This month the holiday season cranks into high gear, and not everyone is feeling merry and bright. Many East Texans feel financial stress, loneliness, relationship issues and fatigue. Often it feels like work pressure seems to intensify.
If you feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of holiday stress and find ways to release some of that pressure.
List Workplace Stress Causes
It’s easy to get so busy putting out fires you don’t stop and think what’s causing them or how they’re affecting you. Take a few minutes on your daily commute to make a mental list of what’s creating your feeling of stress. Are you facing deadlines on any of the following?
- End-of-year reporting
- Conducting or receiving performance evaluations
- Participating in company holiday celebrations – choosing a Secret Santa gift, figuring out what to wear, arranging your food contribution etc.
- Planning for and working Black Friday and other holiday sales
- Training and managing seasonal staff
- Working extra hours when others take off for holiday vacation or shopping
- Handling your most demanding workload during holiday-shortened weeks
When you start making your list, you’re probably going to recognize you feel overwhelmed because you face a formidable mountain of demands. If you haven’t been bubbling over with holiday cheer, that’s okay. Give yourself a break.
You may also be facing personal challenges. The holidays highlight strained family relationships and intensify grief over lost loved ones. All the extra shopping, entertaining and travel can strain any individual’s budget. Sometimes it helps just to acknowledge what you’re dealing with.
Be There For Others
Being kind to others will help lighten your own mood. Be on the lookout for people who need an extra word of encouragement.
If your co-worker is going through a difficult divorce or you remember your employee lost a parent last year, be available if they need someone to talk to. When people go out of their way to make the season joyful for others, be generous with your gratitude.
How Managers Can Reduce Holiday Stress
If you’re in charge of your team, you are integral to the emotional climate in your workplace. You can help struggling staff cope with holiday stress in several ways.
Encourage healthy habits. Highlight employee fitness programs at the end of the year as much as you do at the beginning. If you’re planning food for corporate events or picking up breakfast for the group, provide healthy choices.
Accept “no.” Be understanding if employees choose not to participate in workplace holiday activities.
Include employees in decisions. Find out how they want to celebrate the holidays. Instead of a party, would they rather organize a toy drive or participate in a charity 5k?
Allow breaks when needed. Consider making one of your holiday gifts to staff a half day to do whatever they need to take care of themselves.
A little thoughtfulness and sensitivity goes a long way. It may be what eliminates just enough of the pressure to turn a stressful holiday into a merry one.