Creating A Healthy Work Life Balance In The Winter
How do you plan to establish a healthy work life balance as the cold wintry days and nights draw in? When the clocks go back one hour and the end of daylight saving means the hours of daylight become shorter, you may feel more tired, lacking in energy and motivation and perhaps you might want to wrap up warm and crawl underneath the duvet cover whenever you can.
It’s true that the further north you are in the world, the less sunlight you’ll receive in the Winter. For example, In Scandinavia, they have up to 24 days of sunlight in the summer whilst in the winter they have only four to five hours of sunlight. The lack of daylight can contribute to tiredness, depression, low motivation and less time to socialise. However, it’s also common knowledge that traditionally and culturally they value the effectiveness of a work life balance and time with friends, family and wellbeing.
Although the UK experiences nothing like Scandinavian winters, it is common to feel as though your body, mind, and spirit requires time and space to adjust to the winter months. So below are some considerations and tips for managing your work life balance using SMART daylight-saving tips.
What Are SMART Goals?
To experience change and transformation within any part of your life and career and your work life balance, you need to become consistent with devoting time and energy to your goals.
SMART goals help you to remain accountable to yourself and your goals and will help you take action steps and motivate yourself to achieve your goals.
S What are your SPECIFIC goals? What motivates and energises you and why? How do you want to feel? How do you want to change the way you feel at the moment?
M How will you MEASURE your goals? How will you know if you’ve achieved the right work life balance which is right for you? What does this look like? How will you know if you still need to work on it?
A How will you ACHIEVE your goals? Have you planned your short term and long-term goals? What action steps will you take to achieve these goals?
R Are your goals REALISTIC to achieve within the timeframe allocated? Are your goals split up into bite-size manageable chunks of time?
T How much TIME will you dedicate to your goals? How can you track your goals? Are your goals time-limited or will they change, continue or end at some point?
Create A SMART Work Life Balance Using Daylight-Saving Goals
To experience a productive, effective and energised day, you need to always start from the night before. Why? Because if you’re tired from a lack of sleep, or you feel unprepared for the day ahead then the next day will only feel chaotic, less focused and you may feel lethargic and less productive. But sleep isn’t the only factor which needs to be considered.
Do you have a physical and mental break in between work and your personal life?
Perhaps you may rush home from work or your daily tasks, only to take the remnants of your workday into your personal life. A good tip is to have a physical or mental boundary and break from work. For example, either use the travel time in between work and home as a detox time and space for you to process the day and leave anything which might be troubling you or worrying you behind. Another tip is to create a mental and physical boundary, for example, leaving your day behind as you close the door to your works space or workplace and open the door to your home or personal life. Another way to create a healthy boundary is to take a shower or a bath, or even just have a set time and space where you will physically breathe out the day and breathe in and welcome your personal life.
What do you need to prepare for the next day? How can you do this the night before?
Once your evening is underway, it’s easy to slump on the sofa. However, putting some time aside to schedule and plan for the next day is important. Ask yourself, what needs to be prepared? How do you want to feel tomorrow? What would help to be planned now, so you can feel energised and in control tomorrow morning? How can you take action steps towards planning for the next day?
Try not to give up on socialising during the Winter months. Ir’s all too easy to want to swap cold nights out for cosy nights in, but socialising is important for your own well-being. How can you set aside some time in your week to meet up with friends or family (even if it’s via Zoom or FaceTime)
How can you switch off, relax and rejuvenate?
Switching off from your day is nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, it’s vital to refill your energy levels. So, what helps you to switch off? and what’s the risk to your work life balance and wellbeing if you don’t stop to recharge?
Avoid energy depleting foods and drinks
In Winter, it’s easy to turn to comfort foods and drinks and there’s nothing wrong with this, but all in moderation. So as you reach for the bottle of wine, tin of coffee or order fish and chips, ask yourself, how do you want to feel the next day? How can you prepare your meal and drinks in such a way which energises you rather than depletes your energy? Try to ditch, cut down or healthily prepare treat foods and drinks.
How many hours of sleep do you need to function well?
Schedule how many hours of sleep you need in order to function well? Everyone will be different so it’s important to become accustomed to your time clock needs. Do you need anything to help you sleep well?
Turn off your phone and move away from any distractions
Agree to a time when you will switch off your phone, laptop and leave any distraction to charge away from your bed. Your evenings need to be warm, cosy and dark. If you need to leave the phone near to your bed, you could wear an eye mask or use blackout curtains to dim any light.
Crawl into bed one hour before you want to fall asleep.
One hour before you plan to turn the lights out, it’s good to switch off any distractions and to engage in some wind-down rituals. For example, reading, listening to a meditation sleep app, putting on a scent diffuser or closing your eyes and just being mindful of your breathing as well as the noise, sights and sounds around you.
