How to get through the end-of-year slump

Health TipsOctober 27, 2022

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As we enter the last quarter of the year, you may be gathering the last bit of motivation to help complete those year-end deadlines, projects, and goals. While a much-needed break or holiday may be top of mind right now, grit and tenacity will get you through the final push, so you finish the year strong and on a high note. 

Doctor of psychology Timothy J. Legg reviews an article in Healthline that describes the end-of-year slump as feelings of demotivation, poor energy levels, and a general loss of productivity. You may not know where to begin tackling the workload when your creativity and inspiration take a backseat at a time when the work continues to pile up.

But is there a way to get out this rut and move forward with renewed vigour, despite the lowered energy levels? Experts share these survival tactics to help beat the slump before it sets in.  

1. Focus on self-care 

“If you are feeling burnt out, tired, disheartened and frustrated then you need to take care of yourself before you can do anything to move the business forward,” writes small business retail expert and The Resilient Retail Club founder, Catherine Erdly in Forbes.

Healthline recommends focusing on these self-care practices to “refresh your mind and body”:  

Practise “mindless relaxation”,
Take “breaks from difficult projects” and “time off when you feel burnt out”,
Partake in “regular exercise”,
Spend “time with loved ones”,
Have “regular, balanced meals”, and
Get “plenty of quality sleep”.
These self-care practices “can boost energy and motivation,” allowing us to adjust our work routines for increased productivity and focus, Healthline adds.

2. Boost energy levels

According to Medical News Today, a few habits that can help boost our energy levels when feeling drained towards the end of the year include getting sufficient quality food intake. “If we don’t consume enough calories, our bodies may feel tired, as they don’t have enough ‘fuel’ to run on. At the same time, however, if we get too many calories, there’s a system overload, and we may end up feeling sluggish.”

Balancing our calorie (kilojoule) intake is necessary for maintaining our energy levels for productive workdays. 

3. Celebrate achievements 

Tara Well – an associate professor of psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University – warns readers of the “Zeigarnik effect” in a Psychology Today article. According to Well, the Zeigarnik effect occurs when we focus our attention and “tend to remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones”. 

Erdly suggests making a list of all our achievements from the year. “Celebrate your highs, your best-selling products, the interesting and exciting projects that you’ve been involved in”, she writes. This activity will help “build a positive picture that will remind you of how far you have come and put you in the right frame of mind to move forward”, she states. 

4. The “brain dump” 

Well states, “We have a cognitive bias to focus on what’s wrong rather than what’s right.” And can easily become overwhelmed by focusing on our problems, using up our mental energy, which could rather be used for proactively coming up with solutions. 

Erdly proposes a “brain dump” by writing down the top three problems you are experiencing at work. “Now take the top three issues that you feel are having the biggest impact and spend a further five minutes on each one coming up with some ideas about how you can tackle them.” This activity allows us to focus on the major issues to help us “come up with some proactive solutions as opposed to feeling overwhelmed by a seemingly endless list of problems in your mind,” writes Erdly. 
If the end-of-year slump has arrived early this year, why not try these activities to help you stay focused and motivated? If you’re still struggling to cope despite trying these self-help tips, consult your mental health professional or an appropriate wellness contact within your organisation for further assistance.