Learning & Development

Holiday Season (and Year-Round) Stress: How to Handle It


Today’s workforce operates under high pressure, especially at holiday season. Here are some tools to help them handle the load.


Holiday season is one of the most joyous times of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful. Gift buying fever is at its peak, and the malls are jammed. Even worse are the mall parking lots. At home, out-of-town relatives are nesting on your favorite couch, and while it’s great to see them, your privacy is the price.


Things are so hectic it’s almost a relief to come to work, except that here, too, pressures are intense. Vacation vacancies and winter illnesses hit just when that last big drive to “make the year” is on. Add in some bad weather, and … well, you get the picture, and it isn’t pretty.


It would be nice if it all ended with the new year, but of course, it doesn’t. Stress never stops, especially at work. There’s always another deadline to meet, presentation to make, quota to deliver. But stress can be handled. Here are some ideas on doing so from BLR’s Booklet PowerPoint® training program, Managing Stress On & Off the Job.


–Realize that Stress Can be Both Bad and Good. As a natural body reaction to pressure situations, stress can do both good and harm. The extra energy it provides can enable workers to go the extra mile, lift the extra load, or problem-solve with inspiration. But if not properly managed, the same natural reaction can cause both physical and psychological problems for the individual, as well as decreased performance for the company. With stress, the key is how you manage it.


–Recognize Signs of Stress. Short-term symptoms include excess perspiration, upset stomach, and a pounding heartbeat. Long term, stress can leave high blood pressure, ulcers, and heart disease in its wake.


–Learn Ways to Manage Stress. The methods use commonsense, but the results are real. The old saw of “count to 10” actually does work, as does deep breathing, a glass of water, or a quick break from the job. Longer term, the Rx is the same as for healthy living in general– good food, undisturbed sleep, exercise, a balanced life.


That last point, maintaining a balanced life, has its own set of drivers. One is the ability to separate your business and at-home personas, and to forget the problems of the job while you’re attempting to assemble that new gift bicycle. Another is the willingness to set limits and boundaries for what you are willing to do to satisfy others in either arena. These are skills well-worth learning, as health and happiness are the stakes in the game.


They all can be taught, too, with a good stress management education program. BLR’s Managing Stress On & Off the Job is such a program.


Its concise, well-written slides, and 20 accompanying full-color booklets (more can be ordered) will give your workers the tools to put stress to good use and limit its damaging effects, all for a price of under $100. That’s why it’s an HR Daily Advisor-recommended product. Choose to use the program with your employees this holiday season, and you may very well be giving them a gift that will last for many new years.



For more information or to order Managing Stress on and off the Job, click here.