professional development

How will you cope with “that time of the year”?

Brian Gardner /

So, how are you feeling?

Wondering where 2012 went? Why does everyone want to speak to you now, just before you go on leave? Must your major client insist on a full business review now? Is the number of invitations to end-of-year celebrations just crazy?

Welcome to “that time of the year”!

You are not alone in feeling frantic, and a persistent sense of unease that you have forgotten to buy this, email that, or call someone important.

You may be interested to know that there is a mood disorder associated with “that time of the year”: it’s known by the rather appropriate acronym of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). We used to think it only applied in the northern hemisphere and was associated with the lack of sunlight during winter. Now we know all sorts of people suffer classic depression symptoms – including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, social withdrawal and decreased sex drive – during the change of seasons.

If you do feel classic depression symptoms, it’s time to visit your GP.

But if you are suffering garden variety end-of-year exhaustion and frustration, here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – do:

  • Do: Dance to your own tune / move to your own rhythm.

Don’t: Listen to the endless ads for Christmas shopping or go every social occasion you are invited to.

  • Do: Make time to prioritise what MUST be done this year, and move whatever you can to next year. As my lovely wife often says to help me with prioritising: is it life-threatening?

Don’t: Try to do it all.

  • Do: Relax

Don’t: Be rushed into a decision because someone has decided it must be made before the end of the year.

  • Do: Make time for yourself and people close to you.

Don’t: Worry about what the Jones’ are doing, or where they are going, or what they are buying.

  • Do: Make space in your diary for the important things that will pop up unexpectedly.

Don’t: Stop exercising. Breath.

Don’t: Convince yourself that everything you have to do will actually get done.

  • Do: Slow yourself down, take time to count your blessings.

Don’t: Focus on what you don’t have.

  • Do: Be kind to yourself.
  • Do: Enjoy the weather, the cricket, the water, the warmth.
  • Do: Make it your time of the year!

So, what do you do to cope at “that time of the year”? I’d love to hear from you!

OK, now I need to practise what I preach: no more calls for the rest of the day, and no, Ms Editor, I can’t write just one more blog …

Shalom!

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