Wellbeing at NVFS During the Holiday Season–and Beyond

This December, COVID-19 has amplified the common holiday stress experienced during this time of year. Health concerns, rent, finances, uncertainty, mourning for friends or family members or even just for a holiday that won’t be the traditional experience. And, for our employees, many don’t navigate this just for themselves, but with the families they work with as well. NVFS knows that to best serve our community we must support our employees.

NVFS founded our Wellbeing Committee in July 2018. The committee strives to establish a culture that values a holistic definition and approach to workplace wellness for staff. We have a broad representation of support, and always seek employee feedback and engagement.

The Committee’s work culminates in a variety of wellbeing programing, including monthly activities in support of NVFS’ 5 Pillars of Employee Wellbeing: Health, Social, Work Environment, Professional, and Financial. Each month a different wellness topic is featured, and resources and educational materials are provided.

The benefit of broad representation, and employees serving on the committee as Wellbeing Champions, means that the committee is more aware of employee stressors, particularly ones that may be unique to our field or agency, as well as having the capability of pivoting to meet unexpected needs.

Responding to the unique stressors of this December, it is no surprise that our Wellbeing Champions decided to focus on self-care and stress-reduction. It is not a unique topic, particular during the times of COVID. We’ve reviewed resources available through our benefits programs, the Employee Assistance Program, Health/Stress Webinars, Weekly Yoga Breaks, Walking Groups, among others. The challenge was how to set this month and these resources apart?

Wellbeing Champion, Anna Briceno, saw a holiday Bingo activity in her network and seized the opportunity to present this as a self-care game for NVFS employees during December. This virtual twist on the traditional Bingo game allows NVFS employees to choose an activity from the Bingo card to prioritize their wellbeing and make a memory with a friend or family member too – instead of collecting Bingo dots on a traditional card, with this card one inspires experiences.

The choices on the card are diverse, “Go Stargazing,” “Watch a Seasonal Movie,” “Try a new recipe,” or (my favorite) the space in the middle – “Free Self-Care Space (your choice)” – which I’ll give myself permission to use on a worknight, listening to music with the family, and enjoying a glass of wine after dinner.

The NVFS Wellbeing Bingo card for December presents a combination of activities that inspire self-care, holiday celebration and safe social connection. NVFS staff can choose to engage in one activity per day or a combination of many activities throughout the week. Regardless of the strategy, all employees can complete a Bingo card and submit it at the end of the month for the chance to win a small raffle prize, and hopefully destress, and appreciate what we do have along the way.