Handling the Stress of the Holidays at Work

Nov 12, 2019 | Blog

The holiday season is upon us and although it is a time of festivities and spending time with loved ones and friends, it can also be a time of stress and anxiety.  Both at home and in the workplace.

Some of the holiday stress that can consume us at the workplace could be pressures of deadlines shortened due to holiday time off, end-of-the-year demands, and even challenging patient situations which can add to the everyday stress we are already experiencing.

In addition to workplace stress during the holidays, the holidays themselves add to our stress level due to spending more money (sometimes money we do not really have to spend), more pressure to get the same workload done and more chances for conflict to arise due to the pressure.  In certain studies, it has shown that roughly 66% of employees report additional stress during the holidays.

Other issues that can arise in the workplace during the holiday season are due to a decline in productivity as many employees have a more relaxed and carefree attitude while getting into the spirit of the season and due to holiday burnout.

So, how can you manage to keep your stress level down to be able to still be productive at work and enjoy the holidays?

  • The first thing to do is to become aware of your stress signs. Know what triggers them.  You can manage this by planning your day in advance.  It is a great way to establish order and priorities during the hectic holiday season.
  • Things to do to reduce these triggers are: eat well, exercising, and spending holiday time with people you enjoy being around.
  • Reduce multi-tasking. Multi-tasking used to be showcased as a way to get more done in a shorter amount of time, however, with more to do in our busy lives these days multi-tasking can end up leaving you more frazzled due to splitting your focus.  An example of multitasking would be checking on a patient and documenting your previous patient at the same time.  This can lead to decreased focus and leaves more risk for errors.

A new technique for improving productivity is called “chunking”, where you switch from one task to the other rather than doing both at once.  Essentially, you are breaking up your day into “chunks” of time that you can devote to specific tasks.  Although this term is a bit awkward, this technique allows for fewer start-up moments which give you more time and allows you to get more done, therefore decreasing stress levels!

Here is how you begin chunking:

  • Start small, allowing you to get the feel for the process.
  • Start with one task.
  • Set aside a small amount of time for this task – ex., 30 minutes.
  • Close your door so you can concentrate.
  • Ignore the phone and email.
  • Focus on this specific task only.

Attempt the same thing with phone calls, meetings or other activities and after a short time, you will feel that you are more efficient and your work with reflect that as well!

Remember, the holidays should be a time of celebration and joy with the ones we love.  Enjoy them!  Don’t stress over them!


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Madell, R. (2013, December). HOW TO HANDLE HOLIDAY STRESS AT WORK. Retrieved from:  https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/12/10/how-to-handle-holiday-stress-at-work

Scott. E. (2010). COPING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS AT WORK. Retrieved from: http://fpg.uclahealth.org/workfiles/briteNewsletters/Coping_with_Holiday_Stress_at_Work_V18_Fall10.pdf

Rey, F.J. (2019, July). WHY CHUNKING IS BETTER THAN MULTI TASKING FOR IMPROVING WORK EFFICIENCY. Retrieved from:  https://www.thebalancecareers.com/dont-multi-task-when-you-can-use-chunking-2276184