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Are you working retail for the holidays?

By Angela Unsworth

Last week, Lauren wrote a blog post that was a throwback to a Christmas safety poem and it got me thinking about other ways to be safe at work during the holidays.

Every year I waver between loving Christmas shopping and dreading it. The malls get busy very quickly and the line-ups get longer and longer. Traffic is busy on your way to the mall, finding parking is difficult and then once inside you need to wade through a mass of people to find items for your loved ones. Once you’re in the mall though, Christmas music is playing, it’s warm inside and thinking of your loved ones can help that warmth enter into your soul.

It can be an entirely different story when you work in the mall. I worked in a mall for five years and I had a difficult time maintaining my love for Christmas. What about when you’re working retail for Christmas? What can you do to make sure that you can retain your Christmas spirit?

Understanding your rights when working the holidays is step #1 to having a great holiday experience:

  • You are entitled to breaks.
    1. Employees are entitled to at least one 30-minute break in each shift that is longer than five hours.
  • It is not legal to work more than 12 hours maximum in a day, or to work a shift without at least 8 hours in between shifts.
  • Christmas Day is a general holiday, which allows you to get paid general holiday pay if you meet specific requirements, which can be found here: http://work.alberta.ca/employment-standards/general-holidays.html.

Next, make sure you take care of yourself when you get home to help ease the stress of such a busy day:

  • Taking care of your physical health is important – try to take some time for yourself to go to the gym, a yoga class, or even a walk.
  • Keep a healthy diet. It can be tough over the holidays for this one, but even if you’re eating a lot of that gingerbread and shortbread, try to fit in some vegetables every day.
  • Set aside some quiet time to do something for you, like reading, listening to music, meditating, or anything that lets you unwind from the day.
  • Stay social – this one is fairly easy to do over the holidays. Make time for your friends and family. These connections can provide an excellent healing balm.

We hope these tips help you to have a very happy holiday.

If you have any stories you’d like to share about how you stayed safe and took care of yourself over the holidays, leave us a comment or tweet us @HeadsUpAB!

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