programs make it possible to reduce holiday stress at work. And CMG Associates can be a valuable partner in providing leaders and managers with training, support, and resources for managing holiday stress and proactively creating a work culture that can help mitigate it. So contact us today to learn how we can help you maintain productivity and employee morale during the holiday season.