Balancing Acts: Cultivating Mental Wellness for Those in Helping Professions During the Holiday Season
As the holiday season approaches, people working at charities, non-profits, social or human service organizations and in helping professions find themselves navigating a unique set of challenges. It can be a time of year that shines a light on the stark contrast of quality of life between people of different backgrounds, circumstances, financial means, and physical and mental health. While the spirit of giving and helping others is at the core of their work, the demands of the season can take a toll on mental well-being. In order to combat the negative impacts to helpers during the holiday season, it’s important to explore the specific stressors faced by those in helping professions during the holidays and provide tailored strategies to promote mental health and balance.
Recognize the Weight of the Season
The holiday season often brings an increased demand for services, fundraisers, and community engagement. Acknowledge the added pressure and recognize that it’s okay to prioritize your mental health amid the heightened responsibilities. This doesn’t mean you have failed your clients or are falling short of your commitments and dedication the people you serve.
Set Realistic Expectations for Your Organization
Just as individuals set personal expectations, organizations can also benefit from realistic planning. Communicate openly about workload expectations during the holiday season, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Focusing on achievable goals will help alleviate unnecessary stress and promote mental wellness among your staff and volunteers.
Encourage Collective Self-Care
In helping professions, a culture of empathy often prevails, but it’s crucial to extend that empathy to yourself and your colleagues. Encourage and model collective self-care within your organization. Consider organizing wellness activities, such as group walks or mindfulness sessions, to foster a supportive environment.
Create Boundaries for Your Team
Helping professionals are often passionate about their work, but it’s essential to establish clear boundaries to prevent burnout. Encourage your team to take breaks, utilize time-off policies, and avoid overextending themselves. A well-rested and balanced team is more effective in fulfilling its mission.
Foster Connection within Your Organization
The holiday season is an excellent time to strengthen the bonds within your team. Organize events or activities that promote camaraderie and connection. Feeling supported by colleagues can significantly impact one’s mental well-being, especially during busy times.
Integrate Mindfulness into the Workplace
Incorporate mindfulness practices into the workplace to help manage stress. Whether it’s a brief meditation session before meetings or creating a designated quiet space for reflection, mindfulness can enhance focus and resilience, allowing individuals to better navigate the demands of the season.
Celebrate Achievements and Impact
Reflect on the positive impact your organization has had throughout the year. Celebrate the achievements, no matter how small, and remind your team of the meaningful difference they’ve made. Focusing on the positive aspects of the work can contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfillment. And it will help energize your team as they move into the new year ahead.
If you work in a helping profession, the holiday season presents both challenges and opportunities for connection and impact. By recognizing the stressors, setting realistic expectations, promoting and encouraging self-care, establishing boundaries, fostering connection, integrating mindfulness, and celebrating achievements, individuals and organizations can navigate the season with resilience and maintain their commitment to making a positive difference in the world. Remember, taking care of yourselves enables you to better care for others.