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Unworking, social jetlag – and why you should keep the Christmas lights on!

First week after the break! I hope it’s been a peaceful and relaxing one for you and all those you care for. Time to look back with thanks and imagine where you’d like to be this time next year – reading this I hope!


Circuit break

If you’re dreading your commute to a gloomy office, perhaps it’s time to Unwork.

This excellent review by Jeremy Myerson and Philip Ross considers how more and more of us are making different choices about what work means and how and where we do it – Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office.

The book points to the wellness industry as a multi-billion dollar enterprise that has, to quote Tom Savigar become a ‘tsumami of stress’ in itself. The book explores the idea of workplace well-being as a balance between personal resources (‘who you are’) and organisational systems (‘where you work’), with design and a sense of personal control as a critical component in physical and mental health. For us lighting bods, it has some interesting things to say about the trend to make the workplace more ‘clubbable’ and the growing role of theatre lighting in workplace design, referencing an earlier book by Imogen Privett about the potential for spotlights, screens, levels and coloured vistas to create drama and mood at minimal cost – Life of Work: What Office Design Can Learn From the World Around Us.


Back to school

After a week of late nights and lie-in’s your body clock is likely to be  free-wheeling and dreading the return to the early morning routine next week. Social jetlag, or a difference of more than an hour between work and weekend schedules is linked to depression, metabolic disorders, increased risk of long term degenerative conditions and even road traffic accidents – How can social jetlag affect health?

So what can you do?

  1. Ease yourself back into the routine, shifting mealtimes, bedtime and wake up times by 15-20 minutes.
  2. Switch off screens and listen to a podcast instead – like this one from Russell Foster.
  3. Open the curtains, get outside – even if it’s hammering with rain,  your brain will get the benefits of wavelengths that artificial lights just don’t deliver – like low-dose UV –  Vitamin D-independent benefits of safe sunlight exposureand infrared – Near-Infrared Light and Skin: Why Intensity Matters.


Keep the lights on – and your spirits up!

The 6th of December, 12th night or the coming of the kings, is traditionally a glum day when Christmas decorations come down. And yet, as this fascinating piece in the Tablet explains – Why it is time for an epiphany over Christmas decorations, we may be missing a trick.

The epiphany in orthodox religions is in fact the high point of this season of celebration of the earthly manifestation of the divine. Michael Carter argues that you have every right to enjoy your favourite twinkly decorations until Candlemas, or the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 2nd of February, forty days after Christmas day itself. 

I’m not suggesting you keep the Father Christmas and reindeer lighting up the night sky (and burning up your electricity bill) but a gentle glow in your living room might bring a little cheer to dark winter afternoons. 

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