If you’ve been in the workforce for a while then you’re likely to already be familiar with the phenomenon of ‘burn out’. In basic terms, it refers to that point you sometimes reach where you’re well and truly past giving a crap and all you feel is exhausted. Your enthusiasm for work is non-existent, you might dread getting up in the morning and generally feel a bit numb or depressed on a daily basis. The only thing that gives you a flicker of hope is daydreaming about losing your job or spontaneously running out of the office and not stopping until you get somewhere warm without service. Unfortunately, part of being a functioning adult involves living in the real world. A more realistic approach to overcoming burn out is, of course, the eternal pursuit of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Here are the best ways to do that.
Treat yourself like your favourite person (or favourite anything)
Why is it that we take the wellness of our friends, family members and pets much more seriously than that of our own? We’ll urge other people to go to the doctor’s at the sign of a slight sniffle while we ignore our debilitating pain, and will happily tell them ways that they could improve their life without considering making these changes ourself. We even worry about giving our plants enough water than our own water intake. Try to shift your perspective so that you’re analysing your life from an objective, third-party position. This way you’ll give yourself the same advice you would anyone else and hopefully make more beneficial choices as a result.
Shake your environment up
For those who are under the pump, all that time spent rushing in traffic to get to the gym or that café on the other side of town can be a significant time-waster. It can also be a nightmare trying to find the space and equipment to set up a work station.
Coworking offices help you out by providing you with everything you could possibly need to get the job done, from high-speed internet to every type of cable-thingy imaginable. On top of that, some offer features like pools, fully-functioning gyms, and cozy indoor communal spaces or large balconies to serve all of your outdoor entertaining needs. In other words, you never have to leave if you don’t want to (although you really should go home, that would be weird).
They look after everything so that you can focus on what is really important to you.
Have a solid morning routine
I know, I know. You’ve tried waking up earlier, you’ve tried eating a better breakfast than a latte and some corn chips, but it’s hard. Getting up for work in the AM often looks more like the grinch arising on Christmas than a Neutrogena cleanser commercial. You’re not always going to feel motivated to make time in the morning for yourself, but that’s OK. All it takes is a little action (like moving one leg out of bed or brushing your teeth) and then BOOM, you’re on a roll. The trick is not to think too much, just get going and the motivation will build. Getting up early and taking the time to exercise, breath in the morning air and start the day at a calm pace is essential to keeping your spirit alive. It’s a daily snippet of ‘me’ time that replenishes you and gets you ready to face the day ahead.
A lot of us like to think that we’re tough and don’t need breaks because we can power through the day like machines. The truth is that we never strayed too far away from that toddler who would inevitably have a tantrum if they didn’t get their lunch-time nap. Our brains are wired to work better when we take frequent breaks from concentrating, otherwise, we slowly start crashing like a computer with a corrupt hard drive. It can be hard to stop working once you’ve started, so set a timer on your phone to take a 10-minute break every hour and try not to have lunch at your desk (it’s OK to look up from your screen for half an hour). Use your break to do something that’ll help rest your brain (like meditating), or will help you feel re-energised (like going hard on the skipping rope or walking around). Most importantly, if you think you can’t spare 5 minutes then take 10 because the pay off from taking a break will get you working more efficiently than if you’re overwhelmed anyway.
Look after your body
If you’re nice to your body, it’ll be nice to you back. Drinking too much coffee and alcohol is going to exhaust you and send you into minor spirals. Sugar is a drug that’s dressed up to look cute and innocent as it deteriorates your health. If you lessen your consumption of these things and get some greens into you then you’ll be rewarded with more energy and a more positive and stable mood. Sleep is another essential component of being able to function properly and should be taken seriously. Get some fresh air and your heart pumping every day so you don’t turn into a desk zombie. Get a hold on your screen-time at night and set an alarm to go to bed. These are simple things that aren’t news to anyone, but they can be hard to remember and make yourself implement. Take this reminder as an opportunity to take action today.
Connection is Key
A big symptom of burn out is feeling disconnected. As human beings, we thrive on feeling connected to ourself and our surroundings. This includes finding purposeful work which brings you joy and aligns with your core values; actively participating in your community so that you feel supported and a part of something; listening to yourself by meditating and staying aware of your emotions, and last of all spending time in nature to gain perspective and remember your place in the wider universe.
Looking after yourself in this chaotically busy world ain’t easy and you’re probably never going to get it 100% right. The point is to keep trying and you’ll slowly make progress and avoid completely burning out.