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Overwhelmed by ‘Silly Season’?

It is the silly season … but is it really the time to be jolly.

The term ‘silly season’ came about to describe a time of the year in which parliaments were closed and there was traditionally very little to report in the newspapers. Despite the lack of news the papers still went to print and therefore the headlines were often ‘silly’ or frivolous.

These days it feels like the silly season for a bunch of different reasons. In my work and personal life I have noticed that we seemed to be moving at an increasingly accelerated pace which grows into a ‘silly’ like momentum at this time of the year. It’s as if everything we have managed to push back, roll over, or delay earlier in the year starts to scream loudly at us and needs finishing before we go on Christmas break.

And the result, late nights at the office, a sharp increase in caffeine consumption, exercise falls bay the way side and we cling to the thought “I just don’t have enough time!” as we rush through our to do list. Are we perhaps so blinkered in getting to the bottom of the list that we have lost sight of what it is all about?

Firstly, how productive are we when we get ourselves into this state? Honestly. Yes I know you can achieve great things with a packet of ‘no doze’ and an apple mac, but really, what is the quality of the work you are sending out? It’s a hard question to ask ourselves but one worth answering. If you are like most of us then a certain level of stress is good for productivity by after a certain level it has a detrimental impact on our performance. If you’re interested to learn more about performance and anxiety read about the Yerkes-dodson law.

But its not just affecting productivity, this overwhelm could also be affecting our mental and emotional wellbeing. Basically we all have a capacity for handling stress. A bit like a bucket has a capacity for holding water. If we keep pouring water into the bucket then eventually it will spill over the walls of our bucket. And what does this look like… its different for everyone but some people experience a short fuse, tearfulness, anxiety, a feeling of panic, breathlessness, unhealthy habits with food or exercise, or a shift in your sleep routine.

There is an answer to this overwhelm and overflow. To avoid our buckets from overflowing during the silly season we can focus on building our resilience to stress. Its helpful to think of this as a release valve at the bottom of the bucket. Turning this tap allows us to implement our coping strategies and strengthen our resilience even in the face of increasing stress and pressure.

So the answer lies in identifying and implementing your coping strategies and doing this sooner rather than later to avoid a silly mess. What do your strategies look like? Tune in again next week to hear about some common coping strategies.

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