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How to Keep Energy and Performance Up When Employees Are Feeling the Holiday Brain Drain

As the chief motivation officer for your company, here are some tips you can use to keep productivity flowing during and right after the holidays.

By Brady G. Wilson

Is the holiday season affecting your employees’ focus and overall productivity? What with all the planning, shopping and running around involved, this can be a distracting and mentally draining time of year for many.

Based on brain science, here are 4 proven ways to easily boost employee energy and increase performance—not just in December, but any time of the year. Try these tips out yourself, and encourage your leadership team to apply them to their own teams!

1. Make a micro-connection. Even within just two minutes, quality, face-to-face conversation releases high-performance hormones in the brain, decreasing stress, tension and worry.

Energy-boosting tip: Rather than ask ‘how’ somebody is doing, ask them ‘what’ they are doing in advance of the holidays. For example, are they excitedly planning that perfect gift for someone special, or are they preparing for a visit from the dreaded in-laws? Be present in the moment and show genuine curiosity. Acknowledge what matters most to the other person. Then, share what matters most to you.

2. Dump the depleters. When people’s focus is continuously split between multiple cognitive tasks (such as trying to balance work with holiday social planning), the effect is intense mental exhaustion.

Energy-boosting tip: Minimize distractions. Put a moratorium on meetings—or at the very least, recommend that managers decrease the number of meetings around the holidays.

3. Rewire energy. Unfortunately, the holidays aren’t joyful for everyone. When negative feelings arise, this alters our focus and productivity. Luckily, brain science shows a way to better control those unwanted and unhelpful feelings.

Energy-boosting tip: Encourage meditation. Meditation strengthens the anterior cingulate, which is the “clutching mechanism” between the rational (“thinking”) and emotional (“feeling”) brain. As an office-wide activity, ask HR or your Events leader to bring in a yoga instructor over a lunch hour—and continue this activity on a weekly basis.

4. Grow superior cells. Each day, our bodies slough off 300 billion old cells—and grow 300 billion new ones. If the new cells are superior to the ones they are replacing, the body becomes more energized.

Energy-boosting tip: Put an office-wide ban on sugar-filled holiday gift baskets. Instead, encourage employees to bring in superior-cell food and drink with healthy fats (such as avocado and almonds), helpful carbs (squash, yams and carrots), and organic, colorful vegetables.

Brady Wilson is co-founder of Juice Inc., a corporate training company that services organizations from Toronto to Los Angeles. This article is based on principles from Brady’s latest book, Beyond Engagement: A Brain-Based Approach That Blends the Engagement Managers Want with the Energy Employees Need. Follow Brady on Twitter (@BradyJuiceInc) or visit



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