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Supporting mental fitness #8 – is it the season to be jolly?

Posted on: December 8th, 2020 by Ginny Hallam

With Christmas parties cancelled, tier restrictions remaining in place, individuals self-isolating and many just feeling like they can’t go home during the Christmas break (despite the government’s permission to do so) – colleagues may find themselves alone over the holiday period and struggling with their mental fitness.

We explore the practical steps you can take to best support colleagues during the holiday period.

Mental fitness calendar – being alone and without the usual work routine can make taking time off from work feel unsettling and create imbalance leading to challenges on mental fitness. Think about pulling together a suggested calendar of events and actions to invest in so that the holiday period feels less daunting and supports with a sense of achievement each day.

You could include remote get-togethers, a reading or podcast list that you might be able put to use post-Christmas, charitable activities and creating a team social plan for the year ahead.

Making time – whilst it might not be possible to have the usual Christmas get-together this year, it’s still important to make time to connect and catch up with colleagues – especially those who might be alone for most of the Christmas break.

Whether it’s arranging a virtual Christmas party, sending care packages or keeping a team social group going over the holidays, there are lots of ways to care personally and keep the festive spirit. Encourage managers to have a video call or chat with colleagues you know may be struggling over the Christmas break. Diary ahead to ensure an intrusive approach is avoided.

Tool up managers – knowing how to identify mental health challenges and how to approach discussions about mental wellbeing can sometimes feel difficult with many worried about saying the wrong thing. Give managers the tools to spot the early warning signs when a colleague is struggling and practical guidance of how to create the right setting and agenda scripts to help with conversations. To access our toolkit of practical mental health documents, click here.

Signpost support – it’s important to promote and signpost support options available to colleagues and how to access them during the Christmas break. This could be internal mental health first aiders and mental health champions who have volunteered to be available during the festive period, employee assistance programmes or even signposting to charitable organisations.

Mental health webinar

For further suggestions and information about how you can best support mental fitness at work, click here to access our free mental health webinar recording.

Mental health toolkit

Promoting employee well-being and mental health creates a more engaged workforce, reduces sickness absence and drives performance. We’ve created a user-friendly toolkit providing you and your managers with the knowledge, skills and tools to support your team’s mental health needs within the wider employment law context. Click here to find out more.


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (8 December 2020), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.