Dealing with holiday stress at work

  • Published
  • By Brian Meverden, AEDC Safety Office
Everyone is familiar with the tension that the holidays can cause at home, but the workplace can be similarly frantic and filled with anxiety during the season. Having the added pressures of holiday-shortened deadlines, end-of-year demands, and similarly stressed customers, to name a few.

With the added pressure comes the increased risk of having a mishap. Here are some tips to help reduce some of the workplace pressure.

Maintain your perspective

Set yourself realistic goals and do what you can actually get accomplished. Do you need to coordinate with other offices? If so, their holiday schedules may conflict with yours and accomplishing the task earlier may avoid any potential problems.

Break up big projects into smaller ones and determine the order for getting things accomplished. Avoid multi-tasking in this instance because it could end up costing you more time and prevent you from getting things accomplished.

Keep your calendar updated with both your work and personal schedule so you can avoid conflicts. 

Leave it at home or work

You've heard don't take your work home, but leave the holiday stress at home too. You're likely not the only one in the workplace feeling overwhelmed at home with obligations and family tension. Try to keep the office as stress free as possible for everyone and have fun.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying your time at work and making the effort to help co-workers adjust to a more stress-free office.


It's easy to cut exercise out when you need more time for work, errands or some other task. Exercise naturally reduces stress, improves your mood and gives you some time to yourself to clear your head. If you just can't find the time, at least do something physical every day, even if it's dancing in the office to lighten the mood for a moment. Do what you enjoy.


Avoiding a few hours of sleep to get things done doesn't seem like much, but it adds up taking a toll on your body. When you don't get enough sleep you're not as productive and you can become grumpy which can increase your stress level. Exercise, as previously mentioned, can improve your sleep which is often disrupted by stress and anxiety. 

Ask for help

Many of us don't normally ask for help. We prefer to handle our normal work load, juggle the personal life and just make things happen. With the holidays you lose workdays and the availability of resources. Add the end-of-year tasks, customer needs, 4 o'clock emergencies and your normal duties at work and you have cooked up a recipe for task saturation! Ask for help!

If you're not busy, offer to help someone else. Reduce the stress in the office and help yourself and others gain control of the stress in life.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We look forward to seeing every one of you in 2015!