On the eve of the 2020 holiday season and the fiscal year’s end, it might be helpful to know how team building boosts holiday morale. Here are a few recommendations with proven track records.
Take me back….
Nostalgia was once equated with mental illness—melancholy, homesickness; an inability to cope with real life. And there’s no doubt that should it become a permanent condition, it would require professional therapy.
But currently nostalgia is the therapy of choice for many of us as the New York Times recently reported: … in times of trauma and overwhelming stress, it’s a natural instinct to feel nostalgic and rely on those feelings for comfort and a sense of normalcy, said Valentina Stoycheva, a clinical psychologist specializing in traumatic stress and the author of “The Unconscious: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications.”
“Trauma takes away our gray areas. It divides our timeline into a before and an after,” Dr. Stoycheva said. “And while it has the danger of creating this longing for the before, when things were maybe safer, and when we were unaware of all of this and protected by our naïveté, there’s also something about nostalgic behaviors — fashion, clothes, movies, music — that serve as a transitional object.”
…to the good ol’ days
So in true Baby Boomer style, I’m grooving to my favorite old jazz standards and watching my most beloved black-and-white movie classics. I’m even trying to replicate old family recipes. I never mastered them before, but today they come mighty close when mixed with childhood memories. And during Zoom meetings, I’ve noticed lots of my female colleagues wearing makeup, perhaps so that they can look the way they used to feel.
Holiday blues and sorrows
It seems as if the holidays are made for nostalgia, right? Well sadly for some of us the holidays may be filled with painful memories.
For example, according to the American Red Cross, there may be as many as 47,000 fires during the winter holidays resulting in 500 deaths and over 2,000 injuries. Most of this heartache will be caused by Christmas trees, candles, holiday lights, and other decorations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also caused a pandemic of domestic violence. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, The pandemic has exacerbated financial entanglement by causing increased job loss and unemployment, particularly among women of color, immigrants, and workers without a college education….The public health restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the virus have also reduced access to alternative sources of housing: shelters and hotels have reduced their capacity or shut down, and travel restrictions have limited people’s access to safe havens.
Tis the season to be charitable
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could make a difference to some of these heartbroken souls in your own community? Well you can and your colleagues will develop stronger team bonds in the process.
For most of these holiday house fires, domestic violence reports, and other calamities there will be a team of heroes. Firefighters, hospital personnel, disaster relief aides, and emergency medical service providers. They all have one thing in common: they’ll come face-to-face with a distraught child.
A house fire involving injuries or fatalities; domestic abuse; automobile accidents—no child is emotionally equipped to handle such devastating nightmares alone. That’s where your team and ours join forces and literally come to the rescue! Magnovo’s virtual Rescue Buddies Charitable Workshop is a little like Santa’s workshop where you and your other elfin-colleagues make toys for traumatized kids.
You’ll assemble bears, birds, fish, and other huggable stuffed animals. And first responders will give them to the terrified children they encounter. And the toys are called Rescue Buddies because that’s what they do! They give these babies something to cling to when it’s needed most. Each toy is an emotional lifeline in the present moment because it reminds them of their past—when their toys weren’t destroyed; when life didn’t hurt.
That bear, bird, or fish can escort a traumatized child to their mental or emotional “happy place” but this is not a cop-out. This kind of nostalgia is a form of healthy escapism. The toys are transitional objects that soothe, comfort, and reassure them. Think of each as a psychological pacifier. The physical connection provides stability and helps them cope.
Holiday team building can bring long term healing.