At the end of last year I was the only person in our building of 20 offices who was working over Christmas and New Year. I had a mammoth project to finish and January 8 was D-day.
Being a sun-loving, social creature, I found the prospect of two weeks alone in an empty building in the summer absolutely depressing. To make myself feel better, I took the Christmas lollies to work, treating myself to a jumbo licorice allsort whenever I was getting bored or stuck.
That lasted two days until I realised I was starting to feel a bit sick and could quickly become quite fat, as well as lonely.
I didn’t consciously keep thinking about what I could do to make my life better but all of a sudden I found I was doing things differently. Perhaps it was the change in routine and the need to stay positive.
These are some of the things that helped me stay buoyant, in case you ever find yourself battling a deadline when the rest of the world is playing in the sunshine.
Firstly, I started making the most of Spotify on my way to and from work, to make it feel better going into the office. I began with exploring 70s folk singers, after hearing some Joni Mitchell on a Christmas movie, and discovered I don’t really like Joni Mitchell’s music but adore Bob Dylan.
After a walk with the dog or stint in the garden after dinner, my husband (who was also locked in his office from nine till six) and I would hunt out a good movie or find a comedy to watch together. If there was nothing going, I would read one of three good books that I had on the go.
We also had after work get-togethers with our family. And because I was sitting for long periods of the day, I increased the amount of exercise I was doing — running early in the morning or dancing around at a step class to give myself a boost.
You might say that all of this is about work-life balance but I wonder how many people actually do all of this in their day to day lives. I know I don’t.
I usually listen to the news not music in the car, generally have a timeslot rather than unlimited time to chew the fat with family, I exercise but not enough to feel really healthy, and I love reading but too often fall into bed exhausted.
As well as completing a mammoth project, I’ve learnt a lot about what makes me feel good this summer.