While the end of year holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Solstice, Kwanzaa, and New Year are joyous times to celebrate with friends and family, they can also create added stress to our already stressful routines. Since the last two years have been full of stress about the ups and downs with COVID-19, many of us are struggling this holiday season.

This stress can spill over into our daily lives and our workplace. And work can be stressful on its own, without any extra input from the pandemic. It’s important to pay attention to our mental health during the holidays in 2021, so we can enjoy them. This is doubly true for small business owners and employees who are balancing normal work life, added holiday stress, and the effects of the pandemic on their businesses. So, if you feel that any of these stress inducers are affecting you this year, here are some strategies for managing stress in the workplace (and at home) during holiday season 2021.

How to Destress and Reduce Anxiety at Work

Let’s start off with acknowledging that workplace stress is part of every day at work, and for many people, the pandemic has made it much worse. If we aren’t worried about catching or spreading COVID, then we are worried about pandemic-related issues like supply chain problems, keeping employees healthy, and dealing with the changes in how customers are shopping this year. Many businesses have adapted to the pandemic by offering new pickup and delivery services that they didn’t have in 2020. And the cyclical nature of the pandemic means another variant could still cause problems in the future. So, let’s just stop what we’re doing for a minute and take a deep breath, and talk about which stress management techniques will help you and your staff this year.

Holiday Stress 2021

The last two years have been a rollercoaster, and we aren’t all the way to the end. Holiday ecommerce trends add stress every year because shoppers change their behavior during the holidays. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas rev up the pace of shoppers’ buying and the number of items they buy. The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that:

The third quarter 2021 ecommerce estimate increased 6.6 percent (±0.9%) from the third quarter of 2020 while total retail sales increased 13.1 percent (±0.7%) in the same period. Ecommerce sales in the third quarter of 2021 accounted for 13.0 percent of total sales.

Ecommerce holiday planning is wise, which must include alternative plans if things go wrong. Having a plan in place will go a long way towards easing holiday workplace stress and employee interactions with customers.

Taking the Time to Manage Stress

It will save you a lot of headaches if you learn how to de-stress at work. That includes work you do at home, like prepping your kitchen for holiday gatherings and hanging up decorations. If you feel as if a work issue gets your dander up, try one of these stress management tips.

Tips to Destress

While Sitting at Your Desk

These tips can be done at your desk to help relieve immediate stress.

  • Ear massage: Massaging your ear in the middle of the upper third of your ear is proven to reduce stress and boost energy.
  • Reset your workplace: Take a few minutes to clean up clutter and throw away trash.
  • Clean up your digital desktop: Declutter your digital workspace to streamline your online life.
  • Relax and breathe: Use two minutes to relax and adjust your breathing.
  • Hand massage: Use this technique to relieve hand aches from typing.
  • If you want to give your hands themselves a break (sore wrists from constant typing are real), pay attention to your thumbs.
    • Start by lightly pinching the muscle between your thumb and index finger and massaging in small circles. Remember to keep it firm yet gentle, to relax the muscles. You’ll feel your hands, shoulders, and neck start to relax, and, in no time, you’ll be ready to start working again.

While Interacting with People

Use these tips when talking with other people at work and home.

  • Practice mindfulness: Use this “stress-reducing technique that encourages you to focus on your present state, without judgment or feeling overwhelmed.”
  • Respond with Kindness: Remember that people, in general, are very stressed during the holidays.
  • Learn to say “no”: Prioritize your time, and delegate what you don’t have time for this year.
  • Choose your tools wisely: Invest in software that automates your work processes.

While Working Alone

These tips work best when you’re by yourself.

  • Focus on what really matters: Take a moment and focus on what is important to you this year.
  • Identify your stressors: Take a step back to “pinpoint the areas that are causing you stress and how best to tackle them.”
  • Create backup plans: Create backup plans like holiday shipping insurance to use when things go wrong.
  • Take control of your schedule: Create a schedule that works for you.
  • Prioritize self-care: Leverage any non-work activity that reduces stress for you.
  • Prioritize exercise: Exercise releases endorphins and helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Recognize what’s going well: “It’s just as important to recognize what’s going well (if not more so) as it is to recognize where things aren’t going so well.”

Apps You Can Download to Help Reduce Stress

According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), 38% of people say their stress level increases during the holidays.” You can avoid these holiday stress statistics by downloading one of these apps you can use to reduce holiday stress in 2021.

Each app has a link for Apple or Android devices. While some are for sounds to help you relax and meditate or sleep, we’ve added apps that are for yoga, coloring, and a game to help reduce stress.

  1. Calm: Meditation and Sleep Stories – Apple or Android
  2. Relax Melodies – Sleep Sounds: Close your eyes and listen – Apple or Android
  3. Yoga Daily Yoga for Everyone: Apple or Android
  4. Monument Valley 2: Apple or Android
  5. Thisissand: Apple or Android
  6. Headspace – Mindful Meditation: Apple or Android

Use These Strategies for Managing Stress in the Workplace

Coping with extra workplace stress during the holiday season isn’t always easy, but with a little help from these stress management techniques, you will enjoy holiday season 2021. If we can help ease your stress in any way, please contact us.