Looking back at the tips from previous years, it makes it even more apparent how different this Christmas is. No office parties, big lunch or dinner engagements; no big family get togethers; no big social outings. The word BIG is one of the big differences this year and very often it is the big events around Christmas that can cause us the most stress. Worrying about how to manage the excesses and overindulgences, the sometimes-fraught nature of too many people in one place, the social anxiety that can ruin a work event, family tension, are all the things we have highlighted in the past as areas to mind yourself over Christmas.
This year most of these potential stresses are not going to be there!! Everything had got very BIG around Christmas with the financial pressures adding a further burden to stretched households. This year will be very different. There is no doubt we will miss a lot of the BIG occasions however this time may give us an opportunity to understand what really is important in our lives and help us to realign our focus for the future.
That in itself is a challenge, we have been catapulted into an existence we did not prepare for and minding ourselves, our family, friends and colleagues over the Christmas season will be more important than ever this year.
Loneliness and Isolation
Unfortunately, many people will be feeling isolated this Christmas. It is particularly important, as employers, to have insight into your employees’ circumstances around this time. Are they unable to travel home, are they in any way compromised and unable to be with family or friends? Be mindful of anyone in these circumstances, reach out and let them know they are not alone and have points of contact throughout the holiday period. A colleague calling for a chat, walk or even a phone call could make a huge impact on that person’s self-esteem.
We may not be out socialising as much as previous festive seasons, however temptation is not far away with shop shelves laden down with tasty treats “hey it’s Christmas”! And yes, we do all deserve to overdo it a little but the key message here is MODERATION. If we are spending more time at home, there is the temptation to graze continually. Think about what and how much you are eating, enjoy it and savour it and then hit the Stop button.
The same message applies to alcohol. We all enjoy a few tipples particularly around Christmas time, but as we won’t be out socialising as much as before there is the temptation as with food to graze at home. Be mindful of how much you are drinking, particularly if you are alone and feeling in any way low. Feelings are magnified with alcohol and can become overwhelming. Reach out to friends and family for support and mind yourself.
Getting out in the fresh air will lift anyone’s mood, help shift those extra pounds and is an opportunity to safely meet up with family and friends. Make sure to get out every day even for a short walk, the impact this has on our wellbeing is huge. Arrange to walk and talk, bring along a coffee and explore new places together. Kids love nothing more than going for a ramble, wrap up but on the boots and get mucky!!
This has been a year like no other and no one has been shielded from the stress it has brought upon us. No matter what our personal circumstances, it is important to take a step back and rest, both our minds and bodies. Keeping Christmas simple this year will help in easing some of the stress and tension. Be mindful of your mental health and that of those around you, and don’t be afraid to ask for support and help. There are some fantastic supports available on www.mentalhealthireland.ie including a Family Wellbeing Toolkit, Mindful Moments, a Recharge Worksheet and many more.
Voltedge has also developed a series of wellbeing webinars which can be offered to employees to help them Realign & Recharge and manage working in a COVID-19 environment. Contact us 01 5252914 for more details on our webinars and to discuss your specific requirements.
Finally have some fun
Introduce some new Christmas traditions, dust off the old boardgames, plan adventures, plan for the COVID-19 free future and finally nurture all those around you.
Ingrid O’Sullivan, Operations Manager