How to recover from career burnout

Career burnout is pretty self-explanatory. It’s when we burn ourselves out to the point where we have lost the love for our work, it all seems a bit pointless, and we don’t have the energy to even flick on the switch of the kettle, never mind ploughing through a full day of work.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Feeling constantly tired and drained.
  • lack of enthusiasm and motivation for anything.
  • Anxiety and worrying about everything.
  • Insomnia, loss of appetite, and depression
  • loss of confidence in yourself.
  • Getting sick more often and for longer.

Why does it happen?

Career burnout can happen for several reasons, and it’s usually due to a couple of reasons rather than a single cause. Here are a few reasons why you may be suffering from burnout:

  • You’re not doing something you really love
  • You’ve lost sense of your purpose and your ‘why’
  • Your life priorities have changed
  • Your surroundings have changed
  • You’ve changed – but your role hasn’t
  • You don’t fit in your company culture
  • You don’t get on with colleagues
  • You’re being held back or your own beliefs are holding you back.

For many, the pandemic made people realise that they weren’t doing what they love or what they were doing just didn’t fit with reality anymore. This can lead to a lack of motivation and drive, and in extreme cases, anxiety and depression.

How to recover from burnout

If you’re suffering from career burnout, use this opportunity to really understand the cause and make impactful changes. Here are a few steps you should start with:

  1. Identify the cause of your burnout – is it you, your job, your company or your lifestyle? For example, are your personal needs being met with your work? Is your current role fulfilling enough? Do you fit the company culture and get on with colleagues? Does your current job fit with your lifestyle and priorities?
  2. Start making changes – work out what you would rather do instead (either by making your own lists or using online tools). Consider changing careers or approaching your manager to make some role changes. If your lifestyle has changed (e.g. if you’ve recently had a baby), find ways to adapt your role, to work more flexibly, and balance your priorities.
  3. Always prioritise your self-care – you should be doing this consistently anyway, but especially if you’re suffering from burnout. Make sure to take a break (and actually switch off). Try to have at least a week where you sleep for 7-8 hours a night, you exercise for 30 minutes a day, and you eat and drink healthier things that give you the energy you need.  When you’ve done this, try to make this your normal routine.

3 magic steps

That really is it. Don’t suffer from burnout any longer; waiting will only make you ill.

To recover from burnout, identify what is causing it, don’t be afraid to make the necessary changes, and always look after yourself. Change is scary but in this case, it is good; it will ensure your happiness in what you do on a daily basis and for a very long time to come.

Help your employees prioritise self-care

Self-care is arguably more important now than ever before, with the pandemic & cost of living crisis causing stress levels to reach new heights. If you want your employees to be at their best, this means that you need to start encouraging employees to focus on their self-care. If you don’t, you will have a very stressed and burned out workforce who will turn to negative behaviours to cope.

Why the need for self-care?

People are suffering from stress and burnout and it doesn’t seem to be dissipating.

  • A survey by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Harvard Medical School found that 55% of respondents said they were more stressed in May 2020 than they were in January.
  • According to mental health charity, Mind, the Office for National Statistics revealed that depression rates doubled during the pandemic (in June 2020, 2% of adults experienced depression in that month alone compared to 9.7% of adults who experienced it between the period of July 2019 to March 2020).
  • A Korn Ferry study revealed that 73% of American professionals were feeling burned-out and the top reasons cited were no separation between work and home and unmanageable workloads.
  • Older research also commissioned by Mind found that 57% of the people surveyed drank alcohol after work to cope with stress. In addition to this, 28% said they smoked cigarettes, 16% took prescribed sleeping aids, and 15% took antidepressants.

As you can see from these statistics, employees are not coping with the constant stress and strain that has been the past 2 years; such a situation is unsustainable. To prevent it from getting worse and to nurture the health of both your employees and your business, you need to promote self-care and proper stress management techniques as part of your culture.

