As fun, festive and exciting as the holidays can be, they can also bring with them a great deal of stress. While this season is a favorite part of the year for many, holiday stress among employees and businesses is very real.

First of all, it’s a major vacation season, and while a vacation itself isn’t stressful, planning for it often is. Schedules are tight, finances are usually tight (if you’re into gift-giving, that is), and everyone’s struggling to get all tasks completed before taking off. So, what can you do to try and help alleviate some of that stress so that your employees don’t burn out?

Here are 5 simple ways to address it:

  1. Encourage Employees to Complete Tasks Early

    That’s not to say we should be pressuring them even more, which would most definitely increase stress levels, but help make sure it’s possible to get everything done before vacation time so that no one is thinking of work while enjoying time with family. Basically, lend a hand!

  2. Laughter Helps Relieve Stress

    Sure, this sounds like a silly point, considering we’re talking about a serious subject. But try to have fun in the office and lighten the mood. Bring in donuts or take the office out to lunch. Promote friendly banter and jokes to take the edge off.

  3. Set Realistic Deadlines and Goals

    Much of what contributes to holiday stress among employees are deadlines that fall either during vacations or just after employees are returning to the office. Be mindful of this when setting deadlines and goals. Aim for project-finish dates to fall before vacations, or a few days after everyone’s return.

  4. Get Moving

    A universal stress reducer is exercise. Whether you’re the employee or the boss in this scenario, exercise will benefit you. If you decide to walk your group to a coffee shop for afternoon coffee, or perhaps take a day to get them out of the office to volunteer or help with a cause, the added exercise and change of pace will work to reduce stress levels for everyone.

  5. Don’t Mind that Short Fuse

    Remember that people are stressed, and that stress most likely isn’t caused by you. If someone gets snappy or makes a mistake here or there, it’s probably holiday stress taking effect. Encourage breaks in these scenarios and don’t take anything too personally.

As holiday stress among employees is on the rise, work with them to try and bring it back down. Not only will they be grateful, but it will make everyone’s work experience (including yours) more enjoyable. This is a season for celebration and happiness, after all!