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Mini-guide to help employees’ mental health through winter

These resources may also be helpful for friends, family, and community members.

Introduction

With the challenges brought on by cold weather and the holiday season, winter can often be a difficult time. But with COVID-19, this year’s winter may be even more demanding on our mental health and well-being. This mini-guide is designed to help employers provide workers with specific tools and resources during the winter months.

Why is our mental health affected more during winter and the holiday season? As summer comes to an end, we quickly find ourselves in the midst of darker, colder months. While some people embrace the wintry weather, others struggle with their daily tasks or fall into seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to these seasonal changes. Not everyone experiences SAD, but lots of people share very similar symptoms and mood changes during winter.

How can employers help their employees?

Communicating with empathy How you communicate is as important as what you communicate. Communicating with empathy — the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person — requires listening with an intent to understand. Doing so enables you to make an informed and considerate response, which increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.

What to communicate

  • information on resources for seasonal depression, anxiety, and coping skills
  • the organization’s policies on the importance of wellness, time off, and mental health
  • EAP programs and the details they contain on counselling and other resources
  • information on training or webinars employees can access
  • personal stories that may help bridge emotions within the organization
  • information on social initiatives or volunteer activities that employees can engage in during the holidays

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