Mental Health: A Holiday Story

December 20, 2023
Mental Health: A Holiday Story

The state of mental health is not linear, but it is always present. Sometimes, it includes feelings of joy and happiness while other times it feels like loneliness, anxiety or depression. We may simultaneously experience a mixture of many feelings, thoughts and emotions at one time. While the types and intensities of these feelings vary from person to person, as human beings, we can all soar, and we can all struggle. This is our mental health story.

This time of year, shorter days, holiday demands and end-of-year obligations may drive how we feel, think and behave. As part of a small or medium-size business, there are unique stressors to deal with. There are year-end deadlines, and seasonal priorities, as well as family obligations. Your employees might also be going through twists and turns in their own mental health stories, exacerbated by all the demands that appear between October and January, coupled with the seasonal expectation of unwavering cheer.

When someone is struggling, it can show up in every aspect of their lives, including the workplace. However, when employees feel their mental health is being supported, they are less likely to miss work, and under perform. Supporting mental health, through this season and beyond, is beneficial across the board. The question then becomes, how can you offer that support?

Normalize and Destigmatize

Throughout the year, but especially during this season, we are told to “smile,” and “look at the bright side.” To someone who is struggling with a mental low, this may feel overwhelming, impossible or like their reality is being discounted. While it is certainly important to enjoy a moment, and appreciate the good, it is also okay not to be okay. Let’s normalize the fact that your employee might be feeling stretched thin and remove the stigma around not being able to “do it all.” Reassure them that they aren’t alone. We all have mental, physical and emotional limits. To expect perfection only causes further stress when truth fails to align with unreachable goals.

Set Boundaries and Put Them into Action

This time of year, our calendars fill up quickly with work and personal demands. As a business leader, you have a unique opportunity to BE the example for your employees. Don’t just say that people need to set boundaries—demonstrate it. Consider these examples: limit email correspondence to work hours, schedule paid time off to tackle your personal to-do list and think of how self-care plays into your holiday season. Action truly does speak louder than words. Give your employees the non-verbal permission they may need. Remember, the expectation is not perfection, it is pointed and directed action towards meaningful change.

Promote Mental Health Resources

By doing the above, you will hopefully begin to create a work environment in which employees feel safe and supported to care for their own mental health. Often, this includes outside tools and resources. Encourage your employees to get the professional support they deserve by sharing their available support options frequently. You never know, you may share with someone at the exact time they need it the most. These resources may include, but are not limited to:

  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP): The EAP can provide support through resources such as free counseling sessions, webinars, online tools and more. If you don’t currently have an EAP, consider adding one to your benefit offerings. All TriNet customers have access to an EAP for all their employees, whether they enrolled in a TriNet-sponsored medical plan or not. This means full-time and part-time employees can get the mental health support they deserve.
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP): Established in 1987, this voluntary health organization is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
  • Medical Carrier Behavioral Health Support: Contact your medical carrier to explore resources like talk therapy and digital tools that may be available to your employees.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Mental Health Resources

We all have a mental health story. At a time of year when feelings of loneliness and isolation can prevail, why not highlight the community that already exists amongst your employees. Remind them that although our stories are not all the same, we are all doing the best we can, and that is okay. Happy holidays from TriNet and our community of colleagues.

Want more on mental health? Check out this previous blog on Mental Health in the Workplace. Contact us today if you have questions about TriNet-sponsored benefit offerings or any of our other HR services.

© 2023 TriNet Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This communication is for informational purposes only, is not legal, tax or accounting advice, and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance. TriNet is the single-employer sponsor of all its benefit plans, which does not include voluntary benefits that are not ERISA-covered group health insurance plans and enrollment is voluntary. Official plan documents always control and TriNet reserves the right to amend the benefit plans or change the offerings and deadlines. WE DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

This post may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.


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Rachel Sufczynski

Rachel Sufczynski

Senior Benefits Communication Specialist, TriNet
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