Very best wishes to all our clients for Xmas and the New Year

Claire Vane
December 21, 2023

I usually write a blog at about this time reminding people about what is defined as ‘bad behaviour’ in the office which is usually focused on boundaries. Doubtless, if you need advice on dealing with good behaviour (reward), or bad, please do get in touch. We are available right up until Xmas. I think carefully how I write Xmas as the term Christmas affects certain religious groups.

While the HR function is not a parental one, it’s always good to warn about the consequences of misguided behaviour and the sanctions that an employer can take, if employees step the wrong side of the line (Excerpt from

I am taking a different tack this year in view of the strains and stresses that are very apparent in all workplaces to greater or lesser extents. In the New Year, I will look forward to the challenges that await business, commerce, academia and the third sector. The social, political and economic backcloth affects us all and maintain or recovering good mental health and wellbeing is paramount; without our health, we have nothing.

Post Xmas is, for most people, a time of renewal but, as stress levels rise in the run up to Xmas and the invisible line in the sand becomes even more marked with a sense of things having to be completed before 25th December, the stress levels become even more exacerbated. Certainly, for many, post Xmas is time to recuperate, and that precious week between Xmas and New Year, is a huge opportunity to plan and more individuals are currently experiencing feelings of overwhelm and burnout.

I am reminded again of Paul Dolan’s book ‘Happiness by Design' who, in summary, says that to be truly happy you need two kinds of happiness - one born of satisfaction, and one born of pleasure (enjoyment of having the time to ‘Smell the roses’).

Perhaps there are a few things that are surprising, and research has shown that leisure time is more enjoyable and satisfying when individuals even have some goals for what they would like to achieve in their leisure time as opposed to their work.

Boundaries are everything and putting limits on what is not acceptable can help to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and accepting that you cannot please all of the people all of the time.

I have a friend who was so fascinated by our objective setting technique that we use with many clients, that she ensures that the whole family sits down to write their objectives at the start of the New Year. These are not work objectives, but life and home objectives and it is more helpful to get the best out of your leisure time if you know what you want to achieve in terms of outcome and happiness. Research has shown that people feel more refreshed when they understand what the objectives are of their holiday time. Achieving some small task, even if it’s clearing out your wardrobe, tends to cause much greater satisfaction than sitting on the sofa doing nothing, even though there is a place for that too. It’s terrible to return to work with the feeling of not having had a really good rest or accessed and implemented some desire.

It is interesting to note that much holiday entitlement in the UK is not fully utilised and yet people confirm again and again that they feel refreshed for taking their holidays. So, one question to ask yourself is “Do I take my annual leave entitlement?” Even weekends can be more satisfying and make you happier if you have only a small list of requirements for the weekend which you then achieve. The third consideration is the use of freedom. If you have nothing in the diary, you are free. The question is, are you using your freedom to do something or are you using your freedom to escape from something? Interesting questions, often explored in coaching.

If you would like to start the New Year with less overwhelm and want to do some life planning, then you might be interested in our workshop, Transform your Life. If you would like further details, please drop me a note.

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