I’m feeling a little frazzled. It’s that time of the year when I don’t seem to have enough hours in the day. The “day job” is full on - it is not only month end, but quarter end as well and the time when all the calendar-based “year end” reports have to be produced. All that on top of my usual daily workload which, on its own is usually more than enough to keep me occupied and out of mischief during my required 7.5 hours a day.
Then I have the “what I do” - which is different from the day job because “what I do” is write and perform. It isn’t work, it’s an absolute pleasure, but this is the time of the year when I have the most bookings - providing a little light-hearted cabaret after dinner or taking part in charitable events. I love it but it does mean that my days seems to start at 6am and I rarely have time to sit down in my armchair before 10:30pm because in between it all I need to fit in the household chores (although I am blessed with Lovely Husband who really does do his fair share of the cooking and cleaning); find time to do the Christmas shopping and I’m also trying to plan ahead for when family and friends come to stay over the festive season.
Don’t get me wrong...
I love this time of year, but sometimes when I feel like I’m running on empty or I’m trying to work out if staying up until 2am to get projects finished is worth doing, or whether relying on four hours sleep to get through the next day is an utterly foolish proposition, I do find myself in a bit of a slump.
That said, this week’s musing really is straight out of my “headspace”; I was contemplating this at 3:15 this morning as I struggled to quiet my brain (which refused to settle and instead just kept filling up with ideas for musings, items to add to my shopping list and, for some unknown reason, suggestions for a Christmas songs to play in the background when visitors are at Hudson HQ. Luckily I’ve discovered Smooth Christmas on my DAB radio so will rely on that and strike “compile Christmas CD” off my “to do” list).
The result was that when the light started dawning on my lumilight alarm I was already wide and awake - and already feeling exhausted.
In the past my need for a quick fix to keep me going would mean having too many large mugs of high-caffeine coffee or perhaps resorting to one of the endless “energy drinks” available. Chocolate bars, family bags of sweets and a five-pack of jam doughnuts from the local supermarket were also contenders for the “sugar rush” solution…
All of which would give me a “hit” of energy but would also end up with a sugar slump and a couple of extra pounds on the scales.
I’m not saying that I’m not tempted by “my old ways” - but since I’ve embarked on my WLR journey I’ve discovered much better ways of making sure my energy level stays up without having to suffer the plummeting lows from a quick fix. Satsumas are top of my list. I love them - and the fact that they are hard to find at any other time of the year means that they feel like a proper festive treat to me (as well providing a hit of fructose which keeps my productivity rate high). Another favourite is my bag of mixed nuts. I even make sure I buy the unshelled variety because the few seconds (or several minutes depending on how much the nut wants to fight back) it takes me to extract the kernel from the shell provides an opportunity for me to just stop what I’m doing (even if it is for a very short time) and I find the distraction helps to keep my concentrate levels on the up.
I’ve also made drinking water one of my priorities - rather than relying on fizzy drinks (I had originally switched from the “full fat” to “diet or low sugar” varieties, but have discovered that my brain functions far more effectively if I have a pint of water on my desk and remind myself I need water just as much as the poinsettia currently brightening up my desk. It’s such a simple thing - but it really does make a huge difference.
The other thing piece of “WLR wisdom” that is proving invaluable is to remember that this isn’t a race… it isn’t a sprint. Rushing and trying to do everything at once is a sure fire route to stress.
It is far better for me to take my time and approach things in a calm and methodical manner than to run at it full pelt and then wonder why I end up exhausted without making very much progress at all.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling a bit frazzled at the moment - and it isn’t always easy to take the steps required to deal with it in a sensible and effective way - but it is possible. So if you do feel yourself suffering from seasonal stress - take two minutes to assess the situation, work out what you can do to improve it; use your WLR-wisdom to make the best choices and decisions for you at that point in time… and be kind to yourself… after all this is the season of goodwill - and not just to other people.
Have a wonderful weekend.
With a hug