The Winter Blues and Work Life Stresses

Do you find yourself unmotivated to get out of bed in the morning, shaking at the amount of work you have ahead of you? Or waking up in the night creating lists of everything you didn’t get done the day before? Would you be surprised if I told you, you are not alone?
What is stress?
I never really knew what it felt like to be stressed before working as an International Conference Manager, and I probably still can’t tell you what it’s like to be stressed. Everyone feels and copes with it differently.
Stress can be a number of things, it’s not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. Stressed can be caused by different elements such as:

  • Situations or events that put pressure on us – for example, times where we have lots to do and think about or don’t have much control over what happens.
  • Our reaction to being placed under pressure – the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with.

There’s no medical definition of stress, and health care professionals often disagree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. This can make it difficult for you to work out what causes your feelings of stress, or how to deal with them. But whatever your personal definition of stress is, it’s likely that you can learn to manage your stress.
Taken from Mind.org.uk
My stress
As mentioned above, stress can affect people in many different ways, but it’s how we cope with this stress that has an impact on our lives.
Being an events manager can be very stressful, always working to deadlines and when the pressure builds up, you have to learn to control it. In the USA top 10 most stressful jobs, an event coordinator is number six on the list- so I ask myself why do I do it to myself? The answer- simply because I love it!
This time of year is mega busy for us at GHI. As this time in 6 weeks, we will be in Barcelona, about to welcome 800 delegates to our Annual Conference. Someone pass me a gin!
As much as I love my job, I also loathe the amount of pressure and stress this time of year brings. My workload doubles, my working hours become longer and my health (both physical and mental) suffer. It also doesn’t help that I suffer from S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) meaning I hate the long winter evenings and waking up when it’s still dark. I crave sunlight and I feel like I need to hibernate and overeat. My tiredness levels also increase, so when I get home from work all I can think about is going to bed- I hate this feeling and so it adds to my daily stress.
The effects of S.A.D
I hate the feeling of not wanting to go to work, as I love my job, but the thought of waking up when it’s still dark outside, walking around a cold house waiting for the heating to kick in, defrosting my car windscreen and waiting for it to de-mist make me want to cry, thus creating this feeling of not wanting to work.
Don’t get me wrong, I do get up and go to work, but it doesn’t set a very good tone for the day ahead, I like to feel motivated and prepared for the day ahead, but as winter comes round I crave my morning coffee more and watch the hours go by waiting for the time I can go home.
Combat stress
There are many ways in which I cope and deal with my stress, some which may only work for me, some you can try for yourself.
Make a list
This is my golden rule, my number one must have as an events manager. When you create a list, you are emptying your mind off all the “must do’s” for the day/week ahead. No one on earth can remember everything, so when you make your list, write down EVERYTHING, even if it’s minor, write it down, it may seem silly, but that little small task will be the one you forget.
When you come home, switch off
Don’t check your emails, don’t worry about that phone call you may have had earlier in the day, don’t bring your work worries home- leave them at the front door! It is so easy if you have a work phone to quickly have a look at the emails that hit your box after you logged off in work- DON’T! This adds to the stress you have tried to leave at work, once you read that email, you will want to reply and this is a mega no, no if you want to unwind.
Talk it out…
I like to talk to myself or anyone that will listen on my drive home from work, venting about my day, the things that have annoyed me, the things I haven’t done yet and even how I should have handled a situation if one arose. Talking out in the open will help get everything off your chest. I try not to bottle things up, I like to let it all out, even to my poor parents on the other end of the phone, they have heard it all!
Do what makes you feel good
Everyone has their favourite pass times, this could be baking, cleaning, cooking or watching a box set- so when your day has been tough, come home and do what makes you feel good. I personally love baking, my husband can always tell if I have had a rough day as there will be multiple baked goods on offer for him arriving home.

Another pastime I enjoy is watching a good crime documentary, the more in-depth the better! I lose myself in other people’s world so I can forget about mine, even if it is only for an hour.
And finally
Don’t forget to sleep
Sleep deprivation is a major downer that comes as one of the side effects of stress. Overthinking at night can be a killer! When I’m feeling a little tense I like to have a nice hot shower, put on some nice clean PJ’s and have a little “me” time. Recently I have been reading a lot about Lush’s new moisturiser “SLEEPY” and how it can help relax and improve your sleep. While out shopping with my friend last night, I bit the bullet and purchased a tub, this was probably one of the best decisions I have made in a long time- this stuff is magic!

I rubbed a little on my collar bone and around my shoulder area where I carry most of my stress, I got into bed and snuggled down for the night. On an average night I normally wake around 3 times for no reason, however last night, after using the Sleepy cream, I slept like a baby! I guess its all down to the ingredients used in the cream:
Lavender Oil
Lavender Water
Lavender Flower Infusion
Ylang Ylang Oil
Tonka Absolute

I highly recommend if you do struggle to sleep to try this cream. It is in no way a cure for insomnia, but it really does help.
The roundup
Stress is a common life struggle, but it is how you cope and manage it that can make all the difference. I hope you can take even just one tip away to help you.
I would also love to hear about other ways to help combat stress!
Until next time
Ashleigh x
Written by Ashleigh Jane. You can find her on her personal blog, Ashleigh Jane, on Twitter and Instagram.



  1. Lisa McLachlan on January 9, 2018 at 5:09 AM

    I loved this post. Until I started reading it, I had no idea that I was probably a little stressed – your point about waking in the night and creating multiple lists in my head touched a nerve. I’ve been doing this for months now, to the point that I’ve started keeping a notebook and pen on my bedside table so I can write things down as they occur to me. I went freelance last year and while I’m loving it, it’s also quite a worry as you never know from one month to the next about income vs expenditure. I’m not a LUSH fan (#unpopularopinion) but as Sleepy seems to have worked wonders for you I shall have to investigate! Thank you for such a helpful post X

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

    • AshleighJane on January 9, 2018 at 7:20 AM

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Stress really is scary when you don’t realise you are suffering! I’m not a huge lush fan- to be honest I don’t get people’s obsessions and I find myself doing a lot of research into their products before purchasing. I always ask for samples before buying their products to see if they actually work for me and 9/10 I can see a difference.
      I wish you all the luck with your freelancing!

      Ashleigh x

  2. Ellen from Ask Away Blog on January 9, 2018 at 8:30 AM

    This is a super important post. I suffer from SAD too. I love your advice <3

    • Ashleigh Jane on January 9, 2018 at 10:28 AM

      Thank your Ellen. People always laugh when I mention it. But it really is important especially when someone is feeling down! Ashleigh x

  3. Abby on January 9, 2018 at 5:20 PM

    I relate to so much of this!
    Definitely need to take time out for myself, before I burnout. If anything that’s what I take away from 2017!

    Thank you for your post

    Abby (forallthatwander.wordpress.com)

    • AshleighJane on February 21, 2018 at 3:23 PM

      Thank you Abby!
      It’s so important to look after yourself and we forget about it so often!
      If you like this I’d love you to read the rest of my blog posts over on my website xx

  4. Amanda @ Anchored to Sunshine on January 15, 2018 at 8:55 PM

    Lists instantly make me feel better when I’m overwhelmed at work. After I make the list I then accomplish the most difficult task, because from there everything is up hill and easier. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    • AshleighJane on February 21, 2018 at 3:24 PM

      Thank you Amanda! I totally agree, i love ticking of items on my list- helps the day go fastest when you aren’t organised xx

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