By Line Lyster, Director of RedlineCompany.com
Would you start a marathon with a sprint?
Of course not! It would be madness to expend all of your energy in the first 5 minutes almost as soon as you are out of the blocks leaving you trailing out of breath for the rest of the race. So why is it that as humans we tend to rush everything we do? The answer is that it seems to be imbedded in our nature, we are taught to be fast, efficient and not to dawdle, so we can do as much as we can.
The problem is that all the rushing around has an adverse effect on our mental and physical wellbeing, leading us hurtling towards ‘burnout’.
So, what exactly is burnout?
A burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that is brought on by long periods of unrelenting stress. The effects of which, often result in anxiety and feelings of depletion and dejection, leading to emotional, mental and physical exhaustion. A burnt-out person looks, acts and feels depressed, and loses perspective on the future. Feeling stuck with no clue to free themselves from their torpor.
A US survey conducted by Forbes, reported that 52% of respondents had or were experiencing a burnout, particularly amongst Millennials and Generation Z respondents. In addition, 53% of workers now find it more difficult to ‘unplug’ from work out of office hours.
Addressing the inability to switch off is important, as this is exactly where a burnout can be stopped and/or prevented.
As the owner of my own business, from the outset I decided that I was in it for the long run. I am passionate about what I do and want to continue for many years to come. So, after the first year of working around the clock, I looked in the mirror and made a life-changing decision. I recognized that running my business is a marathon and not a sprint, so there would be no more working weekends or evenings or checking emails, out of hours I would completely switch off.
It is the best decision I have ever made! Today, I am excited about working and I still love what I do. By scheduling time for breaks, I allow myself to refuel the tank with renewed energy and excitement and 17 years later I am still going strong, and so is Redline. We never work the weekend or the evening… this is time to relax.
Here are 5 tips that can help stop or prevent a burnout:
1.Take time off
It is important to take a break, even if your work is not yet finished. Often, people think that they should continue to work without a break, putting all of their energy into their job. Contrary to popular belief, overworking is counter-productive and you will also lose yourself in a never-ending work flow.
Therefore, it is important to turn off your computer in the evenings and on weekends. This may be hard but trust yourself and the universe that all will be well. In the end, the project you are working on will be approved or the lead you are trying to convert will become part of your client base. Everything will be alright.
2. Go outside and enjoy life
Taking long walks, exercising, riding a bike, playing sports or taking part in other physical activities can really make you feel better. Exercise is a proven stress reliever, according to health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, undertaking exercise and sports increases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that reduce stress and make you feel happy, such as dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid.
Meditating can help you focus and regain your energy. It can be hard to take time to do this in the middle of a busy time but the benefits will come back to you tenfold.
It is important to take up hobbies that you can enjoy in your free time. They are a great way to switch off and forget about your work and all the other things that are going on in your life.
Planning a trip and actually taking a holiday without checking your emails all of the time allows you to unwind and relax. Knowing that you can take a break from emails without the world ending, reduces stress and allows you to create a new stress-free mindset for the future.
People are not machines and we are not made to work non-stop. We need to take it easy sometimes in order to keep going and perform better. Most importantly, life is way too short to only focus on work, humans need to have fun, relax and enjoy life to the full!