8 ways to encourage self-care

  1. Understand your employees’ needs – discuss self-care with your employees and ask them what they want or need. How can you help them create a better work-life balance? Which elements of their work do they love and what to do more of? Are they struggling with something that you can help them with e.g. prioritising their work to reduce anxiety?
  2. Make the effort to meet physically – especially with staff members who are working from home or hybrid working, make sure you meet up with your employees for a physical one-to-one. A cup of coffee or a walking meeting can do wonders.
  3. Practice what you preach – whatever you are promoting as self-care, make sure you are leading by example! It could be properly switching off at the weekends, walking during your lunch break, meditating in the mornings, eating healthily or getting a good nights sleep for a few days in a row. Whatever you’re doing, schedule self-care into your calendar, share your efforts, encourage and motivate people to get involved and be their inspiration.
  4. Encourage them to write their to-do list the night before – writing lists helps reduce anxiety, so if this is done the night before, we can sleep better and wake up raring to go. Encourage your employees to do this. It not only helps with productivity but also facilitates better prioritisation and focus.
  5. Actively help individuals with time and stress management – a big source of stress for many workers is not having time to do everything they need to. As we all know, this is usually due to poor time management rather than not having the time in the first place! To help your employees work more effectively, give them the information and tools they need to succeed. (e.g. ever heard of The Pomodoro Technique?).
  6. Offer flexible hours and/or an outcome-based model – to facilitate a better work-life balance, give your employees the chance to create their own flexible schedules. If you do this and set clear goals and KPI’s for what they need to achieve, you will see an improvement in productivity and job satisfaction.
  7. Remind your employees to use their benefits – do you offer your team flexible working hours, discounted gym memberships, a study allowance or any health-related benefits? If there is something that could help them relax, develop and re-find their mojo, you need to motivate them to take advantage of these benefits. Even if it’s just taking the afternoon off to recharge!
  8. Always show your appreciation – acknowledging employees and their accomplishments and showing them how much you value what they do can seriously help with productivity and motivation. We all know how much of a difference it makes when someone gives us a job well done – it lifts our spirits and makes our week. Self-worth is a big factor when it comes to stress, anxiety and general mental health, so make sure to recognise your employees and their efforts as much as possible.

Your employees are your greatest asset!

Employees are the life force of your business. They are the foundation, the cogs in the machine, so you must take care of them. If you don’t, cracks will form! Start investing in self-care now and you’ll see that your team, and your business, will be far stronger and resilient in the long run.

Christmas picture

How to combat Christmas stress in your workforce

Although Christmas is a magical time of year full of celebration and quality time with family and friends, it can cause stress too. Beyond just the pressure of gift buying and financial stress, the month is a lot shorter and there’s an increased pressure to meet deadlines, hit end-of-year targets, and attend additional social functions. And that’s not even mentioning the stress that comes with hosting people for the actual holidays!

According to the Health and Safety Executive, approximately 50% of all work-related illnesses in 2019/2020 were caused by stress, anxiety or depression. And that was without the stress that comes with the holiday season. Too much stress at work can lead to bigger problems for your employees – impacting productivity, morale, and wellbeing – so as an employer, you need to think about how you can support your team through this time of year.

To help combat Christmas stress (so that rather than burn out, your employees come back in January refreshed, engaged and motivated to get going), here is an essential checklist.

Your ‘combat Christmas stress’ checklist

1 . Plan Christmas-themed activities

If you have your team in one office, get everyone to decorate together. An easy group activity such as this can be very therapeutic. As well as decorating their own desks, you can also arrange festive activities such as Secret Santa, Christmas jumper day, and of course, the office Christmas party.

If you have a remote team, think about how you can bring the team together and nurture festiveness. Can you send the whole team gifts which will be opened together at the virtual Christmas party?

2. Help staff manage their workload

Time management is a big source of stress in December, so can you help your employees with this? Since the season has fewer work days but the same amount of work, help your employees plan ahead as much as possible so that their productivity isn’t affected.

Another option is to outsource or take on temporary staff over busy periods.

3. Maintain effective communication

Is everyone doing okay? Do your employees need anything from you to make this time easier on them? Make sure to increase your communication with your employees this season or at least maintain effective channels when things get busy.

One of the most important things to communicate during this period is when everyone will be taking their holiday. Help your employees communicate this to each other and also to their clients! If everyone is clear who is off and when in advance, then things won’t build up right before Christmas and your employees can properly switch off without worrying about what they are coming back to.

4. Help staff reduce their financial stress

Financial stress is one of the biggest pressures during December, so think about the ways you can help your employees with this. Can you give your employees an end-of-year bonus? Or other financial rewards such as gift cards or vouchers? Can you recommend finance planning apps for budgeting? Or get a financial expert to come in and run a workshop on “holiday budgeting” or “how to avoid overspending”?

