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spike bullet December 2001 - Lighten Up

Lighten Up - Ways to Relieve Stress
Resources (links, books, articles, humor)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays for whatever holiday you celebrate!! Lighten Up - Ways to Relieve Stress

This year, we have many, many reasons to feel stressed and serious.  Because of this, we may be more in need of some lightening up than usual.  

It may be just what we need to free our minds and allow ourselves to find some inner happiness in the midst of whatever is going on in the outer world.  Having fun opens us up to creative ideas that can increase productivity and opens up new ways of improving our work life and our home life.

December in many companies is the most stressful month of the entire year.  Why?  Because people have less working time yet the same production deadlines.  Winter is present in the northern hemisphere so the weather is colder, darker and wetter.  Many employees are feeling pressure to attend to family or holiday projects at the same time their company is demanding more from them.

Because of this, most of our December newsletters have been devoted to having fun to help deal with the stress.

Since time is precious this month, we have a shorter article than usual, so spend your time thinking up fun things to do instead of reading this article.

  1. Use these suggestions to get people to loosen up and not take things so seriously.  
  2. Make a rule that no one will be teased for their ideas. 
  3. The only point of any suggestion is to have fun. 
  4. Give everyone a prize just for participating.  For example, lotto tickets, candy, office supplies or small stocking-stuffer type items.   You could even have "no cash value" prizes like a joke or a poem.

A few suggestions to encourage silliness and creativity:  

Write a new book 

  • Have your staff write a new book called "Our Company for Dummies" explaining in child-like language what your company culture is like.  
  • Ask them to think up goofy names for the various chapters.  
  • You might give out the assignment and ask people to bring their ideas to the next staff meeting so they have time to be creative.  Allow them to have their families participate if they want.  

Turn the organization chart upside down

  • Ask people to come up with a better org chart something that is not hierarchal.
  • They might come up with a circle or a triangle or a polygon.
  • Again, the point is to encourage creativity and silliness.

Have a potluck lunch where everyone brings dessert

  • Bring (or order) sandwiches or a pizza and splurge on shared desserts.

Add jokes to staff meetings

  • For the month of December, start every meeting with at least one joke -or- ask everyone to bring their favorite jokes to share.
  • Ask everyone on the staff to contribute their favorites for an office collection.  
  • Be sure to set guidelines that the jokes refrain from any offensive or derogatory language.  These should be "silly" jokes not put-down jokes.

Ask for fun ideas 

  • Start a collection of fun ideas for your company, department or unit.
  • Ask the staff to suggest ideas for bringing more fun to their work.
  • At least once a week this month, try out one of the ideas contributed.
  • If this is successful, you might want to continue it once a month next year or include it in your company culture as an ongoing tradition.


  • Find reasons to celebrate this month.  
  • Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, dentist appointments, on-time deliveries, new sales, a project milestone, something in the news or whatever you can come up with.
  • This is no limit what might qualify as a reason to celebrate.
  • The celebration can be elaborate a party, lunch or dinner.  Or, it can be as simple as ringing a bell, making an announcement or sending an e-mail.

Send this article to anyone that you think might need or want more fun in their workplace.

World Wide Web graphic  Internet Resources

book graphic  Books   -  Disclosure: We get a small commission for purchases made via links to Amazon.

  • 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, Dave Hemsath, Leslie Yerkes, Daniel McQuillen. Berrett-Koehler Publishers 1997. ISBN 1-576-75019-1
  • Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Work, Leslie Yerkes.  Berrett-Koehler 2001. ISBN: 1-576-75154-6
  • The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked, Ernie J. Zelinski.  Ten Speed Press 1997.ISBN 0-898-15914-8
  • The Fun Factor: Games, Sales Contests and Activities that Make Work Fun and Get Results,  Carolyn Greenwich.  McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing 1997. ISBN: 0-0747-0434-6

world wide web - articles  Articles

smiley graphic Past newsletter articles

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Page updated: October 16, 2023

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 Institute for Management Excellence, Copyright 2001 All rights reserved

The 10th Need: Mischief    :)

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