The holiday season has arrived and while this time is often one of great joy and celebration, the quest to achieve perfection can often add pressure and stress to any person or relationship. Seasonal activities filled with excitement and anticipation can be a new source of anxiety, depression, and temptation. These high expectations and new stressors on top of existing work-related responsibilities, like meeting end-of-year deadlines and deliverables, can feel daunting and almost overwhelming at times.
Although we are unable to predict and control every aspect of holiday plans, we do have the ability to take certain precautions and steps in protecting our mental health and well-being. Check out the APAF Center for Workplace Mental Health’s tips to help safeguard your mental health and well-being during "the most wonderful time of the year."
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How to Support Your Employees' Mental Health During the Holidays
Each holiday season can bring new mental health challenges. Employers have the ability to support their employees through them, including encouraging open sharing of feelings, both highs and lows, as well as scheduling one-on-one check-ins with team members. Organizations can also actively adjust their employee benefits to ensure access to mental health care and services, as well as include "mental health days" under their sick leave policy.
Nationwide Holiday Mental Health Poll Reveals Americans are Worried about Contracting COVID, Missing Family Members and Procuring and Affording Gifts
The American Psychiatric Association's recent national poll shows that Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases rather than decreases during the holiday season. This year, the top areas of concern include adults feeling anxious about missing family members around the holidays (47%), finding (40%) and affording (46%) gifts, and contracting COVID-19 during gatherings (38%).
How to Encourage Employees to Really Unplug During The Holiday Season
The holiday season can be a difficult time for work-life balance. Leaders should encourage and remind employees of the benefits of using accrued vacation days and taking time off to fully unplug. Managers can lead by example by modeling good mental health care behaviors and by setting clear time off expectations like staying offline, not responding to emails and assigning a point of contact who could handle any urgent matters in their absence.