A lot of productivity techniques, such as timeboxing, are really helpful if you have (more or less) control over your time.  Others, like minimizing distraction are helpful for absolutely everyone. But when it comes to our wellbeing, if we can’t schedule time to cook healthy food, move our bodies or even sleep, how do we look after ourselves? If you work in a job where tasks can come in at 10pm or you have an entirely reactive role, this post is for you.

  1. Take real breaks whenever you can. Whether it’s going for a 10 minute walk when there’s a lull in work or dedicating 15 minutes to eating away from your computer, even small breaks can bring down our cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which is beneficial to our wellbeing. As my brother, who works very long hours in finance, pointed out to me this week, you either eat quickly and then work quickly, or you eat slowly while you work slowly.  If you’re nervous about doing this, just send a quick note to your team to let them know.

  2. Prioritise sleep. We have a whole blog post about why sleep is so important, but it’s vital to remember that it’s more important than all other wellbeing boosters. So, if you have a choice between waking up earlier to workout or sleeping, choose sleep. Similarly, try to improve the quality of your sleep by winding down with relaxing activities like gentle yoga or reading rather than watching TV or scrolling on your phone.

  3. Breathe. No matter how busy we are, we can all take 30 seconds every now and again to breathe. Similarly to taking a quick break, this will bring you out of your stress response (and in case it needed saying, being constantly in our stress response is not good for our overall wellbeing as it lowers immune, cognitive and digestive function). If you need  more tips about how to use your breath effectively, take a look at Sarah’s blog post on it.

  4. Don’t feel guilty if bad habits creep in. If you need multiple coffees or the occasional sweet treat to get through the day, don’t beat yourself up about it. If and when things ease up, you can re-establish healthier habits and use our guide to break the spiral.

  5. Let people know if you’re struggling. Whether it’s a trusted colleague or someone outside of work, if you can’t actually cope it’s always good to talk about it. They may not be able to change the situation, but it’s always beneficial for our emotional wellbeing to talk when things are tough.

There are still many lines of work where long or unpredictable hours are an inevitability, from finance to hospitality to the emergency services.  If you fall into one of these categories and you think you could benefit from some additional support, feel free to drop me an email at kathryn@wellandtrulyworkshops.co.uk. In the meantime, I hope these tips help!