The holidays are a time to connect with friends and family, exchange gifts, and carry on traditions. But for many, this time of year can bring stress, as well as bubble up feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

This guide provides practical tips for employers and employees to help manage holiday stressors, while fostering a supportive and inclusive working environment. 

Tips for Employers: 

  1. Encourage Open Communication: Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable expressing their expectations and concerns about holiday workloads. Open communication can help identify potential stressors early on.
  2. Recognition and Appreciation: Show appreciation for your team’s hard work throughout the year by acknowledging their efforts during the holiday season. This recognition can boost morale and create a positive work atmosphere.
  3. Set Clear Boundaries: It is crucial to define explicit working-hour boundaries for employees, which can accommodate employee’s personal commitments and reduce the strain of balancing work and holiday responsibilities. This approach promotes a healthier work-life integration and contributes to the overall well-being of team members.
  4. Promote Inclusivity & Cultural Respect: Champion cultural inclusivity by fostering open dialogue within the team about diverse traditions. Create an inclusive environment that not only acknowledges, but also celebrates the richness of various holiday traditions. Encouraging a shared appreciation of cultural diversity helps teams cultivate a workplace that values and respects each individual’s unique background.
  5. Creative Ways to Connect: Enhance team connection with creative holiday-themed activities, including engaging games or trivia. Go beyond traditional gift exchanges by organizing a recipe exchange or virtual holiday card exchange. These initiatives foster camaraderie and offer unique opportunities for team members to bond and share in the festive spirit, creating a more connected work environment.

“It is important to focus on inclusivity that respects diverse cultural traditions. Encourage open dialog and communication amongst team members and managers.” 

Tips for Employees: 

  1. Be Selective: It’s okay to be selective about commitments during the holidays. Avoid overstretching yourself by carefully considering the events and tasks you agree to take on. Prioritize activities that align with your values and bring you joy.
  2. Plan Ahead: Planning ahead can alleviate last-minute stress. Create a schedule that includes both work and personal commitments, allowing you to allocate time for shopping, celebrations, and self-care.
  3. Decompression Time: Purposefully build in time to decompress. Whether it’s a short break during the workday or dedicated relaxation time in the evenings, taking moments to unwind is crucial for maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Recognize the signs of burnout and prioritize self-care to prevent prolonged stress and exhaustion.
  4. Reach Out to Your Support System: Ease the holiday stress by leaning on your support system. Connect with those close to you to lighten the burden and share responsibilities and tasks. By working together, it not only eases individual loads, but also strengthens relationships creating a more enjoyable and manageable holiday season for everyone involved. 
  5. Leverage Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and Mental Health Resources: Most employers offer these valuable resources that can provide essential assistance. Or, consider scheduling an appointment with a mental health professional to receive personalized support tailored to your needs. Prioritizing your well-being through these services ensures you have the necessary support during the holiday season and beyond.

“It is important to set realistic expectations for the season and plan ahead. Try to think about what the holidays mean to you and how you want to spend your time.” 

By incorporating these tips and fostering a mindful approach to the holiday season, employers and employees can create a workplace environment that prioritizes well-being, inclusivity, and shared celebrations. 

Offer your employees easy access to coaching, therapy, and psychiatry for all mental and behavioral health in days, not months.