The countdown to Christmas can be a wonderful time, yet for many, it becomes an intense period filled with heightened stress and pressures.

A survey of 15,000 employees across the UK, Europe and the US found that almost half reported some degree of “festive fizzleout” meaning that by the 18th of December, they were struggling to maintain usual levels of productivity and focus.

A 2019 YouGov survey found that 26% of people reported that their mental health worsened during the holidays.

Stress and Burnout

There are several reasons why this is the case. We may be experiencing burnout from the pressure of trying to get all our work done in less time than usual. We may be stressed about holiday plans or the lack of. It is also the most expensive time of the year, leading to more financial stress.

Additional stress can play havoc with our immune systems and impair our sleep, leaving us prone to picking up bugs that further tire us out.  In a nutshell, the festive season puts extra demands on us at just the time of year when we may have the least energy to face it all. 1 in 3 adults in the UK experience at least a mild form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), sapping our energy and lowering our mood levels.

5 Tips to Protect Your Wellbeing

Here are a few tips to help you thrive over the coming weeks:

  1. Protect Your Personal Time: Dedicate moments to exclusively focus on family demands, gift buying or simply having some much-needed downtime. If possible, find ways to rebalance your workload so that some of the pressures are reduced. Perhaps see if any deadlines can be extended.
  2. Manage Stress Proactively: It can be hard to see this at times but a lot of the stress we experience is more under our control than we realise, and so is preventable. Try to reduce stress wherever you can. Protect your brain from multitasking by reprioritising tasks and saying “No” if you’ve overcommitted yourself.
  3. Be Kind to Yourself: Acceptance is vital to our sense of wellbeing. Try to accept that events may happen that are out of your control. You don’t have to be responsible for the happiness and enjoyment of colleagues or family. Make sure to have time to slow down and focus on quality time with those you care about.
  4. Embrace Emotional Wellness: It is okay to not be full of festive cheer every day, at work or at home. There can be so much pressure to celebrate and to be merry but it’s important to remember that the winter blues are real.
  5. Step Back and Unwind: To improve energy and mood, don’t forget to step outside of the office or home every day. While you’re out there, let go of the to-do list and let your mind wander. And take every chance you can to laugh and have fun!

Remember, prioritising your wellbeing is essential and there are available resources, along with the above tips to support you on your journey to a healthier, happier holiday season.

How can PAM Wellbeing Help?

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Access to a 24/7 confidential helpline answered by qualified counsellors for in-the-moment emotional support. As well as wellbeing resources to support a variety of personal and professional issues.

Mental Health Webinars: Discover how PAM Wellbeing can enhance your workplace through specialised workshops on SAD and Winter Wellness, and training sessions focusing on Financial Wellbeing.

Enhanced Psychological Services:  Access to professional counsellors through management referrals, providing employees with proactive support to effectively manage their mental health challenges.

If you have access to PAM Wellbeing’s EAP service and are feeling overwhelmed this festive period, please reach out for support via the helpline or using your organisation code. Alternatively, request this information from your manager or HR department to access your EAP.

Get in touch today