‘Tis the season to be jolly? Not according to a 2015 study, conducted by MetLife Insurance, stating that December is the most stressful time of year for 42 percent of workers.
The causes of stress are around lack of time, lack of money (a big one) and commercialism or hype. Then there are the other factors like the pressure of gift buying, family gatherings (surprise, surprise), staying on a diet (which is just not going to happen), increasing credit card debt (which will most likely definitely happen) and travel. The only people who aren’t feeling stressed by the holiday season are young people, who look forward to having time off from school or college and the really young, who are looking forward to trying to stay awake long enough to see Santa Clause… He always arrives after sleep finally prevails and always has a bite of cake and a swig of milk (or whiskey)! Obviously one person who is not stressing about his diet. Now, we at Peers and Players don’t wish to be the bearers of depressing news on what should be a joyful time of year, so we would like to offer a few hints to help you get those stress levels down:
Forget about work: In the above survey, 42% said they still felt stressed about work. Either, worrying about what was awaiting them on their return, that their work obligations might intrude on their holidays or not being able to meet year-end expectations. Forget it! An important life skill is the ability to “switch off” when you leave the workplace; for the night, the weekend or the duration of the holidays. If you have a work cell phone, switch it off (making sure you let your work know that this is what you are doing) and give an emergency number if you must. If you have any concerns about your work, switch them off too. There is absolutely nothing you can do about it until your return so don’t sweat it. Perhaps one of the last things you can do before leaving is to make a list of priorities to action on your return. That way you know you’ll have a plan once the holidays are over.
Budget: If you are worried about money (like most of us), the best way to decrease stress is to predetermine what you are going to spend. Limit what you are going to spend on gifts (it is after all the thought that counts) and work out ahead of time what your travel plans are going to cost. You’ll still be spending, but at least you’ll have a sense of control over what you are going to spend, and this will alleviate the feeling that your hard-earned dollars are just flying out the window.
Stay healthy: Stress is a huge contributing factor to bad health, so anything you can do to mitigate this will be good for your health. Sure, there is a good possibility that you’ll be breaking diets or good habits during the holiday period, however this can be done mindfully without “just letting it all go”. For example, give yourself a day off from the diet you may be on for Christmas dinner (and perhaps the next day with all those yummy left-overs), but get back on it the next day. Leave 14 hours between dinner and the next meal to give your body some time to recover. This will actually help your stress levels more than your waistline, as you won’t have any nagging guilt or worry if you give yourself “permission” to have scheduled times off.
Dress up: Put on an elf costume and turn up at the local supermarket: We call this “acting therapy” and there’s no better part to play than a mischievous scamp with a mission to survey people for the “naughty-or-nice list”, and give some unexpected cheer to others. A few hours of wandering round in red and green, dodging security will undoubtedly give you some much needed stress relief.
Book in some Peers and Players actors for your next communication workshop: OK, so we’re stretching it a bit here, however having professional corporate actors at your next workshop will give you the certainty that your new year will start on a positive. We give people real-time experience learning positive communication skills. Also in a recent survey conducted by Peers and Players, a whopping 100% of respondents said that corporate actors are fun to work with and make otherwise dull workshops exciting. *
* Disclaimer: 100% of respondents of the above-mentioned survey were in fact all Peers and Players corporate actors.