Christmas anxiety

3 key tips to tackle Christmas anxiety

For many, the concept of “Christmas anxiety” may be seen as meaningless or alien. But for others, especially those facing challenges in the workplace, Christmas can become a significant source of stress and discomfort. 

The reason is that Christmas is that time of year when joy, excitement, and nostalgia are mixed with the stress of closing out the current year, the anxiety of setting goals for the year ahead, and an agenda full of social events awaiting your confirmation. 

In fact, within the work context, different studies have concluded that stress and anxiety levels increase significantly at this time of year due to a combination of multiple factors. These include, for example, coordinating the Christmas holidays with the delivery of the current year’s projects, the planning of new OKRs for the coming year, and the general social expectations that characterise this time of year.  

So what can we do to deal with this anxiety at Christmas? The main thing is understanding what causes the discomfort and developing strategies to deal with it.

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Christmas anxiety

What causes Christmas anxiety?

Christmas anxiety is the feeling of anguish, fear, or uneasiness that appears during the last months of the year. It is caused by a mixture of a lack of organisation, high workloads, and, of course, the social context characteristic of the season. 

At work, a lack of organisation during the holiday season can manifest itself in various ways. Between tight deadlines, lack of effective communication, coordination of team goals, and task overload, a tense working environment can be created, which in turn can increase work stress. Additionally, the pressure to meet year-end expectations can overwhelm employees, negatively affecting their mental well-being.

This can have significant consequences for employees’ mental health and levels of well-being at work. Work-related anxiety at Christmas can lead to problems such as insomnia, fatigue, irritability, and reduced employee performance.

Understanding the context

In addition to our daily workload, a whole social context is added during the festive season, characteristically marked by certain demands that stress our agenda. 

Social conventions, advertising, and society in general offer certain “parameters” that tell us how we “should” behave and what we should do during these dates, almost forcing us to always feel happy at this time of the year. This obligation adds an extra social pressure that makes us feel bad, even unhappy, in relation to others. As a result, it is not uncommon to find that anxiety levels increase at Christmas. 

This time of year brings with it the need to plan events or get-togethers, buy gifts, or perhaps trips to visit loved ones. For this reason, it is common for there to be a lack of work-life balance during the Christmas season, which can, in turn, affect interpersonal relationships and the ability to enjoy the festivities, adding pressure and even more Christmas anxiety.

This is where organisation and planning are key to anticipating work stress at Christmas. If we know the context and we know what we are facing, we can start planning ahead to manage the workload efficiently, without it being a reason for increased Christmas anxiety. 

In fact, workers who can organise themselves in advance can increase their productivity, even in times of high workload or complex times such as the festive season. Moreover, if a person is able to organise and plan ahead, this will not only increase their performance, but also allow them to secure quality time to enjoy the festive season.

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3 strategies to organise your workload during the festive season

  1. Prioritise activities: Identify the most important or critical tasks that need to be done before the end of the year. Then organise and carry out these tasks according to the most urgent ones. By reducing the time spent on the “less” important tasks and focusing only on the truly relevant activities, you will have more room in your schedule for holiday enjoyment.
  2. Learn to delegate: Trust your team and learn to delegate tasks. This will help you spread the responsibilities so that the entire project burden does not fall on your shoulders alone. By doing this, you will not only speed up project delivery but also significantly reduce Christmas anxiety.
  3. Set boundaries: Adjust your expectations and recognise your limitations. By doing this, you can set guidelines regarding how much work you can do during this time and turn down those requests that you know will represent an excess in your workload. Learning to say no is a crucial skill. Otherwise, overloading yourself with unattainable work goals can lead to increased levels of stress and work anxiety.
Christmas anxiety

A supportive environment

On a personal level, understanding our context will allow us to manage everything better so that we can achieve a balance between enjoying the festivities and carrying out our activities. But at the same time, companies can apply some actions that can help employees enhance their self-care at work and, therefore, help reduce Christmas anxiety.

  1. Encourage open communication: Creating an environment where employees can freely express their feelings and concerns and encouraging communication between colleagues to offer mutual support can help reduce Christmas anxiety. Employees should feel comfortable voicing their concerns, and companies should be willing to listen to and address work-related issues.
  1. Prioritise: As we mentioned earlier, prioritisation of tasks becomes essential during the festive season. Clearly define team goals and deadlines in order to concentrate employees’ efforts on what is most important, avoiding an excessive workload.
  2. Manage time and expectations: Encourage employees to plan ahead for their responsibilities and their holiday time to help reduce the stress of preparing everything at the last minute. Encourage them to complete tasks in stages to avoid work overload.
  3. Set boundaries: Help employees set clear boundaries between work and personal life during holidays. Encourage them to take breaks and respect their time off. They have the right to say no.
  4. Flexible working hours: Companies offering flexible working hours can help employees better manage their professional and personal responsibilities. This can contribute to a healthier balance during the holiday season and significantly reduce Christmas anxiety.
  1. Flexible holidays: Offering flexible options for taking time off during the festive period can also help reduce Christmas anxiety. Consider and respect employees’ individual needs for rest or maintenance of work routines.
  2. Raising awareness about mental health: Talking about the importance of mental health during the holidays is key to encouraging people to acknowledge and manage their emotions. In turn, this will help demystify the idea of asking for help when needed and remove the pressure to always feel happy.
  3. Encourage self-care: Encourage employees’ self-care practices. Do this by offering workshops or sessions on stress management, meditation, or other breathing techniques to help maintain employees’ mental well-being.
  4. Financial management: Offer resources or advice on financial management during this costly time of year. Educating employees on the importance of setting a realistic budget for gifts or festive spending can help them deal with anxiety at Christmas.
  1. Support isolated employees: Identify and support employees who may feel isolated during the holidays. A good way may be to organise events or activities to reinforce the feeling of belonging to the team.
  2. Offer emotional support: Providing emotional support resources, such as psychoeducation or mental well-being solutions for organisations, can help employees cope with stress and anxiety at Christmas. Connecting with co-workers and promoting a supportive environment can make a difference.
  1. Publicise resources: Provide information on resources available to support employees’ mental health, such as counselling services, mental well-being solutions, helplines, or support groups.
Christmas anxiety

Protecting mental well-being in organisations

At ifeel, we do not want the Christmas spirit to become a source of work anxiety for your team members. It is important to avoid any negative impact on their psychological well-being inside and outside of work. 

That’s why we want to tell you about our mental well-being solution for companies, designed by our team of psychologists, experts in well-being at work, which allows managers in the People, Talent, and Human Resources area to receive personalised, data-based advice on how to look after the psychological well-being of the teams they are in charge of. 

Our solution offers all employees a complete mental health care service that includes emotional support and online therapy with one of our professionals. 

We hope you found this post about Christmas anxiety interesting. If you would like more information about our mental well-being solution for businesses, simply request it, and we’ll contact your team as soon as possible.

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