by Angela Bagum, Interim Head of Nursing for Children, Young People & Families (CYAF) and Gender Services and Specialist Clinical Work Focused Practitioner (Business Development Team) for Add |Wellbeing

This time of the year can see us slow down in our activity at work and in our personal lives – I think most people can relate to the January blues in the Northern Hemisphere – Christmas is now behind us and we are left with the seasonal cold weather, creating the need to stay warm, eat more and limit our physical movement. We may want to hibernate, even! Not feeling particularly motivated can leave us feeling further frustrated, especially at a time when there may be an expectation to be working towards a new year of resolutions and workplace goals. But how realistic is this?  Aware that our external environment of nature is showing us something different. This winter lethargy may be part of a process of winding down in a bid to prepare for gathering ourselves back up, in Spring and letting us know we don’t need to over exert ourselves. Instead, why not gently lean into this by:

Trying to do what the NHS suggest as managing winter tiredness by:

  1. Getting some daylight (where we can)
  2. Getting a good night’s sleep
  3. Regular exercise (this could be a walk around the block)
  4. Eating sensibly (this can be difficult when it’s cold outside and we naturally want more heavier stodgier foods but perhaps trying once a week something that offers us vegetables and protein)
  5. Taking care and relaxing can be done by starting to:

NOTICE:  how are you feeling today about yourself, what are you noticing over the next few days.

ACCEPT: where you might be in yourself and do not set unrealistic tasks in the workplace. See small things as “good enough”. This might require some communication about letting others know where you are in relation to the feeling – try team check-ins for example. It may even open up a discussion in the workplace about managing change in a time of Covid which has seen constant adaptation. These things may also apply to home life too; try not to put too much expectancy on yourself and let family members know how you’re feeling as well.

SELF-COMPASSION: find ways to be kind to yourself that is about being present for you and in turn will support colleagues around you too.

RECOGNISE OVER TIREDNESS: If it feels that this lethargy is more than just a slowing down, then the NHS suggest speaking to your GP as to determine possible winter depression (Seasonable affective disorder), anemia and other possible fatigue related conditions.

So show some self kindness and don’t try to beat Winter tiredness, but accept it and find small ways to help manage how you feel. Spring isn’t too far away after all…..

Link to NHS advice here