With the dark mornings, dark nights and frosty temperatures in full swing, it’s getting easier and easier to hit that snooze alarm each morning – especially with the morning commute having been taken off the table. Climbing out of bed and heading out for a run each morning seems even more difficult than usual this year, with nowhere to go but the living room and nobody to see outside of our small social bubbles. With nearly 10 million jobs furloughed in the UK and the unemployment rate sitting at 4.8%, many of us are left without a schedule or sense of purpose, with a lack of motivation and structure sending us into a state of apathy.
Winter tiredness is common at the best of times, but with increased anxiety levels having an impact on quality of sleep, the current global health crisis really is taking its toll on our physical and mental-wellbeing. Whilst we hope to return to some form of normality in somewhat near future, we still have quite a bit to go and need to find effective ways to combat feelings of exhaustion during the coming winter months.
Firstly, this may feel impossible, but sleep must be improved. Having a good sleep-wake routine will make this more manageable. Force yourself to get up and go to bed at the same time daily (no matter how well or badly you have slept). Avoid the temptation to keep pressing the snooze button – how often do you sleep well during these short periods anyway? Try and separate from your bedroom during the day – we know it’s temping to work in bed, or catch up on a tv programme, but this should be a place where you go to fully wind down and go to sleep. Let some natural light into your workspace, this will keep your mind and body more alert, and make sure to go out for a walk at lunchtime.
Managing anxiety is key in allowing your body and mind to switch off, so that you can wake up feeling well rested the next day. Look after your physical health – maintaining a healthy diet will make a significant difference to your mood and energy levels, whilst exercise can be extremely helpful in boosting mental energy through the releasing of endorphins. Meditate before you go to bed, or whenever you feel yourself feeling anxious throughout the day. This can produce a deep relaxation state and a calm mind by observing and better understanding your thoughts and feelings. Meditation takes practice and using a guided meditation tool like Headspace is a great place to start!