If you are experiencing stress at the very time you are expecting joy, you aren't alone.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reports that:
40% of workers report their job is "very or extremely stressful".
26% of workers report they are "often or very often burned out or stressed" by their work.
29% of workers report they feel "quite a bit or extremely stressed at work".
Stress Levels Rise During the Holidays
Why do stress levels rise?
The statistics show that 40% are alreadystressed out before the holidays arrive. In a poll of 600 full-time employees, Accenture’s HR Services found that
66% of the respondents reported additional stress at work during the
face it. During the holidays you're faced with gift-buying in the midst
of an already-stretched financial life; trying to shop while meeting
job deadlines and other responsibilities; and thinking about the family
dynamics that get played out each year.
I think there's one more big reason as well:
some reason, year after year, we cling to the hope of a perfect
holiday, a perfectly loving family, and the perfect balance of work and
life during the season. We're surrounded by images of happy families,
ads that tell us how much we should be giving, and that joy will reign.
the reality is that work and its deadlines remain (and are often
shortened due to the holiday schedule); families continue to be
families with all of their inherent challenges; our bank accounts don't
allow us to give our spouses new cars or diamonds; and the gap between
what we're told to expect and what is actually happening drains the joy from our hearts.
What Can You Do?
1. Know that your family and friends don't care if everything is perfect. What they want is a relaxed atmosphere, according to the Harvard Medical School.
2. Money --and therefore, gifts--don't buy happiness. Yeah, I know you've heard that before. Different studies suggest that, although poverty and low pay can cause
unhappiness, once a certain level of compensation is reached, there is
not a “significant relationship between how much money a person earns
and whether he or she feels good about life” (Easterbrook 2005).
3. Supportive family and friends, on the other hand, appear to be crucial.
This comes from Drs. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania
and his colleague Martin Diener at the University of Illinois. Both are
heavily involved in the study of happiness.. When Seligman and Diener
studied a group of students, they found that
the happier ones tended to socialize more. “It is important to work on.
. .close interpersonal ties and social support in order to
be happy,” says Diener. It's all about relationships.
1. Provide employees with a more flexible schedule to accommodate added demands outside the office. The Accenture study found that 54% of the surveyed workers said that
flexible hours during the holidays would help reduce workplace
stress. Twenty-six percent said they would like to telecommute once in a while until
the seasonal rush is finished.
2. How about a shopping day? Some employers provide one day between
Thanksgiving and Christmas to give people a chance to do just that. And
they say it reduces angst and is appreciated by the employees.
3. Provide an online shopping catalog and allow online
shopping. Plenty of companies offer hard-copy versions produced by
firms who specialize in such programs. Why not do it online and save
A Final Thought
Dr. Seligman, arguably the premier researcher and proponent of the
psychology of happiness, says that happiness has three essential
First: the ability to savor life’s pleasures.
Second: there’s a true engagement with one’s work, avocations, and loved
Third: the sense that one is serving a larger
purpose beyond one’s self (“Reflective,” 2005; Wallis 2005).
I think it's the third that we need to attend to.
Whenever we focus on something greater than ourselves--especially
the well-being of others--our sense of satisfaction and peace grows
So give yourself this year. Your stress and anxiety
will begin to melt away. And for once, the people around you will
actually get what they want.