5. Encourage healthy eating and exercise

The holiday season is full of rich, unhealthy foods and drinks, all of which can reduce mood and energy and increase stress and anxiety. If you want your employees to come back in January healthy and raring to go, help them to make wiser food choices.

You can start by offering healthier food at the company Christmas party and encourage the team to compete over the holidays – who can eat healthier and log more steps? Maybe you can all do a food or exercise challenge together?

6. Check for signs of anxiety/depression

Is anyone displaying signs of social withdrawal, anxiety, depression or grief? Keep your eyes open for the tell-tale signs and be prepared to give extra support to these people.

Christmas and New Year can be a lonely time for people, especially for those who have recently lost a loved one, so be aware that some may need alone time while others may feel isolated and will need encouragement to get involved.

Other things you can do is to maximise natural light in the office and encourage employees to take vitamin D!

7. Encourage work/life balance

Can you offer your employees flexible hours or to work from home this season? If your employees can schedule work around their personal lives, you’ll see a huge difference in productivity and wellbeing. Even if it’s a simple as allowing people to work earlier and leave earlier, so they can take care of their children or finish their Christmas shopping. A good work-life balance is essential for mental and physical wellbeing.

Pave the way for a prosperous New Year!

The more you can reduce stress in December, the more productive the New Year will be, so help your employees. Help them manage their workload, their client expectations and their work-life balance. Think about how you can help to reduce their financial stress and always keep an eye out for anyone who is struggling.  If you do this, you will combat Christmas stress and you’ll have a full team who switched off during the holidays and have come back refreshed, motivated and raring to go.


Leaves surrounding the title

4 steps to coping with overwhelming anxiety due to the coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of us to suffer from worry and anxiety over these past few months. Whether it’s been worry for our jobs, our families, our health or the uncertainty of the future, there has been a lot of negativity and panic and worry to be had. As the effects of the pandemic aren’t wearing off any time soon, we wanted to outline 4 steps that you can take to manage your anxiety as, if it’s left unchecked, it can build in the background and quickly overwhelm your everyday life and relationships.

Step 1 – Understand that anxiety is a normal reaction

With all the uncertainty and panic that is surrounding us right now, our brain’s natural response is to worry and to churn this worry around until we find a solution. The problem with that is that there is no real solution to the fears that plague us yet.

To deal with the anxiety that we feel, we first need to understand that this response is just a ‘protective mechanism’ in our brains. This is normal and we can change it.

Step 2 – Identify what is making you anxious

When we accept that this anxiety is normal, we then need to identify exactly what is making us anxious. Perhaps it is constantly hearing negative news? Perhaps it’s worrying about our finances or our children’s lack of education?

Whatever it is that is causing you to worry, identify it and write it down. After just a week, you should see a pattern emerging.

Step 3 – Take control of what you can

Some of these worries that you have will be practical worries and some of them will be hypothetical (the ‘what ifs’). Tackle the practical worries first.

Look at your list of things that are making you anxious and create an action plan for each one. Can you avoid any of your ‘anxiety triggers?’ Perhaps you can limit your exposure to them or you can outline steps that you can take to make them less of a worry.

When you’ve addressed all your practical worries, implement meditation and mindfulness into your every day routine to help with the hypothetical ‘what ifs.’

Step 4 – Put your self-care first

To help cope with stress and anxiety, you need to be sleeping well, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, exercising often, and taking time out to switch off and recharge.

If you take care of yourself then you will make better decisions and you will build positive habits.

Alarm clock

How to be productive when you feel restless or run down

The changes and stresses caused by the pandemic are taking their toll on all of us. It’s been almost a year now of being stuck indoors, working from home, juggling priorities, and potentially having to home school the children at the same time. I don’t know about you, but is it any wonder that we feel tired and run down?

This ‘new normal’ has a lot of us feeling run down, but at the same time, restless. It’s a horrible combination and it’s affecting our productivity. To help you get back some control and normalcy in your life, here is a quick guide.

