The end of the year is nigh. Virtually on your knees, soldiering on, counting down the minutes to the festive break? The candle wick almost catching itself in the middle from the end of year deadlines and frolics of parties. Ah the dream on the other side…lay-ins, movie days, drifting from kitchen to sofa, from family to friends, feasting on not needed indulgent food and drink, no agendas, to forget which day it is, to simply switch off from it all. Determined to get through, we soldier on, just a few more days. Let’s really just hope we’re not ill over the holidays (like last year or the year before?!), so we can enjoy our break right?
This is the second post in the WRAW series – a reflection on the energy pillar. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to do things here; there is a way that works for each of us, individually and it is really important that we know what those things are. At this time of year we feel like we don’t even know what energy is, so I thought it a great time to reflect on what we want to carry on doing, ditch, or do differently going into 2019. It was the strongest for me personally from my WRAW Index, so I have reviewed what I am doing that is working well and share that. It reminded me of the things I need to stick to and hopefully opens up ideas for you to try.
The subsections for the Energy pillar are:
Activity, Healthy Consumption, Sleep and Boundaries.
Boundaries – I have specific set times when I don’t work. I give it back to myself at another time if forced to dip into that space. For most, this could be not working weekends or late nights. If you do that, how often do you take time back, by going in late, or taking a half day as time in lieu? “If only” I hear you cry! However, if you don’t, how are you protecting your rest time? If you think its your employer that wouldn’t let you do that, have you asked them? Do they even know you worked the weekend, or worked late?
Plan your day in advance, so you know what you can fit in, make any compromises rationally
Think and review the “impact” – what happens if you do, what happens if you don’t in relation to prioritising those tasks
Activity – here’s my chance to shout about my Ironman exploits! I completed the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile marathon in 2017, whilst working full time. We don’t all need to do this! (Damn right you say!). During training, I was in tip top condition, physically, and mentally. The mental challenge was as important at the physical. I wrote about the benefits it brought to the workplace. I don’t go at it so hard now, various injuries got me. Consistency is key. I stick to what I say I will do, however I feel, or how much time I (think) I don’t have!
Find something you enjoy
Find the time (of day and duration that works for you)
Keep your promise to yourself
Keep really close to how you feel, and how productive you are as a result
Healthy Consumption – I haven’t drunk caffeine for about 15 years now, and if I accidentally have it, I certainly feel it impacting on my anxiety, through increased heart rate and de-hydration. This year, I cut my alcohol intake to virtually zero. I read that it is not the calories we need to worry about, but what your body is NOT doing once you’ve consumed alcohol. It might feel like you’re all relaxed, and that’s true, it is a muscle relaxant. However, what we don’t see is how hard the body is working, to cleanse from it (it is a toxin after all!). A bit like a swan, looking calm above water, with crazy feet paddling out of sight underneath, using up vital energy, often just to stay still. For nutrition, I have tried most food plans, and concluded that there is no one size fits all.
Natural food is a good method, keeping away from highly processed items and, everything in moderation
A 2% drop in hydration results in a 20% drop in productivity, so keep that water bottle handy!
Sleep – This is the one chance in the day our body gets to process everything that has happened since we woke, as well as rest and recover. I am an early to bed, early to rise person, but you may be opposite. They key is allowing ourselves that recovery time.
If you don’t sleep well, work out what you can do to improve it, or at least, build in extra rest time in the evening before you go to sleep
Get consistent over your bedtime
Find the amount of rest and sleep time you need to function effectively, and stick to it
Set your “media” limits and know your rationale for using them
Whilst the festive season may test your ability to try out some of these tips, you can start small. Which of the above could you try right now? Each small change we make will add up to great results overall!
Then, let us start planning how you will implement more for 2019. Good luck!
Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching. Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences. She helps others get productive, search for their “it” or get their mojo back to find more in life and work. She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified.
Photo credits: Photo by @raphmitten @jeisblack @robbie36 @ja_ma on www.unsplash.com