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Guest Viewpoint: The perfect Christmas?

It can be bad for employees' mental health

To invoke a cliché, ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year.’ That’s right, Christmas is looming on the horizon, as the dark evenings draw in, and we begin to count down the weeks until December 25th.

If this sounds a little bit stressful, that’s because it often is. The stress of organising presents and get-togethers can bring pretty much anyone down. A perfect Christmas is something many struggle to achieve, and that struggle creates a pressure cooker mentally.

So, how can you balance the joys of festivities with the stress of actually getting them in order? How can you make sure the holidays are as great as possible for as many people as you can manage?

Don’t push too hard
There’s a pressure on people now to have picture-perfect lives, especially on social media, especially during the holiday season. People you know are likely posting regular updates on their preparations. Remember that social media tends to be a carefully edited snapshot of reality.

If you’re struggling and surrounded by images of others having a perfect time, this can be stressful. Try to remember that no matter how wonderful your friend’s Christmas may seem, they’re likely suffering the same stresses as you.

Try reaching out. Send a message, talking about the stress you feel, telling your friends that you’re having a difficult time. You’ll be surprised by how many people tell you they feel the same and how happy to help they’ll be.

Help out

Of course, the advice above goes two ways. Offer to help whenever you suspect someone you know might be having a problem. Even if it’s just a lift to the shops to pick up a bulky present, or the best way to roast a sprout, the smallest gesture can make a world of difference.

Just be there

For many, the holiday season isn’t as jolly as for others it’s a lonely time of year. You likely know someone going home to an empty house at Christmas, invite them to join your celebrations, include them in your plans, and let them know they’re not alone.

Support your people

Employers have a responsibility to the people in their care, and this is important to remember at Christmas.

You don’t need to go overboard, but a little bit of extra cheer in the office will go a long way. Signpost any help you have available, such as an employee assistance programme, decorate the workplace a little and make sure people know that you’re open and willing to talk. Those small efforts will go a long way to making it a better holiday for everybody.

David Price is CEO of Health Assured