Identify if your body needs a reset

Yes, sometimes, we can all procrastinate; we can all feel a bit fed up and tired every now and then. This is normal. What isn’t normal, is if you’re feeling this way every day. If you’re feeling any or all of the following as soon as you wake up and throughout the day, every day of the week, these are signs that your body is run down and in need of a reset:

  • Your energy is low
  • You’re not eating very well or healthily
  • You’re having digestion issues
  • You’ve got cravings (typically for high-sugar snacks)
  • You’re moody, anxious or irritable (more than normal for you)
  • You’re not happy with your weight
  • You feel like you need to make a change

How to reset your body so that you can be productive again

Make time for self-care – this should be your absolute priority when you feel run down, exhausted or restless. It may be really difficult to prioritise yourself when you feel so overwhelmed, but be tough with yourself and do it anyway. Without properly managing your physical and mental health, you simply can’t perform at your best. Get more sleep, exercise more, eat healthier, and dedicate some time to activities that ground you (e.g. meditation, journaling, meal planning etc).

Shift your mindset – productivity should be any ‘task’ that requires your time, energy, and attention. This includes any ‘chores’ that need to be done in the house and even exercise. Schedule these into your day and you’ll find that you’ll feel much better and more accomplished when you come to the end of them.

Prioritise and time-manage – first, start a time diary to figure out where your time is actually being spent. Do this for a week and it will help you be more mindful about how you spend your time. Once you have done this, you can establish an ideal schedule for yourself. Maybe you work best early in the morning, so start early and finish early. Once you have a schedule, prioritise your tasks. What are the tasks that are urgent AND important? What tasks will give you the most bang for your buck? Do these first.

Focus and take regular breaks – sitting down and focusing for long periods of time are not good for us. After all, our concentration is limited! To stay productive, try to use focus periods. Try the Pomodoro Technique where you work for 25-minute blocks followed by a 5-minute break. This will help you maximise your focus time and will force you to take repeated breaks. This technique is a good one for when you feel run down or tired as 20-25 minute blocks are easier to tackle than thinking you have the whole day to get through!

Avoid distractions and things that deplete your energy – distractions kill our productivity. It’s true – every distraction (no matter how small), causes us to spend the next 20 minutes trying to get back into the task we were doing in the first place. Turn off your phone notifications while you work and create an office space at home that is away from family members so that you can focus. It’s also a good idea to identify what drains your energy. Maybe it’s scrolling on social media or listening to friends rant about their situation or all the negativity that’s on the news. Whatever it is, avoid it so that you can use what little energy you do have on what matters.

Engage with people and get help if you need it – even if your team is working virtually right now, engage with them. Tell them that you’re struggling and converse with them. Conversations can boost mood and productivity so try to socialise even if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes, just sharing your worries or hearing that others feel the same is enough for you to feel better, but if it’s not, consider seeking further help. Whether it’s a business coach or a therapist, they can help you develop a plan and take back control again.

Dont be too hard on yourself

We have all gone through or are going through this, as we speak. It’s a difficult time and a truly unique time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re feeling restless and run down and worried about work and your productivity, the first thing you need to do is take care of yourself and talk to someone. This is the most important thing to do. The rest comes later. Only when you feel better can you start to work better, so prioritise you.

Alarm clock and eye mask

How to combat Zoom Fatigue!

Out of all the ‘new things’ that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought about (social distancing, lockdowns, and global remote working to name but a few), Zoom Fatigue has to be among one of the most frustrating effects. If you’re finding video calls exhausting and you’re barely managing to finish your day, you may be experiencing Zoom Fatigue. Here is what it is and how to overcome it.

What is Zoom Fatigue?

In short: ‘exhaustion caused by constant video calls.’ Although it’s not really an official diagnosis, psychologists have said that Zoom Fatigue is a real condition and that it is becoming increasingly prevalent in the era of remote working.

Why does it happen?

So what is it about video calls (whether on Zoom, Google or Skype etc) that makes us so tired?

Like most conditions, it comes down to a combination of factors:

  • Video calls require more mental processing than face-to-face interactions.
  • They force us to focus more intently on conversations in order to absorb information.
  • Our brains have to work harder to process many of the non-verbal cues that we rely on in-person (body language, tone etc).
  • Millisecond delays in audio can negatively affect our interpersonal perceptions.
  • Staring at a screen and trying to hold direct eye-contact for minutes at a time without any visual or mental break is tiring.
  • Seeing our own reflection makes us hyper-aware of our appearance and body language.
  • Many people use this time to multitask or they get distracted by other tabs on their screen.
  • Many of us are under additional stresses due to the pandemic (e.g. financial, health and/or family pressures) so we are already operating on our energy reserves.

How can I overcome it?

