3:00 AM 31st December 2021
The January Blues And How To Avoid Them
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Are you feeling the January blues? It’s dreary outside and you lack the motivation to kick start your New Year resolutions, plus you’re back to working from home. Feel Good Contacts has teamed up with business psychologist Jan P. de Jonge to offer some tips on how to beat the January slump:
New Year Resolutions
Make sure that you understand what your longer-term goal is that’s behind your New Year’s resolution. What impact are you looking for? Try to set yourself a goal that is actually doable. This will help you to make a start and it increases the likelihood of you sustaining the effort beyond the first few weeks of the new year.
Feeling as prepared as possible will help you feel less nervous and more confident. At the beginning of each week, make a work schedule. Of course, things are bound to come up at the last moment but outlining a list of tasks will stop you from feeling overwhelmed. Schedule no more than 90% of your time instead of 100%; some unexpected tasks are bound to appear, and some jobs take longer than expected. Planned flexibility is part of being prepared.
Even if you put on sweatpants and a jumper, putting on your daytime clothes will make a big difference to your mindset. If you work in your pyjamas, you’ll still be in ‘relax mode’ which won’t make you feel motivated to get things done.
Designate a workspace
If you work in bed you may be comfortable – although not for long as you may develop back issues – however, your mind probably won’t be in ‘work mode’. If you don’t have a desk, the dining room table or even the sofa are better places to work than your bed.
Create a routine
Structure makes our brains happy because the patterns and routines we don’t have to think about will allow our brain to go into autopilot. Establishing a set routine (with some room for flexibility) will give your day some structure. This should make you more efficient, productive and hopefully more at ease in these uncertain times.
A routine is just as important for your mental health as it is for your productivity levels. It can be as simple as getting up at the same time every day, reading a book or doing a workout, making a coffee and breakfast, then setting down to start your workday. Personalise the routine to work for you.
Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash
Whenever you feel anxious, stop what you’re doing and take a few deep breaths to help you stay calm. Concentrate on your breathing. Count to ten. Remind yourself that you are a valued member of the team.
Seeing the same four walls non-stop isn't good for anyone. Exercise will stop you feeling lethargic from sitting on your rump all day. Try and go for a walk or a run early before the start of the day. Another option is to exercise at lunchtime to refresh yourself in the middle of the day. If you can find time for more exercise, then why not try some deskercise? https://www.feelgoodcontacts.com/blog/deskercise
Great expectations – but reasonable
Employees who are able and feel in a strong enough position to express their wishes and expectations to their employer (line manager, boss, or HR staff) will be more able to withstand or manage unhappiness, stress, low mood, or the January blues. Even if your bosses may seem difficult to reach or not keen to listen, persist and have your voice heard in a polite, respectful, but robust way.
Try to get involved in any initiatives that your firm takes to look after its staff (yes – you!). Research indicates that activities which are created with meaningful input from the workforce, have a far greater positive and lasting impact. You can make a difference. Help shape the organisation and take any opportunity (or: seek it) to be involved in the way it’s run.
Stick to your work hours
We are well aware of how bad screen time can be for your health. So, unless you have a particular deadline that you need to hit, you should stick to your structured work hours as much as possible. It’s important to be able to relax after your workday and not keep thinking about work. This is easier to do if you shut the laptop and ignore your e-mails from the moment your workday ends.
Finally, try to organise fun and relaxing things for yourself to do after work to help you to slip more easily into ‘relax mode’.