It's at this time of year that I see more people suffering from adrenal burnout than any other. The run-in to Christmas creates a perfect storm for Kiwis to become exhausted. Why?
1 All our holiday tends to be saved up and taken in one go in January. The northern hemisphere tends to spilt holidays between Christmas and then a couple of weeks in July/August. Without a mid-year recharge, Kiwis are often exhausted come November as it's been 10 months without a decent break.
2 All our public holidays apart from Labour Day are in the first half of the year; fewer breaks to recharge mean the last months of the year can be a grind.
3 We can tend to hibernate over the winter months, less socialising and less exercising. More nights in with a bottle of red on the couch. Which means our bodies are more out of shape, and more prone to tiredness and burnout when the sun starts peeking out in October.
4 Christmas perfectionism. The drive to create the "perfect" Christmas can drive some people to exhaustion with endless arrangements and shopping.
5 Deadlines on projects. Because of our traditional January shutdown there is a firmer deadline at Christmas than in the Northern Hemisphere.
Where a project there might be intended to be finished by Christmas, everyone knows it's not the end of the world because people will be back at their desks from January 4 or so. When it's more like February 4 before your full team is assembled, there is enormous pressure to get things completed before Christmas. Cue overwhelm as the mad scramble to the finish line begins.
How can we arrive at Christmas without being in a crumpled exhausted heap? By taking a few conscious moments now to put some wellbeing strategies in place to avoid it. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1 Use a day's annual leave and create a long weekend in November or December. Reach Christmas with a bit more gas in the tank after a recharged long weekend and short four-day week.
2 Diarise your exercise between now and Christmas. Make that weekly class a locked-in commitment. Diarise the walk with a friend every Tuesday morning so you know you are committed to it, no matter how crazy Christmas deadlines get. Prioritise your health and wellbeing NOW before things get crazy.
3 Dial down a bit of the Christmas perfectionism. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just needs to be a great time with people you love. It doesn't matter if
the wrapping matches or there are four varieties of festive ham on offer. Cut a few corners by choice, and don't sweat the small stuff. Noone will notice but you, anyway!
4 Look at the deadlines on your projects and see if they really all do need to be complete before Christmas. Can you break things into smaller chunks - a Phase one delivery before Christmas and a phase two after? Can you negotiate some different deadlines rather than have everything requiring completion at the same time? Look at how you can proactively reduce the pressure NOW rather than waiting for the inevitable time crunch that manifests around mid-December.
5 Be smart with your food choices: drink plenty of water, all the stuff you know about that keeps your body energised and strong.
6 Feeling tired is a message from your body that you need to rest! Listen to it and make a point of going to bed half an hour earlier to give you the extra boost you need before the tinsel comes out.
If you think you might be heading towards adrenal burnout, take the simple quiz at louisethompson.com/fatique-quiz/, and get hold of the other resources Louise has to support your route back to health and vitality.