Wellbeing | How to use the Christmas break to TRULY unwind
2020 has undoubtedly been an extremely stressful year for all professionals. According to the latest data released in the Government’s Labour Force Survey, over 828,000 UK workers are currently suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. That equates to a massive 17.9million working days lost due to stress this year alone.
What’s more, these numbers represent a steep increase in cases of stress and depression; the largest increase since the report was first undertaken in 2001. And whilst poor health due to the coronavirus crisis has contributed to overall absence, stress, depression or anxiety actually accounted for 51% of all work-related ill-health cases and 55% of all working days lost due to work-related ill health.
It’s obvious that workers are feeling both physically and mentally fatigued by this challenging year, which makes taking time away from work to unwind and de-stress absolutely essential. So, how can workers ensure that they’re properly utilising the time they’ve been given off around the festive period?
Remain as social as possible
Whilst exhaustion usually couples with a will not to exert energy on social situations, Dr Katherine May, a Workplace Psychologist, recently told Fast Company that socialising is very a very healthy process that helps people unwind.
“Even though everyone is wintering at the moment, we can feel isolated because we’re doing it individually and more cut off than before,” May noted. “We’re not used to a crisis where we can’t see each other, reach out and hug people, or solve the problem by going out for a cup of coffee together.”
This, she said, is because it’s important to remember that the stress and anxiety of the pandemic is a shared experience and that it can be therapeutic to discuss this mindfully.
Embrace the season
The long, dark winter can be a serious test of endurance, with short days and cold weather making mental health worse. Despite this, May noted that celebrating the milestones and embracing festivities can be a cathartic and rejuvenating experience.
“Christmas is almost exactly in the middle of winter, which means that in celebrating this festive time with friends and loved ones, you’re also halfway out of the darkness. It’s beneficial to be able to distract yourself with merriment and focus on the positives of winter, rather than the negatives,” she said.
We tend to think of rest as lying dormant, sleeping and not leaving the house, but rest is simply the process of recharging, which is different for everyone. Instead of striving to fulfil a generic concept of resting, ensure that you’re doing whatever you truly feel helps you to recover. This could mean long walks, it could mean sitting in front of the telly or even undertaking something as strenuous as home improvements.
May noted that mental rest requires clarity that only comes when we’re doing something that makes us happy. “We need to take time to process the upsets we have in our life as well as the good things. Being productive is not where our worth lies. Make space for making space,” she concluded.
Source: Executive Grapevine