Oftentimes workplace holiday stress seems unavoidable--you're out of vacation time, you don't have control over deadlines, your business is busier during the holidays and so is your personal life, the people around you are on edge, etc. For many that's "just the way it is," but there are things you can do to help relieve this stress.
Some of the tactics work great all year round, but because of the chaotic nature of the holiday season they often get put on the back burner. Other methods are specific to the holiday season. Regardless of how and where you work to relieve stress, it's important that both employers and employees make it a priority in order to be successful.
Your Health and Well-Being
- Make time for exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise is a known natural treatment for stress because it pumps up your endorphins, which helps produce your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters. Even if the only exercise you can fit in is a walk for 30 minutes at lunchtime, you have to make sure you're up and moving. This not only helps reduce the feelings of stress, but it will also help you focus. In other words, even if you take time out to exercise instead of work, you may be more efficient overall and still get just as much done, but in less time and with less stress.
- Focus on eating unprocessed foods. Even though it's extremely difficult during the holidays, what you really want to focus on is eating "real" foods, so no chocolate bars, fries, or big burgers. Certain foods can raise and lower blood sugars too drastically and actually cause you to feel lethargic and affect your mood negatively. Select foods that are healthy and contribute to a balance of nutrients.
- Drink lots of water. This is a huge one for the workplace. Remember that coffee actually dehydrates you, so you have to make sure you're drinking lots of water so that you can stay alert.
Getting Prepared Early
- Master the to-do list early. Well before the holiday season you should be preparing for the tasks you'll have to complete. Create your list well ahead of time and then add to it as time passes. This will help you feel more organized so when the holidays come around you can hit the ground running instead of getting overwhelmed.
- Do your research so you can prioritize. This will not only give you more tools to decide what can wait and what has to be done, but it will help you anticipate anything that could go wrong; thus helping avoid even more stress in the future (the holiday season is nearly three months long, after all).
- Employers: Be mindful of deadlines. You may not think about it when you set the deadline, but always keep the holidays in mind. If something can be pushed back or pushed forward, make that known so that your employees can keep their focus on things that have to be done. Remember, personal lives are busier during the holidays as well, so the more time you can offer for deadlines the better for everyone.
Your Well-Being and Attitude
- Take a generosity approach. If someone needs a break, let it happen. If someone feels like they need time away from a meeting, try and make that a reality if it's in your power. The more generous you can be during the holidays the less stressed everyone will be knowing they have a little bit of freedom and understanding from those around them.
- Don't take anything too personally. People are on edge during the holiday season, so the best thing you can do for yourself is try and not take anything personally. If someone has a short fuse, just know that they probably have a lot of stress during this time of year. Knowing this can help you become less stressed because you'll spend less time worrying about what others think and less time feeling down about the way someone may have acted.
- Increase awareness of others work. Going along with the last point, you should give compliments and try and notice when others are helping you or helping the company. Whether you're a co-worker or a boss, this can help lift spirits and help those feeling stressed feel more at ease knowing they're doing a good job. That's one less thing to worry about, and it can go a long way.