“While burnout obviously has something to do with stress, overdoing things, not being centred, and not listening to yourself or your body, one of the deepest contributors to burnout, I believe, is the deep disappointment of not living up to your true calling, which is to help.” – Jenn Bruer, ‘Helping Effortlessly: A Book of Inspiration and Healing
Have you ever experienced burnout? We all want to do well. We work hard, we play hard, we do our best to make every aspect of our life successful. Sometimes, however, as resilient and valiant as you may be on your quest for a happy and successful life, your body crashes out.
The pursuit of getting your life right doesn’t have to involve burnout. In fact, if you take steps to avoid burnout you may find that things run a bit smoother. Rest, reflection and pacing are just as important to keeping yourself on track as those times where you have to cram things in or hit the ground running. Here are a few neat tips on how to keep yourself trundling along; how to sustain your resilience and avoid burning out completely.
1. Recognise That Pain Does Not Equal Gain
Some people I know have been known (one of them might be me) to see tiredness as a badge of honour; a sign that extra effort has been put in or personal sacrifice has been made in order to make a thing happen. Sometimes working overtime is unavoidable, but the attitude that tiredness is a positive thing is not a particularly good one. First of all, rest is extremely important; it ensures that your mind and your body are healthy enough to function efficiently. The idea that if you haven’t burnt out you haven’t worked hard enough is an unhealthy one, but one that is extremely common. Know what rest you need and do your best to get it.
2. A Genuine Day Off
If you have a day off, make sure you do exactly that. Many a time I have taken a day off and spent it feeling guilty that I am not being productive with my time. The fact is that rest is productive. If you worry about what you aren’t doing on a day off your brain never gets a chance to relax and recover. You’ll go back to work the next day not feeling rejuvenated at all. When you decide to spend a day doing nothing, enjoy a day genuinely doing nothing. Your resilience reserves will thank you for it in the long run.
I never used to think I needed holidays until I went on one after a particularly busy year. When on holiday you have no choice but to put the issues of your day to day life to one side, for there is little you can do about them when you are in another country. It is an opportunity to get out of your head; a time for reflection and recuperation. I always return from a holiday feeling energised and inspired about the time ahead. Some of my most successful ideas have been born from the brain space allowed me by a holiday. Holiday’s can be much more than a luxurious frivolity; they can be truly invigorating.
4. Don’t Underestimate ‘The Power Nap’
Power naps are excellent. 20 minutes spent with your eyes closed might seem like a waste of time, but I can assure you that it is not. Not only does this allow for a surge of energy when the 20 minutes is over, but it is a bit of time in the day where you can shut out all external assault on your senses and enjoy some peace. We are constantly bombarded by stimulants throughout the day, if you can find 20 minutes in the to shut your eyes and be quiet you’ll be very pleased you did.
5. Clear Parameters
More and more we live in a world where work hours are much more flexible. We are constantly contactable, meaning texts, phone calls and emails can come to us at any time of the day. And, with the rise in remote employment and freelancing, working from home is more popular. These things mean that parameters between work time and leisure time are becoming blurred. Before you know it, you find yourself on call 24/7! If you are one of these people, set yourself working hours. Setting yourself a cut off may be one of the most liberating things you ever do, and will make a huge impact on your resilience in the long term.
By Chris Thomson
More tips on workplace resilience techniques right here: How to Boost Your Workplace Resilience
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