Skip to Main Content

Holiday CPR

Stressed woman standing next to a Christmas tree

Management Topic: Holiday CPR

Dear Colleagues,

While the holidays can bring extra joy and fun, the holidays can also bring extra stress for managers and employees alike. From family dynamics, financial pressures, travel, and balancing social events with busy work schedules, we can find ourselves exhausted, overwhelmed, and unable to actually enjoy the time of year that’s supposed to be merry and bright! Managers may find themselves, or their employees, in need of what we call “Holiday CPR.” Holiday CPR focuses on three health and wellness tips to navigate the end of the year with more grace and ease so that we’ll emerge feeling healthy, vibrant, and re-energized. The “C” stands for Connection, the “P” stands for Play, and the “R” stands for Rest. Share these Holiday CPR insights and resources with your employees for a healthier, happier holiday season.


At the root of it all, connection is what fuels our sense of purpose and belonging which are core pillars of health and wellness. Consciously creating opportunities to connect is critical for every human being, but can be especially critical for people during the holidays. Interestingly enough, connection with self is just as important as connection with others, and both play an important role in feelings of connectedness. Throughout the holidays, engaging in a regular practice of meditation, mindful breathing techniques, and/or mindful movement modalities can help to increase one’s self-connection and in turn, increase the likelihood of experiencing meaningful connection with others. “When we are in a state of heart and brain coherence, a state of unity between your mind, body and spirit, we are more present and aware.” (Alleviant, 2022) The UCLA Recreation FITWELL Program offers several classes and resources that can help you and your team engage in these types of practices regularly. Please find several guided meditations and breathing technique guided audios on our Bruin MindFit program webpage or take yoga and Tai Chi as part of our FitZones class schedule. Some teams have had the great idea to reserve a conference room in their building and project one of the FITWELL virtual classes onto a bigger screen for everyone to enjoy and participate together.


Research also shows that play is essential to our health. “The value of play is being increasingly recognized for adults as well as children, and is associated with characteristics such as fun, challenge, flexibility and uncertainty.” (Play Scotland, 2021) As children we have playtime integrated into our daily routine at school, but as adults, it’s more up to the individual to carve out time in our schedules for playtime. However, more and more places of work are creating opportunities for employees to play, get exercise, and socialize throughout their work week to help support employee wellness. This year, FITWELL is also hosting a special program called Holly Jolly Play Days to support playfulness over the holiday season.

The health benefits of play are myriad.  For one, play helps generate happy hormones including dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. These happy hormones can instantly help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression while increasing feelings of joy, belonging, and centeredness. Not only does play help relieve stress, but it also improves brain function, increases productivity, boosts creativity, enhances problem-solving abilities, improves relationships both personally and professionally, and can physically strengthen your immune system! Often as adults, we tell ourselves we don’t have the time to play around; but with all of the health and social benefits, how can we afford not to?! What’s one way you could help cultivate fun and play in your workplace?


Our third key wellness tip for health through the holidays is rest! While many of us feel like we have a million things to do and feel that it is impossible to get it all done without burning the candle at both ends, it is important to note how critical sleep and rest are for our health. While you have likely heard that we need 8-10 hours of sleep each night for optimal well-being, we still often find ourselves trying to defy our limits. Sleep is more paramount than we realize. Lack of sleep can be the tipping point in catching a cold, getting into an argument with a loved one, or experiencing an accident or injury. While we all wish we had three clones to help us host dinner, wrap all the gifts, decorate our homes, cook all the food, send out cards, and attend every gathering, it can be extremely beneficial to prioritize sleep and other periods of restful downtime and let go of or delegate some of those “to-do’s.” Saying yes to rest before you say yes to everyone and everything else can be the key to your sanity during this busy time of year. To help with your priorities, a helpful self-reflection question can be, three months from now when I look back at this time, what top three things will I be most glad I said yes to? Let those top three answers guide you in prioritizing your schedule and to-do list.

For more support in creating more connection, play, and rest for yourself or your team, check out FITWELL Resources for UCLA Staff and Faculty.

Leadership 2029

Interested in reviewing prior months’ topics? Visit our Monthly Management Tips website.

Do you have feedback, questions or a suggested topic you would like to learn more about? Please email:

Want to receive Monthly Management Tips emails? Sign up for our list!