Are you fried at work? Workplace stress tends to build as we head into the holidays. To add to the mayhem, we’re still recovering from elections, the Sandy once-over, economic tumult and now upheaval in the Mideast. So here are some tips to take control of your holiday workplace stress trajectory.
Top 10 Keys to Manage Holiday Workplace Stress
1. Breathe: It’s not about a quick breath to calm you down, it’s about the science of the breath. Take deep breaths throughout the day. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Make your exhale longer than the inhale, and in just moments you will notice a soothing calm. And just in case you missed it here is my video on taking a breath in the work-life merge.
2. Holiday Party Pitfalls: There is only so much time in the day, let alone after work. Invitations to parties in your industry can lure you with tantalizing fun times and promises of networking. Decide which events are important for business networking. Which can you do without? If you feel compelled to go but you know you have other priorities, a note or a phone call to connect with your colleague is one way to handle it.
3. Workplace Gift-Giving: Start early, decide on a budget and begin with a tiered list of importance. Everyone’s workplace scenario is unique. It might be important for you to acknowledge your boss or your colleagues. Don’t worry about what others are doing. However, it might be worth a conversation with closer colleagues. You might ALL decide not to gift this year, to save cash.
4. Workplace Parties: Don’t stress out about what to wear. If you are perplexed, dress appropriately as you would for work, even if you step it up a bit. You can relax a bit, but always keep in mind this is an extension of work. DO NOT drink to your hearts content. What happens at workplace parties do not stay in Vegas.
5. Limit Junk Food at Work: Ok – this might be a stretch, but give yourself some guidelines on all those cookies that are coming in the door from co-workers. What is your personal limit? Sugar in high quantities can speed you up, and then make you lethargic at work.
6. Cultivate Resilience: Implement a stress-busting routine during your workday and move your body! Be sure to schedule white space in your calendar to take a break from all the festivities and the year-end stress. Try to go for a walk, get exercise, and grab time for yourself before or after work. Throughout the holiday season continue the good habits you’ve developed already. Don’t skimp on yoga, meditation, or exercise.
7. Environmental Modification: Try to work in a different part of the office for a bit. Perhaps head outside for some fresh air or telecommute if your job allows it. If you can, listen to some music or watch some nature videos at your desk. Bring some essential oils to work in small doses as to not annoy others. Peppermint can wake you up a bit and if you need to take the stress down a notch, use lavender oil.
8. Time Stretch: End-of-year workloads can be stressful. Plan your holiday work schedule ahead of time to make time for the year-end wrap up and preliminary work for coming projects. This might require working later some nights prior to, or after specific holidays or parties. Dedicate time to prioritize, plan and then execute projects that can’t wait till after January 1st.
9. Thought Shift: Holidays are stressful enough without having to lament over the past and the workload to come. Take in positive thoughts at work. Keep uplifting quotes posted on your computer. When you start stressing designate a word, for example, BREATHE – that will bring you back into the moment. Keeping pictures of family, pets and visually pleasant photos or totems on your desk is a good distraction.
10. Respond with Compassion: Keep in mind that everyone has their own life story to contend with in their own personal work-live merge. You never know what is going on for someone else. If conflict arises, don’t take it personally. Don’t get sucked into everyone elses drama, stay grounded and compassionately detached.