Overcoming end of year fatigue

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By Michelle Dalley

Have you been feeling irritable, tired/lacking energy, unmotivated, overwhelmed, having difficulty concentrating or feeling anxious about what you can achieve before the end of the year?  If so, you’re likely experiencing end of year fatigue! Doctor’s agree that this is a real thing and it’s a trend I’ve noticed with my coaching clients over the past couple of weeks.

However, I want to distinguish that end of year fatigue is a symptom, rather than a condition. There are many contributors to end of year fatigue and it’s often the combination of these factors that has us feeling this way. Do any of the following sound familiar:

  • Trying to meet multiple deadlines before year end
  • Putting high expectations on yourself to get it all done, to attend all functions, to buy all the best gifts etc
  • Too much focus on go, go, go and not enough focus on rest and recovery
  • More social activities + work deadlines which can result in eating more takeaways or processed food, drinking more alcohol and being dehydrated, and not getting enough sleep…

The good news is that you can do something about this. Now, you might react by saying, “Michelle, I don’t have the time or energy to add in more things – I am fatigued! Well, I want you to consider that in order to have more time and energy, you cannot not do these things. If you want to go into your Christmas break being able to enjoy it, rather than being exhausted and getting sick, then you need to do some things differently and you probably want to prioritise them now.

Here’s some ways that you can support yourself to help overcome end of year fatigue:

1. Get Real and schedule your time!

As of writing this, there is only another 14 working days before Christmas or 105 hours of (full time) work time. That is not a lot of hours; so, what can you realistically achieve in this time? Get crystal clear on the essential tasks and really challenge yourself as to whether they are truly essential. We can put false expectations and ideals on ourselves to get it all done before year end… but guess what, the world will not end – there are things that are ok to wait until you get back.

Once you’re really clear on what’s essential schedule into your diary the following items, in this order:

  • Your start and finish times
  • Your break times
  • Your exercise/movement activities (see next section)
  • The time and activities required to do the essential tasks
  • Your social commitments

Now, you need to guard this time and relate with it as non-negotiable – push back on all non-essentials.

Please do not sacrifice your breaks! In fact, if you already have end of year fatigue, taking breaks is even more important. If you don’t take breaks your ability to concentrate and make effective decisions will be compromised, which will just put you further behind. Whereas, taking breaks will re-energise you, reset your brain and enable you to focus again.

2. Support your physical body

Be warned, I’m going to tell you how to suck eggs – but sometimes we need that right?! You know you need to get 7-9 hours’ of quality sleep per night. So, wind down before going to bed; turn your blue light screens off one hour before going to sleep, focus your mind on positive, relaxing thoughts or use breathing techniques to calm down your nervous system.

Support your adrenal health by boosting your intake of magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B5 and B6. You can source these from foods such as leafy green vegies, wholegrains, nuts etc or good quality supplements. Avoid or cut down caffeine, alcohol, processed food and foods high in sugar. Be prepared with healthy snacks and meals easily available at home and work.

Increase your concentration levels and alertness by increasing your Omega 3 intake and drinking plenty of water to hydrate.

Take regular breaks – get up and move your body, at least every 45 minutes. Throughout the week do a combination of quick movements that raise your heart rate e.g. brisk walks, running, star jumps, dancing etc and slow movements e.g. stretches, yoga, pilates, gentle walking etc.

3. Take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing

Boost your positivity. Focus your attention on positive experiences and enjoy the moment. Actively reflect on all of the great things you’ve already achieved through the year.

At the end of each day reflect on highlights and/or have a regular gratitude practice where you discuss, write down or think of at least three things you’re grateful for.

Start your day with a morning ritual – see our blog post “How are you starting your day? The power of rituals.”

Schedule in some self-care activities, such as getting a massage, being in nature, being creative, reading a book etc. Choose activities that nourish you and give balance from work and socialising.

Practice moments of mindfulness through the day e.g. bringing your awareness to your breathing, the feeling of the sun on your skin, noticing your hands moving on the keyboard etc. These all help to bring you back into the present moment, to feel calmer and bring more balance to your nervous system.

What will you apply?

With all of this in mind – I want you to consider the three key areas:
1. Get real and schedule your time
2. Support your physical body
3. Take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing

Now, identify at least one strategy from each key area that you can and will implement. Give yourself this gift, so that you can flow into your Christmas break with energy and wellness.

If you’d like a coaching session to support you with implementing any of these strategies give me a call or send me an e-mail. I have a small number of coaching slots left between now and year end.

Nga mihi
Michelle

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