We might have left school years ago, and the days of a new school bag and pencil case are long gone, but somehow, September still seems like the start of a new chapter for many of us. Read on for our top tips on how to beat the September blues!
For some people, September can mark the start of a new exciting phase of the year, but for others, it's an awkward time.
"Even if we left school a long time ago, September feels like a time to be more serious and that can instil a sense of anxiety," says Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK. It's not all bad though - psychologists say we thrive on routine since it brings structure and offers us a chance to be around people.
"After a period of relaxation there's the stress of a new academic year, or work getting busy, but also healthy routines and habits," says Dr Sherylin Thompson, a counselling psychologist.
There are lots of things we can do to help ease us in to the Autumn months - and they don't involve buying new stationery (although that could always help too!)
1. Plan ahead. Be prepared for your daily tasks and challenges by arriving early at your desk, rather than rushing in at one minute before an important meeting. When you arrive early use the time to write a to do list for the day, starting with the 3-5 most important tasks. If you prefer, you can incorporate this planning time at the end of the day instead – this can also be a good idea in terms of helping you to switch off when you go home.
2. Stop regularly. Taking breaks is particularly important if you’re working with a heavy workload or in front of a screen. It just won’t be helpful for you to sit and push through a huge list of tasks without stopping, as you will probably skimp on some as you get more and more exhausted. Allocate several times in your day when you can switch your mind to ‘off’ for 10 minutes. Take a walk around the office, go outside, or read something. You’ll be much more productive when you return to your screen.
3. Listen to music. Some people can’t work with music, others find it very motivating. Low-volume music, especially classical music, can be useful when it comes to helping you function and drowning out other noises in the office. Plus, your IQ actually rises when you’re playing classical tunes through your headphones so you can get smarter simply by listening.
4. Don’t be too email-responsive. When a new email notification pops up leave it until you’ve finished your current tasks, don’t allow yourself to be distracted or you might find that you never get to the end of what you’re trying to do. Allocate a time to check your email and wait until you’ve finished what you’re doing, even if it’s a message from someone you really want to hear from.
5. Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water next to you at all times and try to drink from it regularly throughout the day. You’ll look and feel better if you’re properly hydrated and it will help with your concentration too.
6. Eat lunch. However, don’t eat it while you’re working, as you’ll barely chew your food and get no benefit from the break. Take a lunch break every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes and use it to get away from your work mindset. Exercising at lunchtime is a great idea, or you could see friends, read or just take a quick walk.
If all else fails, go out and get yourself some nice new office supplies - a splash of colour and a fancy new pen could do wonders for your office motivation!