Although the holiday season is all about appreciation and togetherness, it ironically triggers disconnection and stress when we don’t actively exercise conscientious and grateful attitudes.
Ingratitude spreads quickly in social situations — the workplace included! Don’t give it time to spread. Read on for tips on how to use gratitude to beat common holiday stressors in the workplace.
Gratitude Remedies for Common Holiday Workplace Stresses
1. Holiday Stress: “There aren’t enough hours in the day!”
Coworkers are on vacation, end-of-year reports are due and fewer people are on hand to handle the increased workload. If your company is in retail, your workplace may be juggling the demands of training holiday temp workers with the crush of consumer shopping needs. Exhaustion is setting in, and you’re finding yourself easily frustrated and snippy with others.
Gratitude Remedy: Take a breather and focus on what’s important.
Fight the impulse to skip lunch, work longer hours or take work home. It may seem counterintuitive, but going into overdrive won’t help you get anything done faster. You’ll just blaze a trail of busyness until you run out of gas and burn out, feeling defeated and resentful.
Take time to recharge instead, alone and with others. It can be as simple as taking a deep breath, as Forbes contributor Judy Martin points out her column “5 Keys to Transform Workplace Holiday Stress From the Inside Out.”
In a recent Greater Good Science Center article, sociologist and happiness expert Christine Carter recommends prioritizing opportunities for reconnection. Be sure to nix “everything that doesn’t serve to connect us to each other or something larger than ourselves,” she writes.
For your company to-do list, ask:
- Does this positively connect employees to each other or to the company?
- Does this serve our customers or community now?
You’ll be amazed at how quickly the busywork falls away!
One quick, powerful way to provide restorative downtime to employees is with yoga. Try posting these “5 Yoga Poses for Holiday Stress Under 5 Minutes Each” in a common area or bringing in a yoga teacher over a lunch hour to lead everyone through a relaxing routine.
2. Holiday Stress: “The party treats are getting out of control!”
Is your break room overflowing every day with a fattening spread of holiday cookies, chips and dip, and cheese-and-cracker platters? Do your coworkers partake in post-workday tumblers of egg nog or convene at restaurants with extravagant dinners? If you’re starting to feel sluggish, bloated and tired, it’s probably showing in your work and in how you interact with others.
Gratitude Remedy: Connect with people, not treats.
Food and drink are great ways to connect with others, but it can easily get out of hand.
At parties, take a break from the buffet to focus on meeting new people, to chat with employees or to reconnect with colleagues you may not see often.
If you’re the host of a holiday party, schedule opportunities for socializing that don’t include drinking or eating. This could be a party game, a group activity like rock climbing or an outdoor winter adventure that brings your team together.
One helpful rule of thumb during the holidays is to only eat homemade treats. You can get most store-bought treats anytime of the year, but your boss’s special cheese ball recipe is a once-a-year opportunity! When you partake in homemade food your coworkers or employees are sharing, you’re sharing in the gratitude of each other’s company.
And if you do overindulge, don’t sweat it. Instead of dwelling on the guilt of too many cookies, be appreciative of the bounty you have in your life.
3. Holiday Stress: “Workplace gift-giving is giving me a headache!”
Down to the wire? You’re not alone! The real trouble comes when holiday gift-giving seems like a burden or a chore.
Gratitude Remedy: Step back and refocus — reflect on what makes you grateful!
Christine Carter (of the Greater Good Science Center) shares these important words of wisdom in her post on having a low-stress, high-joy holiday season:
[Tweet “”Trade in expectations for appreciation.””] This doesn’t mean settling for less than the best. It means letting go of unrealistic, damaging expectations. If, for example, you expect holiday gift-giving to be a burden or a silly obligation, it will be.
By rewiring your thought process toward appreciation, you refocus on the current reality instead of living in the future or brooding on what you don’t have.
Looking for a quick way to trade in expectations for appreciation on a communal scale? Organize a workplace-wide volunteer opportunity. Even an afternoon together helping restock supplies at a food pantry can have a profound impact on everyone’s level of gratitude and feelings of connection to one another. Use the time to reflect on how and why you appreciate your co-workers or employees.
Once you feel more grateful, gift-giving suddenly becomes enjoyable! Gratitude really is the secret to great employee holiday gifts!
For an in-depth guide to building a vibrant, everyday culture of workplace gratitude, download our FREE eBook, “Transforming Your Workplace with Gratitude.” You’ll be amazed at how easy it is.
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