The Survival Guide to Working Over Christmas

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Posted by: Amber
Posted on: 13/12/2021

It’s that time of year again!

For healthcare workers, the festive season is both rewarding and challenging. Being away from family can be tough and people who require care can also find this time difficult or lonely.

But there are upsides, too. Many people are taking stock, trying to wind down and looking forward to a little relaxation or celebration.

Many workers in healthcare jobs across the UK will be rostered to work over Christmas this year. With a little planning and a positive mindset, you can make working over this period an enjoyable time for you and your patients.

Whether you’re a Nurse, Support Worker, or HCA (Healthcare Assistant), there are certain ways you can help make everyone jollier while staying safe.

Here are our top tips on how to survive the festive season and make the most out of this special time of year.

Keep your Patients Happy

The Christmas and New Year period can be especially difficult for patients who can’t get temporary leave to see their families. Finding ways to add a bit of sparkle and fun while keeping everyone safe can make patients more comfortable.

  • Staying positive: This is one of the best strategies for anyone who is working during the holiday season. An upbeat attitude can help you handle the long hours and offer extra comfort to vulnerable patients. After all, cheerfulness is contagious!
  • Create a festive atmosphere: Adding festive touches to your uniform and putting up a few decorations around your workstation can help create a jovial atmosphere. Giving small gifts or sweets to colleagues and patients, playing upbeat music and bringing in food to share are other ways to make the time more enjoyable.
  • Be attentive: Nobody likes to be alone or in a hospital during the festive season. As a care worker, you may notice how the holiday season can worsen the mental health of your patients, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Be sure to spend a bit more time with each patient and have little chats with them to lighten their mood and keep them engaged.

Look After Yourself

For people in healthcare jobs, it can be just as tough spending the festive season at work instead of being with loved ones. Caring for yourself is just as important during this time as caring for your patients.

  • Get plenty of rest: The best way to keep fatigue at bay is to prioritise quality rest during and before the holiday season. Sleep quality has a direct impact on mood and stamina, so getting enough rest will help keep your engine running.
  • Don’t overindulge: This is arguably one of the highest risks for anyone during Christmas, as there are so many sugary treats around! To prevent the inevitable sugar crash, mix in healthy snacks throughout the day and stay hydrated.
  • Bond with your team and your loved ones: Working through Christmas can be hard on your family, too. During quiet periods, stay connected with loved ones whenever you can with a quick phone call or message. You’re in this together with your team, so don’t forget to have fun with your colleagues. Sharing meals and laughter is a great way to make the time pass quickly.
  • Remember the perks: Keep in mind the upsides of being at work during the holiday season. While there can be peak periods, you may also have long stretches of quiet time. Getting paid the public holiday rate or time off in lieu is another nice extra!


Working over Christmas has its downsides, but it’s possible to make the most of it and enjoy it more than you expected!

It’s always a good idea to put in a little extra effort for patients, especially those who are most vulnerable. Remember to look after yourself and have fun with your patients and colleagues to make the most of this special time.

As a leading UK healthcare recruitment agency, we know what it takes to build a career as a healthcare professional. Here at QS Care, we help connect you to rewarding a wide array of healthcare jobs, including HCA (Healthcare Assistant) and Support Worker roles. Get in touch with our friendly team to get the support you need for your career.

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