Are your mornings rushed and chaotic? Or do you feel organised and ready for the day ahead? Yes, none of us are perfect and at times even the most well organised person will be surprised by the odd bout of disorganisation. However, it’s important to add consistency into your daily schedule. Here are some tips for the morning.
Avoid the Morning Rush For A Healthy Work Life Balance
As you allow yourself to experience healthier sleep patterns, you’ll feel more energised to rise in the morning. So, try to set your alarm one hour earlier before you intend to wake fully. Open the curtains or blind and let the sunrise in. Sit up in bed or in the lounge for a few minutes and drink a warm drink or prepare a healthy breakfast. Within this hour, you can engage in ‘me time’ even if you have a family. For example, try a mix of daydreaming, exercising, reading, meditating, relaxing or enjoy planning your schedule for the day. Take as much opportunity as you can from the daily light and if it’s too dark, you could invest in an LED light therapy lamp. Who said mornings were not fun?
If you need to travel for work or other family or personal commitments, then schedule the time you need to leave. Stress, anxiety and overwhelm can all be triggered from stressful journeys and this can then have an impact on your wellbeing and work life balance schedule.
Plan for The Day Ahead
Set yourself some morning ‘me time’ to plan your schedule for the day ahead. Split your day up into priorities and sub-priorities and an action plan. Ask yourself, what action steps do you need to take? When will you take mini breaks throughout the day? Acknowledge how you might sabotage your goals (i.e. procrastination, overwhelm or perfectionism) and ask yourself what would help to keep you motivated throughout the day.
Creating A Healthy Energised Work Life Balance Starts with You
Even if you’re still working from home or you need to travel to the office, wear clothes, shapes and colours which help you to feel confident and wear uplifting scents or purchase some room sprays or a diffuser to help lift the mood of an environment.
As the daylight fades away, you may start to feel tired and relaxed, but perhaps you still have work to finish, or daily scheduled tasks to complete. So how do you stay motivated in the afternoon?
Work Life Balance Mini Breaks
Throughout your day drop in three 15 mins mini wellbeing business breaks for yourself. I like to label them ‘wellbeing business meetings’ with yourself.
Let the Daylight In
It’s important to experience enough daylight as possible. So, throughout the day, go for a walk in the daylight or open your blinds as the day starts to become darker, perhaps even keep an LED wellbeing light lamp on your desk or wear blue light blocking glasses to prevent eye strain.
Wellbeing and Nutrition
Avoid heavy lunches and drinks which could make you feel lethargic etc. Try to also take a short or long walk at lunch to take advantage of the daylight before it disappears. A walk will also help you to take a break and return to work or your daily task with a renewed perspective and energy. Walking on grass will also help to re-connect you with the nature and help ground you.
Review Your Work Life Balance Daily Schedule
Ask yourself: are you achieving your daily goals, what do you still need to do? Are you avoiding anything? What might help you to reach your goals? Is there anything you can realistically roll onto first thing the next day or anything which you need to finish today? Before the end of the day, review your daily goals, achievements and leave a note for the goals you need to achieve the next day.
Establish A Healthy Work Life Balance and Boundaries
What time will you finish work or your daily schedule? How can you set yourself healthy boundaries? If you need to work longer at the moment, how can you pay yourself back with wellbeing time on another day?
Ways To Help With Your Winter Work Life Balance
Blue Light Blocking Glasses: can help ease eye strain when working from screens in the winter.
Sleep Apps: Choosing the right sleep app for you is really important. Whether you want to track and plan your sleep patterns or fall asleep to a sleep story and natural sounds, sleep apps can be a really beneficial addition to your sleep schedule.
Nutrition Apps: can guide you create and track a daily plan of healthy nutritious snacks, foods and drinks.
Time Management Apps: Plan your goals, stay on track and achieve your goals with a diary management app.
Chroma Yoga: In person or online chroma yoga classes combine light, colour and sound therapy techniques which can help stimulate your brain and reset your mindset and mental/physical wellbeing.
Wellbeing Podcasts: check out some wellbeing podcasts for inspiration and down-time.
Invest In An LED Light Therapy Lamp: A good LED light therapy lamp could help you to feel revitalised and could help to re-set your body clock and mindset.
If you feel lethargic, tired, unmotivated and lacking in clarity, direction and energy as the winter months draw in why not BOOK YOUR 15 MINUTES COACHING DISCOVERY CALL HERE to find out how I can help you to find your clarity, direction, focus and create a healthy work life balance which works for you! Start feeling energised, motivated, in control and live the life you deserve.