Burnout, exhaustion, stress gone too far.
For some of us last year we found ways of getting through the turbulence and we entered this year hoping that things would improve.
It’s possible that you defined last year as stressful or exhausting. I know several people who by April this year were longing for a holiday and a time to rejuvenate. I also know they wouldn’t’ have used the words burnt out.
Yet in more recent conversations and there are some early warning signs that the reserves are depleted and unless attention is paid then burnt out is the destination.
So if you’re finding yourself with less and less energy here are 10 things you can do to either stop the leaks or restore the energy bank balance.
1. Set boundaries – be clear with yourself at the very least on what you’re saying yes and no to. I did an earlier podcast on this subject. So if you want more information check out the October 2019 episode, The Benefit of Setting Boundaries at Work.
2. Do something that requires absolutely no brain power for you. For example, this could be cooking, taking photographs, swimming, even ironing. It’s an activity that for you doesn’t much thought. So it’s something that either you’re a natural at or you’ve honed your skills enough that you’re unconsciously competent. And ideally the activity should be pleasurable.
3. Do something daft or hedonistic – Next time it rains get your wellies on and go jump in puddles. Or take your ordinary bath time and add some va va voom, make it a hedonistic experience. It could be some luxury bath foam, a glass of champagne, candles, aromatherapy, music, any and all of them. Move it from a functional experience into something that lifts your spirits.
4. If life is all routine, then shake it up. Have a freestyle day, half day, even an hour will make a difference.
5. By contrast, if life is all over the place, then what can you make routine and predictable, in a pleasurable relaxing fashion.
6. Lists – I love them. In this case though I’m not suggesting you write a to do list, you probably already have one of those and a long one at that. Instead write a things I love about ______ list. Ideally do this about your work. Then see if you can schedule a day where it’s all the things you love. Not only is it something to look forward to but that day will recharge your batteries too.
7. Disconnect – always on, always available, always comparing. Ideally each day you should set a time when phones and internet devices are put away and then you can read, talk, chill, meditate or if you absolutely must binge on Netflix. On a weekend schedule a day for no social media / newspapers or email. And then stretch yourself to have a longer vacation from social media and the news. I did about 3 months this summer. I didn’t plan for it to be some long, and after the first 4 weeks it wasn’t a 100% absence, however I was selective as to what I re-introduced. And very aware of how it impacted me.
8. Exercise – dance, walk, yoga, boxing. OK so some require the gym, others you can do in the privacy of your own home. Just 20 minutes can see a positive biochemical shift in your body, which will help to reduce your stress levels.
9. Gold stars – if you can’t do this every day then do it once a week. What would you give someone in your life/work a gold star for? And tell them. Now comes the harder part, what would you give yourself a gold star for? And yes you have to give yourself one. Then allow yourself to appreciate your star as a gift. In other words, don’t dismiss, or fault find.
10. Sleep – get yourself 8 hours, it’s a magic number. Or allow yourself a mid-afternoon or post lunch powernap, 20 mins. My go to during the day is meditation, 5 mins. Works wonders for restoring balance. Slows down my mind, clarity re-emerges. In fact if you want to know more about the power of sleep then read Matthew Walkers book Why We Sleep, absolutely fascinating.
So there we have it, ten things you can do to recharge your batteries and reduce the effects of stress. Now I’m not saying you have to do them all. It would probably feel like a chore then instead of the reversal recharge that it is. So start small, pick a couple you fancy and maybe one you think is a stretch. Include them in your life for 30 days and then notice the difference. Be that in your energy levels, your attitude or your resilience.