There is something both exciting and exhausting about December. From an industry perspective, it is one of the most hectic times of the year — whether you are trying to wrap up for the year or preparing for a big Christmas sale, promotion, event or deal. And from a personal perspective, December is filled with drinking, late nights and food out, with work, with friends and of course, with our families.
But as we try to balance a successful ending to the year and some time off to celebrate the holidays, how can we make sure that January can actually be kickstarted in a fresh way?
For many of us, the Christmas break is something we look forward to in a desperate bid to catch up on sleep and restore our energy for the new year, but it’s important to you should be conscious of your method of catching up on your sleep.
The thing is, while it may seem intuitive to work hard throughout the year and use the weekends and holidays to restore our close-to-burnt-out selves, what you need the most is consistency, and that sadly might not be an entire week spent in bed.
If you really want to restore your energy levels throughout this Christmas period, then it’s all about routine. Instead of fitting Christmas, and generally speaking, holidays and weekends into your routine, you need to fit your routine into that time off. This means that if you normally wake up at 7 in the morning, continue to let your body wake you up at approximately that time. This is because our sleep-wake cycle is controlled by circadian rhythms, which act like our body’s natural clock. And circadian rhythms are anchored in consistency; light changing throughout the day controls them and therefore maintaining a rhythm to our routine helps our system stay on track.
When we sleep in we think that our body is catching up with lost sleep. Instead, this confuses our circadian rhythms and causes our sleep-wake cycle to tilt in one direction. Ever noticed that Monday is often the most tired day of the week? Or that coming back from holiday is often married with an extremely fatigue-infused week back at work?
So this Christmas, as you prepare for a fresh new year and maybe some resolutions too, try to listen to your body. Let yourself wake up at the same time you normally do during a work week while enjoying time with your family and friends, but remember that going to sleep at a consistent time is as important as waking up at at roughly the same time.
It might seem like a chore, yet staying in a routine throughout Christmas and new years could have a palpable positive impact on your energy levels in the weeks to come. See how you feel on the first day back at work in January. Keeping a work-week routine throughout the holiday season might just positively surprise you.