The holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many, but they can be quite a stressful time too. For some, the end of the year can bring a multitude of stressors: deadlines, tight budgets, time-consuming travel, personal and familial obligations, and of course, financial stress.
For those who struggle with mental health conditions year round, and even those who don’t, this time of year can take a toll on their ability to cope. For employers this can translate into productivity losses through absenteeism and presenteeism as employees struggle to balance their personal and professional lives. These difficulties have a ripple effect across the organization as unplanned absences and workplace distractions place more demands on employees who may not otherwise be struggling.
While this dynamic is not just a seasonal phenomenon, the holidays are an opportune time for employers to show their employees they matter in a meaningful way. By providing your employees the mental and emotional support they need, you’re giving them the enduring gift of perseverance.
Mental health takes a toll during the holidays
The holiday season brings a unique set of additional demands on top of people’s already stressful day-to-day lives. A study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 64% of those with a diagnosed mental health condition reported their symptoms worsening amid the holidays.
According to a survey from the American Psychological Association (APA), 44% of women and 31% of men reported increased stress around the holidays. In addition, one study found that sleep is greatly impacted during holidays, with people getting less sleep than usual, which is associated with adverse health impacts.
On top of the exacerbation of common mental health conditions such as insomnia or anxiety, the changing of seasons also tends to cause an uptick of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that can lead to major changes in mood and behavior, most often in the colder months.
So with all of the added challenges to their coping skills during this time of year, how can employees prioritize their mental health? And how can you as an employer support them? Keep reading for tips from our experts.
Tips for managing stress and prioritizing sleep
It’s no wonder that people tend to struggle both physically and emotionally during the holidays. However, with some practical tips from our world-leading experts, you can help employees (and maybe even yourself) minimize stress and show up with their whole selves.
- First, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings. The holidays are hard, and it’s nearly impossible to juggle everything all at once for months on end without having a bad day or a few. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
- Set realistic expectations. You may feel like you need to do everything for everyone during this time of year –– but remember there’s only so much one person can do. As families grow and evolve, traditions and expectations can too, and there’s nothing wrong with scaling back if you need to.
- Reach out for support. This could look like asking a family member or friend to help cook dinner or coordinate a get together, or seeking professional help when needed if you’re struggling emotionally. It’s important to have grace with ourselves and with others.
- Stick to a budget. Financial stress tends to rise during the holidays due to gift giving traditions, travel, and an increased number of gatherings with family and friends. It’s important to plan ahead and establish a budget that works for you going into the holiday season, so you can enjoy quality time without constantly worrying over finances.
- Stay consistent with healthy habits. Sticking to a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep each night is crucial to help maintain good mental health, especially amid the holidays. Poor sleep has a profound impact on our mental health, so it’s important to take the time to ensure you are rested.
How to support your workforce
As an employer, you’re likely looking for a meaningful way to show support for your employees this holiday season –– one that delivers value across the organization. That’s where Sleepio® for insomnia and Daylight® for anxiety can help. Sleepio and Daylight are prescription-grade digital treatments that teach people techniques that help resolve the underlying causes of these conditions.
Sleepio and Daylight are convenient digital solutions that employees can access on their smartphones or computers any time that works for them. Treatment is delivered through interactive, web-based modules that retrain the brain through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques, the gold standard treatment in psychotherapy. Sleepio has also been shown to help individuals with insomnia reduce concurrent depression symptoms. At Big Health we design our products to be used at any time during an employee’s care journey from pre-diagnosis to post-diagnosis, pairing with other treatments for maximum clinical benefit.
Employees do so much throughout the year to support the needs of your company. This holiday season, think about ways you can support them too.
Get real-time feedback on your current benefits offerings and suggested improvements you can make to ensure you are adequately supporting your employees this holiday season with our interactive tool.
Sleepio and Daylight are available as an adjunct to usual medical care for insomnia disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, respectively, for adults ages 18 and older, without FDA review under their COVID-19 policy.
DOC-2113 Effective 11/2022
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anxiety, daylight, Digital medicine, Mental health, Sleep, SleepioShare article