Posts Tagged holidays

Finding Joy Amidst the Holiday Stress

Angry, Frustrated Woman --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

This month is not only packed full of holidays and events, it celebrates Weary Willie, the character played by Emmett Kelly in the mid-1900s.  Weary Willie day reminds us of the importance of laughter which is very appropriate when you think of how stressful this time of year can be with the holidays, from dealing with family to making sure you have enough money and time to buy presents for people.

Emmett who performed with Ringling Brothers and Barnum, along with other circuses, was one of the few clowns who were depicted as being sad. He was classified as a hobo clown who couldn’t do much right. However, he knew how to make people laugh but also evoked sympathy from the audience. By celebrating Weary Willie and the art of clowning this month, it reminds us to find fun and enjoyment during life’s struggles and the hardships that may happen during this time of year. Whether it is just finding ways to alleviate stress or taking time to learn to juggle or ride a unicycle, remember this season will pass and it is important to find ways to smile every day. To learn more about Weary Willie and the impact he had on the world of clowns, check out this article:

Don’t neglect your total wellbeing. Remember all 8 dimensions of your wellness are important to keep in focus during this season to help reduce stress and be able to enjoy this time of year. You need time to replenish so make sure you do! Take time to evaluate how you can make your Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Financial, Intellectual, Occupational, Social, and Environmental wellbeing be fulfilled so you can alleviate stress around these areas.

Here are some great tips while preparing yourself for this Holiday Season:

  1. Maintain your health. Watch what you eat and drink, get enough sleep, and don’t neglect doing your exercise program. By focusing your energy towards your wellness goals, you will feel better and be able to accomplish more.
  2. Be easy on yourself. It is ok to feel sad or grieve the loss of someone who isn’t here to enjoy the holidays with you. Acknowledge those feelings and express these normal feelings. It is natural during the holidays to feel blue sometimes. However, remember if your workplace offers an EAP they are there to help if you do want to talk to a professional about what you are feeling and if you want help processing those emotions.
  3. Carefully choose the events to attend that will bring the most joy to you. Focus on what the true meaning of the holidays are for you so your celebrations are the most meaningful. Celebrate each event you do this season so you can look back on this time as a good time verses something you have to do. This includes baking, decorating, writing a meaningful letter to someone, or choosing the perfect gift.
  4. Shop within your budget and plan in advance when, how, and where you will shop. Don’t let money worries add any stress. Giving from the heart is more important that giving an expensive gift.
  5. Be more realistic about holiday expectations – both yours and the ones others may have of you. Whether it is managing your time wisely and figuring out what you can cut out to reduce the stress or being reasonable about what you can accomplish by limiting your baking, decorating, and gift-giving. Make sure to give yourself and others a break if things don’t go according to plan.
  6. Find ways to experience happiness this season at work and at home. No matter what happens around you or who is a “Grinch”, don’t get ruffled by others’ behaviors and keep that smile on your face. Consider including your co-workers in your plans if they don’t have any or helping out in a soup kitchen, sharing something funny with someone every day, or buying yourself a gift no one will think of getting you to help make this season the best yet.
  7. Recognize that family differences won’t disappear just because it is the holidays. Work on building a relationship by finding common ground or starting a new tradition. Share fun stories and start to heal those past hurts through forgiveness and love.
  8. Take time to sit, enjoy your surroundings, and relax. Take in the weather, your home, and focus on finding a moment each day to enjoy the activities happening around you whether it is going snowboarding or sitting by the fireplace reading a good book.

We hope this list will help you have a successful, joyous, and wonderful holiday season that is stress-free!


To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

Happy Holidays from the MINES Team


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The “Holiday Spirit”

What do the holidays mean for your employees and organization? Well, for some it means taking time off, family and friends coming in and out of town, donating to charities, end of year deadlines and the list continues! What can your organization do to support your employees during this time of the year? Get them into “the holiday spirit!”

Here are some quotes that may embrace your impression of the holiday spirit:

The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas. — W. C. Jones

This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays” — D.M. Dellinger

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. Wishing you happiness. — Helen Keller

I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. — Harlan Miller

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, The Winter Solstice or nothing at all, you may be familiar with some of the themes in these quotes. These themes found and promoted as the “holiday spirit” can be found year round in your organization!

Since I am especially thankful and proud of my organization’s approach to the holidays, I’d like to take a few moments and describe why being in HR at MINES has jumpstarted my holiday spirit! This year, we have had incredible interest and proactive initiatives in making the MINES culture something to be proud of. Employees from all over the organization, in numerous departments and of varying tenure have informally stepped up and offered ideas and proactive approaches to making MINES a fun and enjoyable place to work. This holiday season has been no exception!

