How To Prepare For Holiday Stress in the Workplace

A few weeks ago, we talked about seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and how it can leave people feeling lost or overwhelmed in the workplace. While it's common to see the holiday season as a bright and joyous time of year for everyone, Winter is the most common flare up time for SAD. Therefore, in this part of our inclusive holiday season series, we’ll tell you why it’s important to look out for these signs in your workers, and in-turn, how you can make their holiday season easier.

What is SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder is defined by psychology today as a mood disorder that causes individuals to experience depressive episodes that occur during the same season each year. Due to winter being the most common month in which this occurs, it has often been called the “Winter Blues”. Some symptoms of SAD include feelings of intense sadness, oversleeping, changes in appetite, Increased fears of social rejection, and avoidance of social activities. It is estimated that nearly 10 million Americans experience SAD, meaning that it is something that we must work around in order to preserve our workers’ well-being.

What can you do to combat holiday stress or SAD?

Though much of the stress or intense feelings being felt by overwhelmed workers cannot be attributed to the going-ons in the work-place, it’s still important to show empathy and care with how you treat others. You can’t fix these issues, but if you play your cards right, you can allow for them to have more time and energy to focus on themselves. Here are some quick tips for how to proceed:

  1. Remind workers of how important it is to unplug + take a break.

  2. Break the stigma! Talk about mental health openly and unabashedly around the office.

  3. Remind workers of how thankful you are + check in with them weekly.

  4. Once stress/mental health concerns are identified, move forward with care and empathy.

Happiness and employee engagement are key ingredients to a healthy and productive company. Therefore, developing these in your workplace is a must. A study from the University of Warwick, showed that happiness in an employee results in a 12% increase in productivity. Along with this, there is a positive correlation between happiness and creativity. Therefore, workers that defined themselves as happy in the work-place are reported as being a) more productive and b) able to tackle tough problems that require out of the box thinking. Lead and engage with your workers in an inclusive and empathetic manner and reap the rewards.

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