Thriving at work through the festive season?

The festive season can be challenging for many of us. Work deadlines, social commitments, and the pressure to prepare for the perfect Christmas can all contribute to elevated levels of stress, and in some cases, burn out. If you’re a leader, the pressure can be even greater. Not only are you responsible for your own wellbeing, but you’re also looking out for your team.  

So, how can you care for yourself and your team well in this season? Not just to survive, but to thrive?  

We believe the key is practising genuine care.  

A look at the data 

Our Compassionate Workplace Cultures diagnostic looks at whether there is a connection between an organisation’s senior leaders and how the employees feel about the culture. More specifically, how compassionate the culture really is. 

The diagnostic looks at this question in the context of three areas:  

  • Self – how well do you find, celebrate, and live the treasure that is in you? 
  • Others – how well do you bring out the best in others? 
  • Collectives – how well do we collaborate with others to build effective, purposeful teams? 

The responses submitted so far have provided some important insights. It has become clear that the score against self affects an individual’s ability to score high or low in the other two areas. If a person’s ability to care for themself is low, for example, they will be less able to collaborate effectively and bring the best out of their colleagues. This can cause a negative ripple effect across the organisation as a whole. 

The ability to practise genuine care is key to enabling each individual and those around them to thrive and grow during the festive season.  

What do we mean by genuine care? 

Why self-care at work is vital for employees 

Regardless of your role in the organisation, it’s never selfish to care for yourself. Practising genuine self-care protects you from illness and burn out, boosts your resilience, and means you can serve your team and organisation more effectively. Research shows that the better an employee looks after themselves, the greater their impact at work.  

Why self-care is important for leaders 

As a leader, how you care for yourself can have a direct impact on your team. A healthy level of self-care will positively impact your physical and mental health, enabling you to communicate well, make good decisions and create a positive environment in which to work. The reverse is also true. When you bring an unhealthy level of care (and increased stress) with you to work, this will influence your team.  

As an effective leader, you also have an opportunity to serve those you lead by modelling healthy behaviours. If those you lead see you prioritising your wellbeing, and the impact of this on you and your work, you will encourage them to do the same. The way you act as a leader lends value to these healthy behaviours. On the other hand, it’s also possible to model unhealthy behaviours, and even unintentionally, they could have the opposite effect. 

If you’re a leader in your workplace, consider whether you have a desire to care for yourself. Have you ever thought that instead of something that’s nice to have or even selfish, it’s a vital part of good leadership? 

Genuine care for yourself and those around you is vital to thrive, especially during the festive season.  

What could it look like? Here are a few practical tips. 

Ways you can care for yourself over the festive period 

  1. Show kindness to yourself. Choose two things that nourish and energise you and make them a regular habit. For example, walking, listening to music, or having coffee with a friend. 
  1. Give yourself opportunities to reflect and process on the events of the day. For example, during your drive home, a walk at lunchtime, taking time out to chat with colleagues, or short breaks throughout the day.  
  1. Take a step back to consider your deadlines. Which ones are important and/or urgent and which ones are self-imposed? Are they realistic? Talk to your manager to ask for help with this if you need to. This will help you to work out what you need to say yes to and what should be a no.  

Ways to help your team thrive during the festive season 

  1. Have a conversation with your team members about their workloads and deadlines. Do they need help to manage client expectations and needs? Encourage breaks and time off where possible. 
  1. Remind yourself that everyone in your team is unique. Each person’s life stage, family situation and background are all different, and this may impact them in different ways around the Christmas season. Find out what’s important to each person and be as flexible as you can to accommodate their needs.  
  1. Show gratitude to those around you. Small, simple acts of kindness help others feel seen and valued, and can make a real difference, especially during a busy time of year.  

Practising genuine care for yourself and for those around you is key to thriving during the festive season as beyond. Which of these tips can you try today? We’d love to hear the impact it has on you and those you work with. 

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