Preserving your Mental Health over the festive period
The festive break is almost upon us and the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun. If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “How will I get everything done?” Christmas brings its challenges—particularly this year, with the ever-changing rules around social distancing and who you can have in your bubble. It’s certainly a period of time that many people can find quite stressful.
During a month where energy, money and ‘happy appearances’ are overstretched, unhealthy food and alcohol tend to be readily available. It’s understandable that your mental health may fluctuate.
The pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges many of us have faced in our lifetimes. People have lost loved ones to the virus and other conditions during 2020. The ongoing threat to our lives has seen some people make huge changes, such as beginning divorce proceedings or moving house. Hundreds of thousands of people have been made redundant this year, and the pressure felt by those who run non-essential businesses—as well as employees within the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors—has been significant.
No doubt we’re all looking forward to Christmas this year, given what 2020 has thrown at us. Even though the pandemic has made us truly appreciate our families, disputes can often occur when we spend more time with them.
The following tips will help you manage the Christmas period so that it doesn’t weigh down on your Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Seek Help and Ask for Support
Arguably one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year can be the run-up to the festive break, as you race to clear the workload on your desk and meet your boss’s deadlines. Don’t be afraid to seek help and be realistic with what you’re capable of producing.
Evaluate your workload, review everything you’ve got to do. Set a list of priorities and identify what really has to be done before the festive break, and what can be deferred until you return. If you don’t have time to get everything done before you go on leave, speak to your manager to discuss solutions.
If new job requests hit your in-tray, don’t feel obliged to take on the work. Manage other people’s expectations when it comes to realistically completing the tasks. They may not have sight of your workload nor be aware of your current schedule, deadlines or priorities.
Take Time Out
Ensure that you take breaks away from your desk or workstation. Exercise and take regular breaks throughout the day are essential for your mental health as well as your physical health. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management method to assist you in getting through tasks in short bursts while taking regular breaks that would ordinarily distract you, therefore enabling you to complete them.
You may want to consider asking for flexible working. Many employers that were previously not keen on allowing such practices have now cottoned on to the benefits that come from their employees working from home, once they were forced to adopt this way of working during lockdown periods.
Manage your working day better by coming in early or staying later, if this is viable, and get your work done during quieter periods.
Christmas and New Year
If you’re working between Christmas and the New Year, have a list of Duty Managers or people that you can contact should you require any assistance. The office tends to be less busy and staffing levels lower over the festive period; some people enjoy working at this time of year, due to fewer distractions that allow them to get more work done. You can also use this time to catch up on projects and that dreaded admin.
Relax, unwind and enjoy. Make sure you treat yourself. Enjoy seeing the people in your bubble and try not to think about work.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT…
…check your work emails unless it’s absolutely essential. If you have to do this, restrict the number of times you do so and consider turning off the respective notifications.
Health and Wellbeing
If you don’t have an exercise routine in place, try not to overindulge on unhealthy food or drink. It’s vital to use your holiday to relax and unwind, but trying to stay active should make returning to work less of a worry.
Plan your Return
- Create a list and prioritise important tasks, so you know what you will need to do on your return
- It’s advisable to leave a couple of days free from meetings and deadlines so you can hit the ground running on your first day back
- If you created a checklist of tasks to complete in the New Year, make an immediate start to gain momentum
- Whether you’re returning to work the day after Boxing Day, or you’re taking a longer break, don’t allow your usual routine to slip too much
Hopefully, these tips will help you return to work feeling fully refreshed and energised.
I hope you have a lovely festive break!
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