Updated: Apr 1
A Deeper Look Into Why People Get Triggered During the Winter Holiday Season
Every year, during the winter holiday season, it is not uncommon to witness or experience people being triggered by certain events or topics. This behavior can be challenging to understand and lead to adverse outcomes in the workplace. To better understand why this might happen, let’s take a deeper look at five potential triggers that could cause people to act out during this particular time of year.
1. Stressful Environments
The holidays can be stressful for many people due to increased workloads and personal obligations. This stress can often lead to incredible frustration and even anger when faced with situations outside our control. Leaders, HR departments, and business owners need to be mindful of these potential triggers and create an environment where employees feel empowered and supported during this time of year.
2. Unacknowledged Trauma
The holidays can remind some individuals of traumatic experiences or painful memories. These reminders can lead some people to become overwhelmed with emotions such as guilt, fear, sadness, or even rage if they do not receive the proper acknowledgment and support from those around them. It is essential for leaders, in particular, to recognize these signs in their coworkers or employees so they can provide them with the necessary emotional support they may need.
3. Financial Difficulties
With increased spending comes financial pressures, especially during the winter holiday season. Many struggles with affording gifts for loved ones, simply dealing with additional expenses associated with travel costs, or hosting gatherings at home. These financial difficulties tend to increase stress which can manifest itself through negative behaviors such as lashing out at others over seemingly minor incidents.
4. Anxiousness Over Family Gatherings
It is not uncommon for family members (especially those who do not see each other very often) to disagree on specific issues or topics while gathering together over the holidays, which can cause anxiousness among some individuals in attendance who may feel uncomfortable voicing their opinions in front of others due to cultural differences or personal beliefs about social dynamics within families. Leaders and employers must recognize these situations to provide appropriate resources (such as counseling services) before any significant conflicts arise between family members at holiday gatherings.
5. Exclusion From Celebrations & Traditions
For Black Women Leaders, Some Black women leaders may feel excluded from traditional celebrations due to cultural biases surrounding race and gender identity. This feeling of exclusion could make them more sensitive than usual when interacting with colleagues in professional settings, resulting in heightened emotions leading up to and during the holiday season. Creating an inclusive working environment that supports diversity will help ensure all voices are heard throughout the year, especially when tensions tend to run high.
The winter holiday brings unique challenges that many individuals face each year, including financial worries, unacknowledged trauma, anxiety over family gatherings, exclusion from traditional celebrations, and stressful environments. Awareness of these potential triggers will help employers provide better support systems for their workers while ensuring everyone feels safe, respected, and included within their organization's culture. Doing so gives us a better chance of having a joyful winter holiday season full of meaningful connections.