So many people I speak to recently (myself included) are telling me they are feeling fatigued and their energy levels are low. Given how much change we have had forced upon us, and our general levels of stress and anxiety, this isn’t surprising. Add in the threat of an impending global recession, firms pausing recruitment, pay rises and promotions is it any wonder that so many of us are feeling rather luck lustre right now? Therefore, in this post I want to help you reset your energy levels, reduce your levels of fatigue and find your inner bounce again.
Be realistic with what you can achieve
I will admit it. I was one of those parents. You know, the one who thought that they could combine a full working day, keep their house sparkling without the normal cleaner visit, pick up a new skill or complete a big personal project, and homeschool their kids so that they returned back to school way ahead of where they would have got to had they still been in school. I know, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it when you read it back. But I’ve spoken to so many people who are now frustrated that their adrenaline fuelled intentions are just not coming to pass. I haven’t met a parent yet who hasn’t quietly admitted that their kids are having far more screen time than they would like. So let’s get real here. Now you know the reality of what lockdown really means, it is time to reset what you can really achieve.
Set a structure and routine to the day
In my recent post on how to set a structure and routine for the day I talked about how to set a structure and routine for the day. With so much change being forced upon us our brains are working overtime. We don’t have the luxury of many established routines or habits now we are working from home for our brains to use. As a result it can’t work on autopilot, and is having to do much, much more energy-zapping thinking. Therefore, the quicker you can set up a structure and routine for you and the whole family, the easier it will be. When things become easier it does help you to fight this fatigue and recover your energy levels.
Recognise and accept you are on a journey right now
What most people are experiencing right now with their low moods, fatigue and low energy is fairly typical of being at the low point on the emotional cycle of change. (See diagram for the emotional cycle of change). We are in that “valley of despair”. Sadly with the way the world is right now, we don’t really have the option of giving up and going back to work in the office. That adrenaline-fuelled buzz of good intentions about how great working from home was going to be? How much more productive you were going to be because you were not commuting or having to be taxi driver to your kids? That’s classic uniformed optimism at play! I think its fair to say for most of us we went into lockdown and social distancing measures thinking this was just going to be a 12-week blip. But the reality that is taking hold is that until a vaccine is found social distancing is part of our life for the next 6 – 18 months. (And possibly even longer…) So even if you believe that you are now starting to climb out of the valley of despair, do realise that this journey we are all on has some wrong turns. And that’s OK. The sooner you can get into a position of acceptance about what is happening around you, rather than getting emotionally involved with what is happening around you, you will start to recover your energy levels.
Confront the brutal reality
You only have to read any of the legal, accountancy or consultancy trade press to get bombarded with news that yet another firm is delaying its partner profit distributions, cutting partner pay, freezing recruitment, pausing promotions and pay rises, asking staff to take a pay cut or work reduced hours or laying off staff members. It makes very sobering reading. Sadly worrying about what might happen is a quick way to burn out. If you are going to fight fatigue and recover your energy levels you have to confront head on the brutal realities of the situation most professional service firms face. We know, here in the UK, that commercial property, residential property, real estate, aviation, non-food retail, travel, tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors are going to be very hard hit over the forthcoming months. There is a risk that some sectors or service lines could faced decimated demand for potentially the next year or so. Remember from earlier in this article, about the sooner you can get to acceptance the sooner you can fight this fatigue and get your normal bounce back. If you are going to get to the nirvana of acceptance you have to confront your realities. Only then can you start to plan a way out of it. And with that planning comes a renewed sense of optimism and energy levels.
Look after yourself
With everyone else seemingly wanting a piece of is at the moment it gets very easy to neglect our own needs. Self-care is essential if you are fighting fatigue and low energy levels. At a simple level this means:
- Prioritising sleep (see 9 tips to help you get a great night sleep)
- Eating healthily (see 6 tips to eat and drink your way to reduced stress levels)
- Exercising daily, and in particular incorporating some daily stretching or relaxing exercise such as yoga or pilates
- Allocate some time for you to recharge your batteries.
Limit the amount of time you spend in online meetings
Did you think by working at home you would reduce the amount of time you spend in meetings? Me too. But what seems to have happened is zoom has overtaken my work AND home life. For example, last night my son took part in the scouts “Big Camp At Home” initiative so was on a zoom call with 80 families from the local scout troops and packs. At the same time my daughter was participating in her online karate class. After those calls had finished I then hosted the weekly quiz with my husbands’ family. Therefore, where you can control, see if you can reduce some of the online meetings you are being asked to participate in. (Here are 18 tried and tested tips on how to run effective online meetings whilst working from home.)