Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Holidays Necessitate Careful Eye to Ward off Stress

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Holidays Necessitate Careful Eye to Ward off Stress

Article excerpt

With the holidays upon us, the topic of stress inevitably needs to be addressed. The two-month period surrounding the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays is, in fact, the most stressful time of the year in our society. This is the time when depression strikes hardest and most often; when the incidence of psychosis peaks; when people who usually operate on the brink are apt to slip over the edge. We see this holiday stress trend in the culture around us every year. It would be a mistake to assume the workplace is an exception.

A number of studies have linked high levels of employee stress to increased injury rates. A troubled worker, too preoccupied with problems to give safety procedures adequate attention, is a potential accident. The same type of inattention often leads to increased error rates, as well.

Interpersonal skills suffer when people have expectations of seasonal joy and good will, only to experience the harsh reality of depression, loneliness or financial woes. Mounting burdens at home lead to less tolerance at work.

Violence in the workplace _ now the most common cause of death on the job _ is more likely to occur when stress levels are high. Although we never want to believe our own facility is vulnerable, statistics show that no company is immune. Without some preventive work and some smart management choices, employers can expect quality, safety and working relationships to suffer during the holiday season.

If employers are fully aware of the realities of holiday stress, they can take several steps to ward off disaster.

The first thing to remember is that, because of the season, people are already drawing on their emotional reserves in order to function normally. Demands of family life are more intense now than usual. Budgets are typically stretched to the limit. Adaptive skills and coping tools are already being stringently tested. …

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