While you may be working from home and are having to participate in a lot of video calls (and there’s no avoiding this), there are a few things that you can do so that they aren’t as taxing. Here are a few things that you can try:

  1. Stop multitasking – trying to do something else at the same time as a video call (like checking your email) will only increase your fatigue, so avoid multitasking!
  2. Take breaks – you need screen-free time during the day so make sure to take breaks between meetings. If you can get outside, even better.
  3. Reduce on-screen stimuli – hide ‘self-view’ so that you’re not distracted by yourself on camera. Also close all other tabs, social media sites and your inbox.
  4. Make meetings shorter – if you really have to have a meeting, it doesn’t always have to be a long one. Try scheduling shorter time slots and make 30 minutes the default.
  5. Switch to phone calls or email – be honest with the person and say that you need a break from video calls, so would they mind a phone call instead. You might find they need the break too.
  6. Make virtual social events opt-in – while you may be organising virtual social events to bring your virtual team closer, always make them opt-in so that people who want to join can, but they are not obligated to.
  7. Set your own boundaries – start saying no to video calls that aren’t valuable. If someone wants a video call with you, give them other options to choose from.
  8. Schedule in ‘no meeting’ time blocks – your calendar can easily become overwhelmed with video calls, so block out some screen-free time to prevent this.
  9. Use technology to your advantage – we have so many ways to communicate, can you use What’s App or Loom to send a recorded/audio message instead of having a meeting?
  10. Practice mindfulness – breathing exercises, yoga or meditation can help you re-energise a little. Take a break throughout the day to find what works for you.

Don’t overexert yourself

Video calls can be really draining so don’t let them take over your day. Start by setting your own boundaries, prioritising yourself and how you wish to communicate, and schedule in screen-free time to recharge.

Everyone is trying to work at their best from home during such a difficult time, so if this means postponing a few video calls for your health, then do it!

How to recharge your batteries

How to recharge your batteries

Whether a post-lunch slump or screen fatigue, we have all experienced an energy drop during our working day.  For a quick recharge, try some of these tips to increase your energy levels without that caffeine fix!

Tip 1 – Keep Hydrated

Dehydration is the most common cause of fatigue and when working on an all-engrossing piece of work, we can often forget to keep our fluid levels topped up.  When experiencing fatigue, drink a small glass of water and take a glass (or refillable bottle) back to your work area to keep you topped up for the rest of the day.

Tip 2 – Make a playlist

Whilst many have a playlist to help them with exercise, we don’t do the same for working.  Create a playlist that you find energising for those times you need a boast and consider a playlist as background to help maintain energy levels whilst you work.

Tip 3 – A breath of fresh air

Whether a short walk or more rigorous exercise, even 10 minutes outside and away from your desk will help restore energy levels.  If possible, being outside in a green space is even more beneficial.

Tip 4 – Change your focus

If you are finding a task draining then temporarily swap to a task that gives you energy.  Alternatively, rethink how you are tackling the task, is there another way that you would find less draining?

Tip 5 – Try a brainteaser

Sudoku, brainteasers, quick quizzes, crosswords, dingbats; the options are endless.  If you are someone who enjoys a puzzle then taking a short break to indulge in this hobby is likely to recharge your batteries and enable you to return to that task with renewed vigour.

Tip 6 – Talk to someone

Having a call or video call with someone who has a positive outlook can help boost your own energy levels as well as ensuring you keep in touch with those that matter.

Tip 7 – Give yourself a reward

If you have a task that does not allow you to try any of the above techniques (due to tight timelines) then give yourself a reward for completing it.  From taking the rest of the day to do a task you enjoy or even taking some time for yourself to that cupboard treat you have been resisting all week, a reward can renew energy through the added motivation it gives.

Additional Tip – Being mindful of your energy levels and the energy needed for particular tasks

Understanding your own body clock and those times of the day where your energy is at its highest and when it drops and tackling tasks that suit those energy levels will help reduce mild fatigue that is often experienced.



How can I support my team through the current global crisis?

As most working professionals spend a third of their time at work, it’s been a massive adjustment for the millions of people who have had to start working from home. With many other stressors and worries piled on top of this, it’s no surprise then that this has had a major impact on the health, happiness, and the wellbeing of those employees.

For a thriving business, you need thriving employees, but not many people are thriving during this time. Therefore, to keep businesses afloat during the current global crisis, it is the responsibility of the employers to support their employees and this includes their mental wellbeing. Here’s how to do just that.

