8 Ideas to Reduce Stress at Work for the Holiday Season ... and Beyond
Stress over the holidays is the highest of any time of year, but in general stress is at an epic all-time high in countries that focus on productivity and profit.
Here are 8 simple tricks to reduce stress at work, reclaim your well-being, and set the stage for a fresh year ahead:
1. Pause. We are approaching the shortest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. Winter reminds us that even nature pauses growth. The most powerful stress-relief comes from re-centering yourself through the day. Reduce stress at work by taking a personal pause: Re-commit to yoga class. Meditation. Or simply sit outside a couple of times a day and breath deep breaths of fresh air. Well-being cannot be delegated! Consciously pause runaway thoughts of your To Do list and tune into your Self. One minute to stop, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths will not kill your productivity; it will actually improve it by draining the stress build-up from your body and mind. Lead a movement in your office that gives others permission to do this.
2. Celebrate the Un-Celebrated. The office holiday party often feels more obligatory than celebratory. Making celebration personal is far more powerful. Create a virtual or physical bulletin board “Celebrate!” and encourage people to post Kudos to their team-mates. Devote the agenda for at least one of your team meetings in December or early January, specifically to the celebration of Good News from the year. Inspire an office cookie-bake-off that celebrates different nationalities of co-workers.
3. Reclaim. Deadlines and relentless pressure to finish the year strong, can leave you feeling the team / company is all-important. Reclaim yourself by planning at least one or two blocks of time this month, to do something that brings you complete ease, peace and joy. Ask yourself “How can I continue to give to everyone else if I don’t take time to replenish myself, and my own spirit and energy?”
4. Reflect. Write down what you are grateful for this year. Try it as a 2-minute day-starter through New Year’s. Maybe you can even replace those unrealistic New Years’ resolutions with Gratitude Resolutions.
5. Bring Childhood Back. Fun and silly does belong at work (it's human.) Creativity and innovation at work spring forth from tapping into the lighter side of human psychology. Sponsor a play-date with another team (one that may feel under-appreciated or would benefit from knowing your team better), and plan an outing that fits the spirit of your culture, while evoking the childlike energy of the unexpected and spontaneous.
6. Give Time. Who in your office needs encouragement, extra attention, appreciation? Some people in your workplace have endured great losses this year. The holidays can amplify feelings of grief or sadness. Reduce stress at work by giving the greatest gift of all: Time to tune in and listen to others.
7. Edit and Trim. Those of us driven by the desire to achieve, often build up the most unrealistic expectations on ourselves during the holidays. Traditions can be exhausting! Consider how you can do less this year: Maybe pause or extend a project deadline. It won’t kill productivity to add a week of lighter work schedule, that help your employees enjoy the season’s focus on social outings.
8. Make Someone’s Day. One of the best holiday traditions in our family is to give to someone who doesn’t expect it, in a way that is anonymous and has no expectation of return. This is best done on a personal level. The heartfelt energy created through bringing joy to another is literally good for the heart, soul and body.
You don’t need scientific proof to know a stress-free workplace improves productivity, increases engagement, and helps with energy and focus.
Take time to invest and reap the rewards beyond the holiday season, into 2017.