Reduce 2020 holiday stress with these top corporate wellness tips

This winter holiday is different. At this time of year, we’re accustomed to turning on our out-of-office autoresponders to embrace the hustle and bustle that comes with the holiday season. It’s a time of celebration where families traditionally come together, be it in Hong Kong or overseas. A time for resting, recharging and renewing before we return to work.

Instead, the festive frenzy has been replaced with fear and sadness amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And, many of our clients are feeling uncertainty as they come to terms with social distancing regulations, travel bans, separation from loved ones, and a loss of routine and rituals.

We’ve supported a significant number of professionals during the coronavirus crisis, both at our clinic and in organisations. Our clients recognise there are ways to cut stress in purposeful and meaningful ways. Drawing on our conversations and observations, here are our top corporate wellness tips to restore some peace, joy and rest during the festive season.

Stress. This is a season of giving, but don’t try give so much of yourself that you exhaust your inner resources. Learn to say no, schedule downtime to rest and recharge, and give yourself the space to enjoy the things you love. A group of herbs called ‘adaptogens’ can also help to alleviate stress. Our personal favourite? Sereni-Pro – a powerhouse of stressbusting adaptogens including Ashwaghanda and Lavender.

Mental Health. Stress and anxiety are all on the rise this year. Throughout the day, deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to relax. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is also another great stressbuster that can be done at your desk or on the go. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to seek help. You can connect with our mental health practitioners here for confidential, personalised support.

Sleep. Insomnia is a common condition amongst professionals in Hong Kong and that was before the coronavirus! Work and family stress, loneliness, excess screen time, limited movement and more can all wreak havoc with your sleep. The importance of sleep cannot be underestimated both to reduce anxiety and boost immunity. Don’t burn the candle at both ends by staying up late and getting up early. A dark, cool, and screen-free room will help you achieve the recommended 7 hours of quality sleep at night. If possible, take a nap during the day, too.

Movement at work. Sadly, many Hong Kongers are paying the price for the lack of physical mobility that has come with the pandemic. Whether you’re working from home or at the office, regular movement has become even more challenging. Try to identify elements of the workspace that keep you active and use them regularly. For example, stand while you talk on the phone and incorporate desk exercises ‘deskersizes’ and stretching into your day. As much as possible, prevent eyestrain, consider equipment positioning and correct mouse handling, proper sitting, standing and lifting. As often as you can, take a short, brisk walk outside. Not only will this help improve your mental and physical wellbeing, but you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D (a proven immunity booster against COVID-19) when exposed to sunlight for just 10 minutes.

Mindfulness. This year, the lines are blurred and our nerves are being tested more than ever. Keeping up with work-from-home obligations or managing a home full of children who are accustomed to learning at school can pose real problems. Square breathing technique is an excellent tool to help soothe your nerves, find your centre and be present to your needs and those of others too. And, when you are available to others, be truly available. Genuine connection and communication are key to mental wellbeing.

A healthy diet. We could all do with a little comfort food at times, but the truth is comfort food isn’t always comfortable. In fact, it can make you feel downright miserable. Of course, it’s not easy to stick to a healthy diet over Christmas. As much as possible, opt for nutritious food like vegetables and healthy proteins to boost your immunity and mental wellbeing. Drink a glass of water with 1 or 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before your meal to stimulate your digestive system, and take Liver Support: our practitioner-recommended supplement to remove toxins from the body. Probiotics can help ease bloating and constipation caused by overindulging too.

A healthy gut for a healthy brain. The sugar content in alcohol can trigger anxiety and stress levels, and cause brain fog and fatigue. Stick to low-sugar spirits like tequila, scotch and vodka with non-sugary mixers like soda water and lemon or lime. Steer clear of beer and mixed drinks like margaritas and pina coladas. Plus, a little fructose from fruit helps to speed up alcohol detoxification, so eating grapes or melon late at night may help you to wake up feeling fresher.

Detox. When 2021 rolls around, give your body a week or two to reboot. With the indulgent season behind us, cut out sugar, white food, fried food, and go easy on the proteins. Instead, up your intake of vegetables, whole grains, and water.

Superheroes. We understand perfection is important to you, but try to make peace with the fact that not everything will go to plan in the days ahead. Surrender to the fact that you simply can’t control everything. Because if there’s one thing you can be certain of amid all this uncertainty: ‘good enough’ is ‘more than good enough’.

We hope these stress-busting strategies go a long way to help you make the most of the days ahead. Please share them with your colleagues, because wellness is the best gift, now and always.

Want to equip your employees with the tools and techniques to thrive at work and in life, check out our corporate wellness workshops here.

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