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leading business psychologist warns of impact on mental health from the combined stress of Christmas and working from home

Leading Business Psychologist, Dannielle Haig, coaches some of the principal business minds in the UK and has seen first-hand the impact the pandemic has had on our working life and more importantly our mental health. For many of us Christmas is going to be a welcome break from what has undoubtedly been a tough year, but the build-up and planning can add a huge amount of additional stress.

The pressures to choose the perfect gift, finding time to entertain the children, visiting relatives, preparing and ordering the food for endless meals, wrapping up work and meeting deadlines can all take its toll. Due to the impact of the pandemic many will also have financial and even health concerns. On top of all this we have tier confusion, social segregation and separation to add into the mix.

Holiday season traditionally means a lot of social interactions especially with work colleagues and without the festive drinks and daily workplace interactions many employees will feel an increased sense of loneliness this year.

Below are some tips from Dannielle to help us all to make the most of the festive period this year:

Keep your routines: Routines and rituals help hugely with improving mental health; keeping consistent patterns can give our days and weeks purpose. They help to give us a sense of control when we otherwise feel helpless. Start with a simple morning and evening routine and then keep adding, perhaps a set lunchtime and a walk, an hour of reading in the evening etc.

Purchase pressure: Don’t give in to the pressure to purchase. I think we’ve all realised this year that it’s not things that make us happy and even though it has been a difficult year there’s no need to overcompensate with presents and cause financial stress for yourself. No one who cares for you will want you overspending.

Connections: Remember to reach out to one another. With the Tier system in place, it might be difficult to see loved ones over Christmas, which I know can be upsetting. Make sure you keep regular scheduled contact with loved ones; even a phone call or Zoom can lift your spirits and keep your connectivity fuelled.

Charity: This definitely starts at home however, helping others is a great way to lift yours spirits and help remind us of the importance of kindness which is easy to forget during uncertain times. Perhaps giving a few hours a week to talk on the phone, help the homeless or even someone who is lonely and isolated.

Have fun: It has been a tough year so try to embrace the festive season, even with all the restrictions in place, and enjoy time off work. Try and be grateful for all that you have instead of focussing on what you lack. Appreciate all that is good in your life and be thankful.

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