December in an average year is always a month of ups and downs. The combination of holiday excitement, pending family interactions, excess spending and less sunshine are enough to rattle the steeliest of nerves. Add in a pandemic, and you’ve got the perfect storm for a mental health crisis. More than ever, this is a year to find new ways to support your team.
Since we know this is a stressful time- in a year full of uncertainty and chaos- we know it’s important to put a plan in place for our teams. Supporting your organization through the holidays is a lot simpler than it may seem. Here are 5 ways you can show your team you care and help them through the holiday season.
Be flexible – Offering flexibility can go a long way. Allowing your team time to step away from the stress or to complete some of their holiday errands shows them you understand what they’re going through. While they may not be able to spend hours at the mall selecting the perfect gift for someone they love, they may choose to go grocery shopping during the day when stores are less crowded before spending their evenings catching up on their outstanding work. While this isn’t practical for all businesses or organizations, it could help your team accomplish all of their December goals.
Celebrate the holiday spirit - The pandemic has undoubtedly put a stop to most holiday events. While we cannot gather in person to celebrate the holidays, there are many other ways to host a work party and bring some cheer to the group. If you want some ideas on how to throw a virtual holiday party, visit our “Planning a Holiday Party in the World of COVID-19” blog post here. https://www.rlb.ca/planning-a-holiday-party-in-the-world-of-covid-19/
Open the lines of communication – The holidays are not always a happy time for all. Financial stress, family tension, struggles with substance use or grief, can play a role in dampening spirits this time of year. Creating an environment in which your team feels comfortable sharing about their struggles allows them to feel less shame. Having open lines of communication will enable them to reach out for help when they need it.
Make wellness a priority – While it is always important to promote mental and physical health within your team, it is crucial to highlight this during the holidays. At this time of year, it is easy to get caught up in the treats and social drinking; however, with a global pandemic, these can turn into unhealthy coping mechanisms. Without the ability to travel or spend time with their families, your team could wind up feeling isolated and alone. Reminding your group of the resources you have in place and encouraging them to reach out will set them up with a psychological safety net to get them through challenging times. Find a thorough list of free resources you can share with them here. https://www.rlb.ca/supporting-your-team-mental-health-resources/
Encourage giving back – One of the best ways to honour the holidays’ true meaning is to give back. This may have been spending time volunteering in previous years, but that isn’t possible in 2020. There are still many ways to help your fellow man or community, even without spending cash. Take time to donate your gently used clothing, jackets or toys. Organize a canned food drive within your organization. Complete random acts of kindness, such as buying someone a coffee or calling someone to tell them you love them. Sharing kindness with others is a surefire way to help your mindset and wellbeing.
This holiday season, much like the rest of 2020, will be unlike what we have ever seen before. The simple act of showing you care about those around you and reminding them of their value and worth can make a tremendous impact.