The 3 Ps

1. Prioritise – the health of your team

You need to create the right conditions to help your employees feel empowered and supported during this stressful time. You can do this by:

  • Taking advice from the World Health Organization and region-specific public health authorities such as the CDC.
  • Measuring and tracking the stress of your team via surveys and then offering help to those who need it most.
  • Providing consistent and clear objectives to give your employees a sense of control and purpose.

2. Promote – positive habits

Anxiety and stress can lead to the formation of bad (and unhealthy) habits. To help your employees deal with this stress, encourage the formation of positive habits such as:

  • Making a weekly and daily plan of action.
  • Sticking to their daily routine as much as possible.
  • Self-care activities such as meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises.
  • Taking regular breaks to properly ‘switch off.’
  • Limiting their use/exposure to social media and the news.

3. Practice – compassion and empathy

Some of your employees may have lost loved ones or they may be suffering from anxiety or depression during this time. To support them as best you can, here is how to be a more compassionate and empathetic leader:

  • Check-in with your employees regularly and keep an eye on their energy levels.
  • Listen to how they are feeling and encourage sharing when your team communicates.
  • Pause and give yourself time to respond to certain situations rather than reacting to them.

How can I reduce my stress?

As 2020 nears its end, it probably would be described as a very stressful year for many people. Perhaps, for some, the most stressful year of their lives. Covid 19 has literally turned the whole world upside down. First and foremost, many have lost their loved ones, in the most awful of circumstances; not being able to visit in hospital, or perhaps being able to attend a funeral or have their family around them to grieve. Many have been left very ill in the still unexplained ‘long COVID’. Then there are the wider effects of social isolation and loneliness as we are forced to stop meeting with our family, friends and community. O.K so we have zoom or the telephone, but it zoom isn’t available to everyone and even that is just not the same as face to face interaction. Then we have work; many find themselves unemployed and in financial hardship, and those that own their own businesses facing challenges that a year ago were unheard of.

With a vaccine on the horizon there is light at the end of the tunnel, but in the meantime how can we control the stress that we feel. As we know long term or chronic stress is bad for us. Unhealthy levels of stress release high amounts of hormones like cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline which trigger various reactions in the body such as hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, chronic inflammation and reduced immunity. The hormone Oxytocin on the other hand is known as the ‘anti-stress’ hormone or ‘love-hormone’. Oxytocin is the reason you fall in love with your newborn baby and why cuddling and nurturing feels good. Both hormones have essential functions in your body but they should work in balance.

kitten hanging off sofa

Make one simple change rather than trying to tackle it all at once.

So how can we help ourselves during these incredibly stressful times, reduce stress and stay healthier? There is much we can do, but it’s important to take baby steps and change one thing at a time. If you try to do too much at once, the changes won’t stick, and you’ll find that you just end up more stressed.

Recognise what is causing your stress by asking yourself these questions.

  1. Are you trying to do too much? What can you say no too?
  2. Are you getting enough good quality sleep?
  3. Are you taking time out to relax and take care of yourself?
  4. Are you eating well to give you energy to tackle the day to day?

We have all heard the metaphor ‘you cannot pour from an empty cup’ and this is true, if you take care of yourself, you will be more able to take care of others. How often have you found that the more ‘stressed’ you become the more things start to unravel at work? You can’t concentrate properly, people seem to annoy you, you become more forgetful? Then when you get home, you find yourself tucking into the chocolate, bickering with your partner or shouting at the kids?

Take control of one thing at a time, and the changes soon add up.

Take sleep for example. Lack of sleep has the same effects on the body as stress itself, so not getting enough or good quality sleep is going to make you feel stressed before the day even starts! Lack of sleep is also likely to make us crave more junk food and affects our memory, attention and decision-making abilities, as well as making us more emotional.

Tips for good sleep


Get a good dose of sunlight every morning for at least ten minutes. Going outside is best, but you can even just have your cuppa by the window. The exposure to the light helps set your body clock.

Stop using devices an hour before bed. Just as the exposure to the morning light affects our body clock, we are more sensitive to the ‘blue’ light in the evening and exposure to it through devices tells our body that we should be awake. If you can’t resist, get blue light blocking glasses.

Write down your thoughts before you go to sleep. Often when we go to bed, we have a million things going around in our head, getting them down on paper can ‘offload’ our brain enabling us to sleep.

Do not eat 3 hours before bed. Eating late is a stressor to our bodies, so eating earlier helps us to move out of a stress state into a ‘thrive’ state.

