“The dark nights are drawing in, the weather is getting colder, the heating is coming on. It’s that time of year again when summer has come to an end and we are on the run up to Christmas.
“Many love this time of year, enjoying the autumn colours and cosying up with a fire on. Other however, find this time of year hard. Driving to and from work in the dark, having to dress according to the wind, rain, snow, and cold.
“A lack of natural light and of course, a change of vitamin D to our bodies is often to blame for this. You can take supplements, but always get advice from the GP for yourself before doing so. And if it is leading to a condition more in line with depression then please do speak with professionals. If, like for many of us, it just creates an apathy and lack of motivation though, there are some things I would recommend trying.
“Firstly, if you can, change your routine. Try getting up an hour earlier and going to bed an hour earlier. This can give you more natural daylight and can also mean more restful sleep, which is a mood enhancer of its own. Always aim for at least 8 hours.
“Next look at your diet. Try to include good mood foods that feed your soul as well as your body. Warming home-made soups, comfort food and lots of warm drinks to keep your hydration levels healthy. Seasonal vegetables grow at certain times of year to give us the nutrients we need, so lots of root vegetables and leafy greens added in will give you vitamins needed. Calcium is also important at this time of year when your bones may feel stiffer due to the cold.
“Make sure you keep active. The inclination is to snuggle into bed, or curl up on the sofa, but make sure you aim for at least 20 minutes a day walking at your most comfortable pace, breathing in fresh air. Wrap up accordingly, and make sure you stretch and use every muscle in your body as you move. If you can do this in daylight hours all the better, but if not, an evening stroll has great benefits too. The air clears your mind, is good for your lungs, and keeps your immune system working.
“Find some good stimulation for your brain. Don’t just watch TV when not at work. Try reading a book, listening to music and maybe some puzzles, suduko or cross words keep your mind healthy and active. Also keep a journal. About work, about home, aspirations, what you are struggling with and most importantly, what you have achieved, from the smallest wins!
“At work, focus on small chunks of work at a time. Keep lists. I have a weekly and a daily list which I update constantly. Memory tends to be less sharp this time of year and it’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss anything important. Try to do face to face meetings where you feel safe to. Seeing real people and getting out and about is a great natural endorphin release, as well as being better for our bodies than sat on a chair at a desk all day.
“Focus on colleagues needs as well. Helping others lifts our own moods and makes us perform better too. If you are struggling, speak to your line manager and find some solutions. If you are a leader, find a peer to talk to and make a plan to support yourself. Lots of mentors can help with losing momentum at this time of year, and sometimes, just having a friendly ear makes all the difference anyway.
“Start some new career development or training. Set yourself a challenge and immerse yourself in it. A new qualification, a new self-taught skill, a target, a personal best. A goal helps keeps the mind fresh and focused, but remember it’s not about the result, it’s about the journey!”
“Most of all, be kind to yourself and to each other. Support and care and we will all thrive better. God bless you all!”
Blackie’s portfolio is impressive, with big names including Kevin Keegan, Rob Andrew, Jonny Wilkinson, Jonathan Edwards and Glen McCrory endorsing the former Newcastle Falcons and British Lions rugby coach. He now works with companies including Cascade Cash Management, The John McEnroe Academy and Fairstone to name a few.
More information is available at www.steveblack.co.uk