Action Zones 

Workplace chaplains offer post-holiday support 

 23rd December 2018


Jill Mayes, Good Work Project Coordinator, highlights the stresses some can experience celebrating Christmas and how Norfolk's Workplace Chaplains can be invaluable listeners when people go back to work

As someone with a strong faith, I’ve been trying to cut back on some of the excesses we seem to have adopted at Christmas and focus on the real meaning of the season while still having a lovely time

Thing is, whichever way you look at it, there’s always an element of stress involved in the preparations. That’s before you start worrying about how to pay for all the things everyone wants and getting it right

Maybe you’ll be getting together with family and friends – how wonderful – or maybe not! Did you know that January is known by the legal profession as ‘Divorce Month’ because so many couples file papers during that month? Often, relationship issues are longstanding, but people hold on for ‘one last holiday season’ as a family

There’s something about Christmas that seems to highlight problems – perhaps it’s the amount of time spent together, maybe money issues come to the fore, or maybe things said or done in a haze of food and alcohol indulgence can’t be undone. Lots of people feel acutely lonely over the festive period, they have time to dwell on old hurts or experiences and believe nobody cares

For many, it’s a relief to go back to work and normal routine even though the issues at home don’t go away. Work can become a temporary escape and a safe space to talk things through

Workplace Chaplains are trained to deal with all aspects of human life – the good, the bad and the downright ugly and they’re great at listening and encouraging. Chaplains are there to support everyone, any gender, any faith, any lifestyle; they are not judgemental and will not be shocked. Discussions with a chaplain are confidential – information will only ever be shared if there is a real danger of significant harm to the speaker or others – and there is much truth in the old saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’

If things get too much over the holiday, Samaritans have a 24-hour freephone 116 123 and a very useful website, You don’t need to feel suicidal to call – they help anyone who is struggling to cope

All that said, I wish you a peaceful, joy-filled Christmas and a happy, healthy, hope-filled 2019


Jill Mayes is the Good Work Project Coordinator. If you would like to find out more about workplace chaplaincy get in touch with Jill by email at

 this article also appeared on Network Norfolk