Does December and your summer holiday feel like a long way off?
Are you noticing more tiredness?
Have the energy levels in your team dropped?

It’s that time of year again when the pace of a busy year can start to catch up on us, and ironically, it’s also the time of year when everyone wants everything done before the Christmas/New Year holiday. Plus, there are end of year social engagements to fit in somehow…

What can we do to keep our energy levels and productivity up over this time?

Ramp up our physical health care

Quality sleep, nutrient dense food, plenty of water, more exercise all help. So does reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine we consume. (Ironically, more coffee and wine may be what our body craves when we are fatigued, but we are just asking our body to work harder processing these, which will only create more fatigue.)

It can be hard to stick to healthy habits at this time of year, particularly when we are tired and busy. What helps?

  • Planning – how will I exercise, eat well and get enough sleep today?
  • Rewards and challenges – which one works for you? Would a team challenge be useful right now – with rewards for clever ideas that help?
  • Support – get a colleague/friend/family member to join you in your planning or challenge setting, or to nudge you to do it.

Boost our emotional wellbeing

Experiencing more positive emotion helps to buffer us from the end of year pressures, and helps us to recover better from fatigue. Moments of joy, satisfaction, connection, hope and anticipation have this effect, so do experiences of awe, gratitude and love.

Make it a priority in your day to do the things you know will give you these moments. Cuddle your partner before you leave for work, savour your coffee rather than rushing it, pause to enjoy the sunshine on your face walking to a meeting, make a colleague a cup of tea, tell someone how proud you are of the deadline you managed to meet, listen to your favourite music.

What works for you? How do you get such emotion boosts even when everything is hectic?

With your team

Make time to check in with everyone – depending on personality styles, this may be best as a team or individually.

  • Check in on levels of fatigue and how people are coping.
  • Validate and acknowledge that end of year fatigue is common and understandable.
  • Review work projects and priorities – do the priorities align with business/team priorities? Are timeframes realistic or do they need adjusting?
  • Problem-solve, ask for ideas and suggestions – what can we do better or differently to dial back this fatigue or make it more manageable?
  • Encourage recovery breaks, and model good strategies yourself!!