8 Tips to Help Your Employees Manage Stress This Holiday Season

Did you know that 30% of Canadians have a hard time paying their bills on time every month?1 Or that the top two factors of stress for Canadians are debt (66%) and savings (60%)?2 What about the health effects of that stress? With 30% of people reporting they experience physical health issues related to stress, 34% reporting increased absenteeism, and 60% reporting an inability to focus at work3, stress alone is costing businesses a lot in lost productivity.

With the holiday season upon us, the urge to be generous to family and friends can easily lead to overspending, leaving your employees worried, unhappy, and unable to make a positive impact in your business.

But you can help! Here are a few simple tips you can share with your employees to help them manage their money, and their stress, over the holiday season.

  1. Set a budget and stick to it
    Whether you’re hitting the mall or the “Add to cart” button, take some time to look at your finances first. Decide how much you can afford to spend and set a limit that you’ll stick to.
     
  2. Make a list. Check it twice
    Make a list of everything you need to purchase. That includes:
    • Each person you want to buy a gift for
    • Gift wrapping supplies
    • Postage and shipping
    • Supplies for entertaining or hosting guests
    • Gifts or items for events you plan to attend
    • Travel expenses
       
    Be sure you research and estimate each cost so you can stay within your budget. Bonus: if you already know what you’re looking for, you can keep an eye out for sales.
     
  3. It’s more than a gift
    People often forget about things like wrapping paper, tape, and cards. And that best friend who moved to Europe? Remember to account for postage on gifts you need shipped.

    Tip: online stores often let you send items to a different shipping address, with free shipping and a gift receipt.
     
  4. Go for the points
    If you collect reward points from a credit card or loyalty program like Air Miles, consider using them to purchase gifts and save the stress on your bank account.
     
  5. Hosting a holiday party?
    Consider sharing costs with your guests: ask them to contribute an item to the party (wine, dessert, appetizers, etc.).
     
  6. Hitting the road?
    If you are travelling to see family and friends, don’t forget to plan ahead for travel expenses. Flights, hotels, rental cars, gas and food should all be accounted for in your holiday budget.
     
  7. Always plan ahead
    January is a great time to start thinking ahead as you can easily track what you spent over the holidays. This will help you budget for next year.
     
  8. Start Saving!
    Did you know that if you put aside $26 every two weeks, you’d have $676 saved for your holiday spending? Up that to $70 every two weeks and you’d have $1,820 to cover travel, gifts and entertaining over the holidays.

    Tip: Do you have a cash back credit card? Try allocating the cash back portion to a separate account and use those dollars to fund your holiday spending.
     

Regardless of what your holiday plans include, remember that you have options to alleviate stress on yourself and your bank account.

For more information on employee health and wellness information, contact your Benefits Consultant.

Sources
1Canadian Financial Capability Survey (CFCS), 2014
2Financial Education for Today’s Workforce, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2016
3Financial Education for Today’s Workforce, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 2016