The festive season is full of cheer and goodwill but can also bring a lot of pressure at both work and home.
The end of year rush can mean deadlines at work, while financial issues can also become apparent at home.
We asked this week’s Marketwatch panel how to manage our own wellbeing and health, as well as colleagues and employees at this time of year.
Rachael Dark, HR manager at Coreco
Mental health and wellbeing are important for employers to consider, especially at this time of year with the shorter days and additional stress of the holidays.
There are lots of things a small employer can do to assist their employees with their mental wellbeing.
Firstly, creating a safe place to talk about issues at work, this could be as simple as an open-door policy or talking openly about mental health in company meetings, one to ones etc.
In creating open communication, even if most people never take you up on it, an environment will be created where those who may struggle can ask for assistance.
Another simple tip is to make sure everyone is taking a break from their hectic work life.
This can be starting conversation around the water cooler or taking staff you are worried about for coffee.
These simple gestures can be as effective as yoga sessions or wellbeing workshops for some companies.
Finally, most importantly, is active listening.
Many employees, but not all, will show signs of stress.
Making sure you are looking out for these signs and regularly ‘checking in’ with all employees can nip problems in the bud and ensure you’re looking after your employees’ mental health and wellbeing in the work place and beyond.
Clare Jupp, people development director at Brightstar Financial
This time of year could potentially pose many threats to our health and wellbeing.
We are perhaps too busy (or cold) to exercise, too tied up in Yuletide cheer to manage and regulate our eating habits effectively, and perhaps not getting enough sleep to keep ourselves adequately recharged on a day-to-day basis.
However, health and wellbeing are important year-round and so here’s a few things to consider to keep things in check.
Whatever the weather, however busy we are, it is important for everyone to get fresh air and exercise.
This could involve activities such as gardening (if it’s your type of thing), a walk to the station or through the city or a lunchtime stroll to the shop.
Being outdoors helps to improve our daily emotions and research has even suggested that outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
Diet is likely to be affected this time of year with calorie intake inevitably increasing.
Excessive sugar and overload artificial additives can affect our mental health.
Alcohol intake needs to be balanced with plenty of water and perhaps alcohol-free days.
Sleep and stress levels could potentially be affected by too much socialising, bad weather, shopping and the arrival of in laws.
It is vital to take time out for oneself.
In the office, everyone can benefit from having a relaxation zone where phones, chat and television are banned.
Encourage colleagues to take a fresh-air break and encourage good hygiene habits in the office to spread the obvious spread of germs and bugs.
And encourage ill colleagues to stay away rather than ‘soldier on’ and infect the entire regiment.
Finally, smile, be merry and go home on time: maintaining good work life balance is essential for both good mental and physical health.
Sarah Hogan, director at KBA Financial
As the owner of a growing financial planning firm and mother of two young children, I know how the stresses of modern life can get on top of you – especially at this time of year.
When it comes to managing mental wellbeing, everyone is different and will have their own coping methods.
However, there are some simple solutions which I have found work well.
The first thing I would suggest is to try and be aware of the here and now.
If you’re too busy focusing on the future rather than the present, you might miss vital signs that someone in your team isn’t coping, and it could be too late to make changes.
The same goes for yourself.
You need to be selfish sometimes. Schedule time to go to the gym, for a spa, whatever works for you. Even just sitting with a coffee can help.
Whenever I feel things are getting too much, I go for a brisk walk, which gives me a boost.
Make a list if things are getting on top of you.
It may look overwhelming at first, but if you put things in priority order then tackle the most pressing issue first, you’ll feel a sense of relief and achievement.
Anything that doesn’t need doing before the year-end, leave it.
I always have the aspiration of getting through my to-do list before year end and it never happens.
This brings me onto not being too hard on yourself.
No one is more critical about you than you, so give yourself a break. You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.
Lastly, always speak to your manager or someone in the team if things aren’t quite right.
It’s not a failure to ask for help.