What began as a simple holiday party planning committee grew into a committee that wanted to ensure a memorable experience for not only our employees but also our clients. We first brainstormed a completely different approach to our holiday party… how did this happen? We had a newer employee who was not boggled down by assumptions of the “way things have been done” do some homework and elect a different flavor for the party. The committee also wanted to ensure that the other members of the staff had input in components of the party and they did partake!  Above and beyond the holiday party, other great ideas became reality including two drives incentivized by a spirit week and raffle as well as a card signing potluck lunch. The reason that this brightened my holiday spirit is not necessarily the activities themselves; it was seeing the enthusiasm and these great initiatives by our brilliant staff becoming a reality. What was most impressive was the decision by our committee to make it a goal to continue this proactive morale-boosting initiative throughout the year. Of course, we could not have implemented reality without our executive team being on-board!

This year, be proactive about making your holiday season special for yourself, your colleagues, your organization, your community, and for everyone that you touch. Let THIS holiday season be a springboard for the rest of the year! Be the one who helps to spark your organization’s “holiday spirit” and keep it burning all year long! Giving, caring, spending time with family and friends, easing others’ loads, generosity, appreciation, and sharing your contagious smile and energy can make a difference in the morale of your organization all year! This difference and spirit spreads and benefits everyone who you touch whether it is clients, family, colleagues, customers, or friends! I believe that this is why MINES makes such a tremendous difference in our clients’ lives.

Happy Holidays!
Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources

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How to Reduce Kids’ Holiday Stress

  How to Reduce Kids’ Holiday Stress
December 19, 2011
 When I first read the title of this week’s communication, I laughed with skepticism. I can’t imagine a child feeling stressed at the holidays. Every child I know counts down to Christmas, as if it’s the greatest day of the year.

Reading further into the article, I realized what they meant by “stress.” Stress for me during the holidays is all the planning and preparation that goes into it. As a child, I remember feeling unsettled and I guess you could say “stressed” if we went to bed and forgot to read The Night before Christmas or hadn’t followed any tradition that we had in the years before. After all, it was all of those traditions that I was counting down to.

As a child, I spent Christmas in several different household; each of my grandparents, my Mother’s home, my Father’s home, and many of my Aunt’s and Uncle’s homes. Yet, no matter where I was it was those little traditions; making the cookies for Santa, sitting at dinner with family, writing Santa a note, reading The Night before Christmas, that made wherever I was feel like home. And that’s what made me happy.

  Read more on this topic here…
  Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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Make a List, Check it Twice



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Make a List, Check it Twice
December 13, 2011

Every year at Christmas, I promise myself to not spend money on presents like I did the year before. I have the best intentions and I put a limit on the amount I will spend on each person. And just as sure as I make the promise, every year my intentions go out the window.

This year I have finally decided why this happens. I wait too long to shop. By the time I make it to the mall, I have only a few weeks to shop, wrap, and deliver. So I am always in a panic and I get to the point that I don’t care what it costs, I will buy anything if I can just mark Dad off my list.

In fact, I think I have this problem with birthdays too. Okay, I am serious this time; I will not make this mistake next year. I promise to plan ahead. I promise to not overspend. I promise to relax and focus on what the holidays are all about – overeating and family!

Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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Have A “Reasonably” Happy Holiday Season!

I love the notion of having a “reasonably” happy holiday season. It’s so freeing and realistic. It creates a mindset that actually allows people to enjoy the holidays. Seriously, who could argue against having a reasonably good time as a starting point? Anything above that can go into the “exceeded my expectations” category.

There is a lot of information on suggestions and ways to lessen the stress of the holidays. However, if you don’t take the time to examine your holiday expectations, it’s possible that there will be some frustrations, stressors, and disappointments that cast a wicked spell on your sense of holiday magic.

BizPysch facilitates a training called “Thriving with the Holidays” and it’s one of my all time favorite workshops. Why? Because it focuses on strategies for having a reasonably happy holiday season. It gives people a chance to “pause” before all the holiday craziness sets in and decide what they want their holiday season to be about. Participants get to think about creating new holiday traditions in place of old traditions they would like to let go of. We debunk some of the holiday myths that are a set up for having an unhappy holiday season, and offer some great ideas for simple ways to take in the magic of the holidays. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Ask for help…and take it!
  • Give yourself a present
  • Contact an old friend and enjoy the gift of connection
  • Let go of a problem that you can’t solve
  • Hang a favorite holiday ornament in your car
  • Compliment at least 3 people every day in December
  • Give the gift of forgiveness and acceptance
  • Record a cheerful greeting for your answering machine
  • Give someone that “great” parking space and enjoy walking a little farther in the cool air
  • Wear a pair of outrageous holiday socks
  • Learn to say “Happy Holidays” in several languages
  • Give someone who is discouraged the gift of encouragement

So, whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, or another holiday during December, best wishes for a reasonably happy holiday season!

