Managing Christmas Stress

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It’s a busy time of year for Health Shield members, HR connections and intermediaries alike, the known stresses of the festive period can take over and leave people feeling even more run down than usual.

Don’t forget to look after yourself and your employees’ wellbeing by taking some hints and tips ahead of a busy time of year which will help manage time and money and the impact on everyday life.

Whether it’s buying presents, money worries, preparing the Christmas dinner, managing your time to fit in your family and friends or attending Christmas gatherings — everyone feels the pressure as the end of the year sets in.

Christmas with your family is a magical time that you should be able to enjoy and remain calm.

There are some simple ideas to help keep yourself and your workforce happy and de-stressed:

  • Monitor Christmas gifts — build a gift list throughout the year which will minimise end of the year spending. Cut the gift list and only buy for immediate family and do a Secret Santa with friends, or don’t hit the shops — do all your shopping in one night online, you can often find better prices but do make sure you’re buying from trusted websites!
  • Wrap a few presents at a time — don’t stress yourself out on Christmas Eve with all your wrapping, nobody wants to spend Christmas Eve doing that so wrap as you go.
  • Don’t stress about baking — yes it is impressive and may be better for your overall health and wellbeing having freshly baked food. But it is not the end of the world if you buy pre-prepared food from the supermarket to save you time and energy. In fact, some of them can be just as healthy.
  • Christmas card hassle — it is becoming more and more popular not to have the hassle of sending Christmas cards to everyone you know. Send them to close family and friends, or instead make a donation to charity or send e-cards. Not only will this save you time and wrist ache having to spend evenings writing them out, but you’ll save some money too.
  • Christmas clean — keep your attention on the areas where your visitors are likely to spend the most time such as the kitchen, living room and bathroom. Leave the bedrooms and other areas until after the festivities are over or when your guests have gone. It’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Keep your dishes to a minimum — the last thing anyone likes doing after a good Christmas dinner is the washing up. Minimise your washing up by using dishwasher safe crockery, or better still use paper plates or silver platters that you can just throw away after eating.
  • It doesn’t have to be a feast — put on some simple bits that are not only easier to cook but can be better for the waistline too. Perhaps try a dinner where your guests bring an item of food to the table which will help with the cost?
  • Take time to chill out — don’t rush around driving to see every friend and relative. Stay at home, spend time with those loved ones close to home and see others over different days. Camp out in front of the Christmas tree with carols and mince pies. It is important to switch off.

There are some stresses that might be unavoidable, or perhaps you aren’t able to plan too far in advance, but there are still ways that your wellbeing and that of your employees can be helped. After all, too much stress could mean time off work, and that won’t help with absence management.

It is true that you feel like you need to be everywhere at Christmas, and if you are hosting for family or friends it is very easy to get caught up in making everything impressive and perfect, not to mention keeping the children entertained. And at work, everyone wants everything before they’ve sent it. Many companies will find in the run up to Christmas, employees are working longer hours than they have been all year trying to juggle their work load with their social life. This time of year is hard to keep the balance right, so looking after health and wellbeing is additionally important. Share the load — don’t try to do everything yourself.

How do you manage it?

  • Make a list — mark up priorities and ‘would be nice to do’ rather than everything being important. Not everything on that list is important.
  • Don’t expect it to be completely perfect, things will go wrong, but it’s best not to stress about it, accept it, work around it and do it another way.
  • Sleep! A vital ingredient in remaining stress free. Remember it is recommended you should get at least 7–8 hours of sleep a night, and take a rest break in the day even just 10 minutes to have a cup of tea.

If you want to ensure your workforce has access to counselling or support if they become stressed or are experiencing money worries at any time of the year, look into a Health Shield health cash plan, it is just one of the great benefits available. You’ll find all the information you require on the main areas of our website.