It’s that time of the year again, when every workplace in the UK is on the final stretch before their Christmas holidays begin.
Alongside the jolly workplace festivities and the ‘just one more mince pie / glass of wine’ evenings, there is also often mounting pressure in the run up to New Year’s day, both within the workplace and outside.
Often, December is a shorter working month with offices shutting up shop before 24th December, meaning that employees have to do more with less time, which can result in increased workloads just to finish projects and meet targets before the break.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 42% of workers believe that December is their most stressful time of year.
Not only do workers find the pressures of work life overwhelming in December, there’s often the added pressures of balancing personal life, such as travelling to visit family, hosting family occasions and Christmas shopping,which is not only mentally stressful, but can also put an additional strain on finances, which is a leading cause of stress during the festive period.
We at HappyMaven, understand that Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year, but also conversely, often a catalyst for stress, sadness and loneliness for some people. We believe that it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental and physical wellbeing at this time of the year with the heightened stress, indulgence and emotion tied to the festive season.
With that in mind, we have compiled a list of our favourite “Alternative Holiday Season” ideas to be happier, healthier, kinder and more mindful during the festive season:
Reverse Advent Calendar
Instead of opening a tiny window with a festive treat every morning in December, why not reverse the tradition by filling a box throughout the month with a donation of something small, everyday.
Many organisations, such as local food banks and homeless charities are using this technique to support their cause during the winter.
The reverse advent calendar is a simple way to make a big difference to your community and a great way of engaging a workforce to come together to make a big difference, with each employee being designated a date in December to donate.
Mindful gifting - Four Gift Rule
Do you feel like gifting over Christmas is getting out of control? It’s been well documented that people find themselves over-stretching their finances during the festive period, with
One third of people turning to credit cards and borrowing money just to put presents under the Christmas tree.
An up and coming trend, the ‘Four Gift Rule’ is changing present giving and will lead to a more mindful, sustainable and hopefully more affordable Christmas for all. Pledge to give just four, more meaningful and useful presents:
Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
Mind & Body
December is rife with Christmas parties, pre-Christmas get-togethers and of course New Year’s Eve. Before you know it, you have had more evenings drinking alcohol than not. Not only does overindulging make you feel groggy, it also leads to unproductivity, poor mental health - not to mention a sure fire way to pile on the pounds!
According to the Home Office alcohol-related sick days are estimated to cost employers around £1.7 billion. Research found that
One in four 18 to 34 year olds have taken sick days in the past 12 months because of hangovers.
What’s more, a quarter of all UK workers suffer hangovers that affect their productivity on a monthly basis. To avoid boozy evenings and unproductive mornings, why not arrange an early Christmas Brunch instead? Get all the benefits of a get-together with friends and colleagues, but without the hangover anxiety and cloudy head the next day.
Ditch the booze completely this festive season and find your Sober Tribe with Sober Girl Society. As attitudes to alcohol consumption slowly changes, organisations are capitalising on this trend, by holding booze-free brunches and helping people connect and socialise in an alcohol-free environment with likeminded people.
December might sound like the WORST month to begin a fitness challenge, but it’s a great way to keep your team energised and entertain some healthy competition between co workers for the final few weeks, even more so with a prize at the end of the challenge. What better motivation do you need to put down the pint and lace your trainers up?
Take the time to write a personal note of gratitude in your Christmas or New Years cards. What impact, great or small has this person made in your life this year? Whether it’s for your colleague, neighbour or sibling, the simple act of showing appreciation is what Christmas is all about. Expressing recognition, gratitude and thanks is so powerful in the workplace and is proven to result in more motivated and productive employees who feel more valued by their employer, who in turn feel more likely to stay in their role rather than job hunt.
It’s easy to lose perspective of the bigger picture at Christmas time, with the stresses of work life, family life and financial strains, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Take a moment to relax, breathe and reflect on your achievements, your family, friends and your quality of life.
December, with Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Judaism observances, is a unique time of the year when individuals have the opportunity to reflect, show gratitude and in turn, give back to those who may not be so fortunate. Here’s a selection of organisations who have worthy initiatives to take part in this festive season:
1. Crisis : Reserve a place at Crisis at Christmas and introduce them to the education, training and support to help end their homelessness for good through Crisis’ year-round services.
2. Age UK : Age UK Westminster’s Christmas Day Lunch Project is a yearly project to make Christmas Day a special and enjoyable time for elderly residents who may be suffering from loneliness and isolation.
3. Campaign to End Loneliness : Discover 12 simple things you can do to tackle loneliness, and make everyone feel more connected at Christmas.
We at HappyMaven wish all of our clients, friends and partners a very Happy New Year and hope that the tips mentioned in this article can help bring more joy and happiness to you and the people around you this festive season. We would love to hear about your alternative Christmas and holiday plans, connect with us on social channels @HappyMaven to share your stories.