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It’s dark, it’s wet, the sparkly Christmas tree is gone, you’ve got no money and it seems an awfully long way till summer. You’ve arrived at January. After the manic rush of December, everyone is gearing up for the new year, but it’s only week one and your energy levels are already flagging. What can you do? Workingmums.co.uk has some tips.
1. January is the time of year dedicated to making plans or strategising. If you’re not booking yourself onto a course, checking out jobs, thinking about launching a business or planning the summer holidays, you may be preparing a marketing plan or creating a business strategy for the year ahead. You may feel that your whole life is one long strategy meeting punctuated by short bursts of sleep. This should mean January is the month for you. It’s time for all those planning skills to come into their own. Get out the Excel spreadsheets and get to work.
2. Alternatively, use the dark nights to stock up on sleep and don’t make any unrealistic new year’s resolutions. They may provide a temporary sense of control [if you can recall what control feels like since you had children], but it is fleeting. By February most people have given up any resolutions they ever undertook. It might be better to ease yourself back in and then consider long-term changes when [if] you get some time to yourself. While everyone bangs on about reviewing your life over Christmas and New Year, working parents know that this is often the least relaxing time ever and that the combination of Santa duties, toy assembly and the inevitable bout of sickness is not conducive to clear thinking.
3. Try to give yourself small treats to get through the dark days of January. This is the time to call in favours and bag a half hour for a long soak in the bath or a walk to the shops unaccompanied. Even 10 minutes of clear headspace between work and home can work wonders for your mood. Walking home from the train, parking a bit further away or parking and walking round the block before you go through the front door could give you the time to switch smoothly from one world to another. Put some soothing music on the headphones and remember when you had time to know who was in the charts.
4. Remember that January is the month for feeling like you are recovering from a long, wild party, even if you now don’t have the time to sleep off the effects. Take it easy and pace yourself. You’ve got through the first week back. Celebrate, but maybe not in the traditional manner due to aforementioned lack of recovery time. Treat January as a month-long recovery project and don’t overload it with activity.
5. If you are making any new year’s resolutions try to make them ones that are actually useful, like giving yourself a break from the unrealistically high expectations that are pushed at women all the time.
6. Remember that the return to routine is a slow business. If you’ve managed to get the kids to sleep before midnight and into school more or less on time, consider it a huge success.