Marcia Kent
President, BizPsych

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Holiday Depression and Stress


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Holiday Depression and Stress
December 6, 2011

This past weekend my parents took off to see the bright lights of Las Vegas and I took my brothers to see the freezing cold Parade of Lights. I must say it was wonderful having the weekend with the young ones. Even though we could hardly feel our toes, they were determined to get the final glimpse of the parade…Santa Clause himself. My brothers are now 10 and 12 and I’m not sure what they “know,” but I wouldn’t even ask. The joy of the holidays is seeing it through a child’s eyes and, honestly, I don’t want to ruin that for myself! Their eyes still grew to the size of quarters when Santa waved down from his sleigh; that’s enough for me.

The next day we braved the mall hoping to find gifts for our parents. Exhausted and out of luck we left the mall and sat in the car deciding where to go next. From the back seat my youngest brother excitedly stated, “Sis, only 21 days until Christmas!” And there it was…the difference between the holidays for a child and for an adult. He was counting down with joy and happiness in his voice and I was counting down with fear in mine. With a blank stare on my face, I sighed, “Oh my gosh, only 21 days ‘til Christmas.”

I know it’s all worth it; all the to-do lists, all the trips to the store, and all the STRESS. It’s still important to take a step back and keep in mind what the holidays are all about, togetherness, and those quarter-sized eyes.

Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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Planning Your Company’s Holiday Party

It’s that time of the year again; time to plan the company holiday party!  What are your company’s plans?  Company holiday parties are important because they allow for team building, employee appreciation, and interaction in a social atmosphere.  But with publicity about lawsuits and keeping budget constraints in mind, planning the company holiday party can be a stressful endeavor.  Don’t worry, balancing employee expectations and morale with the realities of finances and liabilities can happen!

The holiday party here at MINES was held last week.  To start, the party planning was opened up to everyone throughout the company and ended up consisting of four party planners.  We made the decision to hold the party on site in a conference room to save on funds and utilize open space.   In order to dress up the conference room a bit, the party planning committee met off site one afternoon and purchased inexpensive decorations from stores such as Safeway and King Soopers.  Employees from all over the company made suggestions for activities and food, and we ended up with the famous White Elephant gift exchange and ordering Chinese food from Yen King with a potluck dessert table.  The party was a success, complete with a thankful speech from our CEO, visits from previous employees, holiday songs thanks to a musically-inclined employee, and hilarious gifts passed around including a “grow your own therapist” and a funky metal pig that was a hot item and stolen many times.

Here are some tips to make your holiday party inexpensive, fun, and non-alcoholic:

  • Invite everyone to join in your party planning and encourage ideas for food and activities from everyone – you will be amazed at the creativity!
  • Consider supporting local charities by holding a toy or coat drive or perhaps even voluntary monetary donations.  MINES’ employees always enjoy participating and it’s a great way to give back during the holiday season.
  • Spread out the seating area and include activities that encourage everyone to move around and mingle with coworkers they don’t know very well.
  • Hold the party during the workday.  Not only will this save money, but will lower the expectations for alcohol.  Plus, employees appreciate the long break!
  • Encourage the President/Owner/CEO to give a thankful speech.  Likely they will plan on it, but ask anyway. Hearing thanks for a busy year really means a lot to everyone!
  • Don’t hang mistletoe! Yes, when I read and heard this before, I thought it was silly…but consider what mistletoe might bring and which policies could be violated.
  • Be sure to insist that the holiday party is voluntary.

If you are considering serving alcohol at your company party, click on the following link for helpful information from the U.S. Department of Labor:

Dani Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist

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Keeping an Attitude of Gratitude During the Holidays

Keeping an Attitude of Gratitude During the Holidays

It’s holiday time. This means family, friends, food, and fun. It also means unpredictability and a break in our routines which can lead to stress. It is easy to get so caught up in the details of the holidays. Will my sister like the gift I got her? Will the company get along? Is the ham overdone? It is also a time when ongoing stressors in our lives can feel magnified. We might worry if we can afford to give our children the gifts we want, family conflict can feel unavoidable, or it may feel like everyone else is celebrating while we feel more and more isolated or alone. Whatever the reasons might be, the holidays are not always the perfect celebration we sometimes expect. So how can we cope?

Last year my mother-in-law introduced a concept to our family that shone a new light on the season: The Gratitude Jar. Every family member was given a piece of paper to write down one thing they were grateful for in the previous year. We all had to share out loud what we were grateful for before putting it in the jar. Throughout the holiday, the jar was a reminder of all of the things we had to appreciate.

Practicing gratitude can be a simple and easy way to shift your thinking and reduce stress during the holiday season. Research has consistently shown that practicing gratitude can have many stress reducing effects (

Although the Gratitude Jar can be a great activity to share with family and friends, there are many ways you can practice gratitude to make the holidays more enjoyable:

  • Make a short list of 3 things you are happy about in your life. Keep the list in your pocket and read it over whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Write a letter to someone who is important in your life expressing your appreciation
  • Volunteer. Spending time with others in need can remind you to appreciate the aspects of our lives we take for granted.

I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday and best wishes for the new year!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

~The HealthPsych Team

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