How To Help Your Employees Manage Anxiety And Stress This Winter

Winter has always been a time of great stress for many people, bringing financial burdens (needing to cover Christmas costs), family worries (handling relatives), and even a condition capable of sapping their energy and lowering their morale (seasonal affective disorder). When the days start to get significantly shorter, there’s cause for much of the population to be wary.

The coming winter, though, is going to take things to the next level. Dealing with the extensive consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic was tough enough during the summer when everyone was getting enough sunshine, after all. Combine the stress of living through lockdowns with the above factors, taking into account that viruses like this one inevitably spread faster during cold weather, and you have a recipe for despair.

If you’re running a business, then you already know how difficult it’s been to keep things running in the midst of this global nightmare, but you need to be aware that things are going to get even worse in the near future. Your employees are your greatest assets, after all, and you surely know that people struggling with anxiety will be unhappier and less productive (a significant uplift in mental health awareness has been one bright spot in recent years).

So what can you do about this? How can you help your employees deal with anxiety and stress during the winter, leading them to be more content and better able to fulfill their duties? In this post, we’re going to look at some core tips. Let’s get to them.

Fund treatment to help them feel better. Anxiety and stress are complicated issues, so there isn’t just one way to treat them. There are various options that can be viable here, but we’ll look at three in particular that are often used to help people during the winter time: light therapy, regular therapy, and medication.

Firstly, light therapy is something that can make a big difference during the winter, and it’s the easiest of these treatments to try. There are no side effects, there’s no ongoing investment required (if you discount the cost of the electricity, of course), and therapy lights are extremely easy to source. If one of your employees needs daylight to feel engaged, buy them a decent light panel and ask them to use it for a couple of hours each day. It should help.

Secondly, regular therapy gives people opportunities to talk about what’s bothering them, and it’s notable how often simply having an outlet to vent can markedly help someone with their mood. The big problem with therapy at the moment is that social distancing has prompted virtual appointments which have seen huge demand, so it might not be easy to find a suitable therapist for someone. Even so, it’s worth looking if they really need to talk about their problems.

Thirdly, medication is a powerful option, but it’s a big step, so anyone who thinks they might benefit from it should do some research first to confirm that they want it. It’s best to prioritize safety over impact, so pay attention to treatments like propranolol: a key theme in propranolol reviews is its lack of side effects, meaning that the worst realistic outcome is a lack of impact.

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Reassure them as much as you can. One of the biggest reasons why people are so anxious these days is that countries throughout the world are in recession and jobs are being lost on a daily basis. It’s really hard to look ahead with much hope at the moment. If someone loses their job (despite doing nothing wrong) because their employer can no longer afford to keep them, what are their options?

They can try self-employment, of course, but that isn’t for everyone, and it’s rapidly becoming a saturated field. Too many businesses is as much a problem as too few. They can try to find new jobs with similar companies, but everyone’s struggling and there are countless outstanding professionals on the market. Getting another job is far from guaranteed.

Accordingly, there’s a great chance that your employees — whether they openly acknowledge it or not — are worried about their jobs. And while you likely can’t assure them with absolute confidence that their jobs will be secure for years to come, you can tell them how valuable they are to you and make it abundantly clear that if you had reason to question their value then you’d give them ample opportunity to change your mind. That might help them relax somewhat.

Give them projects to occupy their thoughts. Since this is such a difficult time for everyone, surely you should take your foot off the accelerator and let people work at a more sedate pace… right? Well, not exactly. Though it’s true that being overly demanding can cause problems (dips in productivity due to stress are to be expected), it’s also true that people need distractions from all that’s wrong in the world.

To that end, one of the best things you can do is find meaningful work for your employees to do, even when you’re running low on regular high-priority work. Don’t allow them to lapse into feeling that they’re not getting anything useful done. Convince them that their work really matters to the business, and thank them when they deliver great results.

There can’t be many people around who aren’t feeling stressed at the moment, so there’s absolutely no shame in it, and you need to take action to help your employees with it however you can. Use the tips I’ve looked at here, listen carefully to their feedback, and be patient with them. It should get results.

Scott McDougall

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougall, MPharm, is co-founder and registered manager of The Independent Pharmacy in the UK.

Scott McDougall

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