Avoid liquid stress. A glass of wine is tempting after a stressful day and as alcohol is a sedative, we often think that it helps us to sleep. But alcohol disrupts our sleep and wakes us more during the night, it also blocks our deeply restorative REM sleep.

Avoid caffeine from midday. One quarter of a cup of the coffee you enjoyed at lunchtime will still be in your body at midnight!

Saying No!

It’s so easy to overstretch yourself and to feel pressured to say yes to everything. Take some time to work out your boundaries so that you have got time to say yes to the things you love such as taking a bath, reading a book or going for a walk. Remember, doing the things you love balances out the effects of stress.

Getting to grips with time management can make time for self-care

Saying no is easier if we have a plan. Evaluate your daily and weekly tasks and don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. For example, can you delegate other members of the family to cook on some days? Or perhaps put on a load of washing. Giving people specific tasks on specific days can be more successful than a ‘it would be nice if….’ Which might get overlooked!

Schedule in time with friends and family (even if it is on zoom), this is just as important as the other things in your day!

Alarm clock

Wake up 30 minutes earlier. Sometimes having some time to ourselves first thing in the morning can give us that space we need to feel refreshed and revived. You could journal, meditate, stretch or go for a walk, or even just have that few minutes of calm before the day starts.

Schedule your times for checking your emails and scrolling social media. You’ll be amazed how much time you can save when you do this!

Taking regular breaks at work can help you feel alert and well and focused.

Make time for being active and getting outside because fresh air can impact your overall health. Can you park a little further away from work, or pop out for half an hour at lunchtime or kick a ball around with the kids when you get home?

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Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Often, ‘what to eat’ can be a source of stress in itself. There are a thousand ‘diets’ on the internet telling us what to eat drink and when to eat and drink. It shouldn’t be this complicated. And it’s not. What is important is for us is to eat a wide variety of foods that are as close to natural as possible. If we eat whole foods when we are hungry, we won’t need to snack on ‘junk’ foods. The best way to do this is to plan our meals ahead of time for the week. Some people prefer to ‘batch cook’ on the weekend. Shop for these meals and organise who is cooking them on which days. If we do this, the odd ‘treat’ or ‘take away’ won’t matter so much. It’s being in a good routine the majority of the time that makes the difference and the more organised you are, the less stressful it will be.

Remember the important thing is to tackle one thing at a time and to turn it into a habit. Maybe make a list of what you would like to change and introduce one new thing each week or even each month. Small changes add up and looking after ourselves really matters.

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How to stay positive for your family and your team

How to stay positive for your family and your team (even if you are scared and worried too)

Do you run a business where you’re responsible for your employees’ wellbeing? Do you manage a team at work? Do you have children or vulnerable family members who depend on you?

Whether you said to yes to just one or all of the above, having people depend on you, especially during such a difficult time as now, can quickly lead to burnout. If this happens, who will you be able to help then?

To help you stay strong so that you can be there for others during this time, here is how to stay positive even if you’re scared and worried too.

3 steps for staying positive

Step 1: Deal with your fear and anxiety first

You need to let go of the negative feelings draining your energy first before you’re able to feel positive and expend this energy for others. Here are a few ways that you can do that:

  • Seek community and support by talking to friends and family or joining a support group online.
  • Get your news and facts from reputable resources but limit your exposure to news and social media.
  • Plan your daily routine and stick to it to maintain a sense of structure and normality.
  • Prioritise your own self-care and practice mindfulness activities such as yoga and meditation.

Step 2: Train your brain to think positively 

Our brains are wired to protect us, therefore sensing ‘threats’ and thinking ‘negatively’ are often a reflex response. To overcome this, you need to train your mind to think differently. Here are a few ways that you can do that:

  • Believe a positive attitude is a choice and start to focus on positive thoughts.
  • Rid your life of negativity by limiting your exposure to the news and people who think negatively.
  • Practice positivity every day by writing down things that you are grateful for.
  • Look for positivity to reinforce it in your life. You can do this by re-framing things that happen in a positive way (e.g. finding the silver lining).

Step 3: Share this positivity with others 

Only when you let go of negative feelings that are a drain on your energy can you be there for others. Here are some of the best ways you can help others:

  • Check-in regularly and really listen to them.
  • Be empathetic and share what works for you.
  • Help them to be more positive in their lives too.
  • Spread kindness as much as possible and show your appreciation for people with words and gestures.