The festive season is meant to be joy filled but for some it can be the most difficult. You may have employees who are struggling due to the prospect of loneliness or even the stresses of spending time with family. The additional pressures of balancing finances and expectations during the cost of living crisis, can make it a challenging time for all.
Whether or not Christmas is part of your life, yours and your employees’ mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It’s a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us all, and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways, so the support you give your people over this period is crucial to end the year in a positive way.
Here are our top 11 tips on how you and your employees can manage this tricky time
1. Be active
Are you feeling tired and exhausted in the run up to Christmas or tempted to sit by the fire? Research suggests keeping active can help beat tiredness. Why not go out for walks over the festive period and top up on that much-needed vitamin D.
2. Take notice
Have too much to do before Christmas? Often, we can be so focused on growing to-do list that we forget to pay attention to what is happening now. Take notice of your surroundings – wrap up warm and pay attention to all the seasonal smells of freshly cut Christmas trees and logs burning on the fire.
3. Keep learning
Stuck for Christmas present ideas? Why not learn a new skill? It not only improves your well-being but also makes for exciting, personal Christmas presents. Save Santa’s elves a job or two!
4. Give to others
Feeling stressed this Christmas? Christmas can be a great time of year to do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to break the bank – something as simple as a smile or a ‘thank you’ can help with your own wellbeing as well as theirs or you might consider volunteering at a charity for a few hours to give back.
Feel lonely this Christmas? Christmas can be a tough time of year. Talking to and interacting with the people around you, whether that be family, neighbours or a friendly ‘hello’ to the person standing in the queue behind you at the shops, may help.
6. Keep your expectations of the festive period realistic
Many of us have a perfect vision of what the holidays should look like, and are disappointed when they don’t live up to their expectations. Remember, nobody has a perfect holiday or a perfect family, so don’t pressure yourself to live up to unrealistic standards!
7. Coping with anxiety
Christmas parties and events will be different this year but none the less they can be stressful if you struggle with social anxiety. Don’t feel pressured to say ‘yes’ to every invitation – you are allowed to decide which festive events and traditions are more important and enjoyable for YOU, and decline the activities which cause you unnecessary stress.
8. Financial concerns?
The average UK family will spend an average £542 on gifts alone at Christmas let alone food and drink and decorations on gifts in the run up to the festive season. You can signpost employees to the support available via charities, such as Citizens Advice Step Change or the National Debt Line, sharing sources of support is a proactive way of helping your everyone.
9. Take some ‘me time’
The holidays can be an overwhelmingly social time, with gatherings of family, friends and colleagues. Don’t forget that you’re allowed to set aside some ‘me time’ as well, such as curling up to read a favourite book or watch a Christmas TV special.
10. Consider alternative ways to celebrate Christmas
If you’re struggling with grief, try to work out what arrangements might suit you in advance of the big day to avoid unnecessary pressure on yourself. It’s ok to say no to the usual Christmas festivities or you might want to maintain your usual Christmas routine in honour of your loved one. You might want to share your memories or photos amongst family, or you might want to do so alone.
11. Get support
If you or someone you know are struggling this Christmas, you may want to find support for your mental health. There are a few ways that you can do this: