There comes a time of year, when we start to feel the ‘burnout’ – and may need a little extra support in staying focused and fresh. What exactly is ‘burnout’, and importantly, how can we recognise it, in order to employ the appropriate tools to help us through?
Burnout is defined as “the build up of stress over time” – and there’s no surprise that this could arise after a successful year, where we have achieved so much. Framed in this way, we can be grateful for this feeling as a clear symbol of everything we have encountered throughout the past 12 months, and is our body’s way of starting to wind down into rest and recovery phase
So, how do we recognise burnout, and the symptoms of it? Using the ‘ICE’ acronym can help – the first thing you may notice is you’re being more inefficient (I) than usual, you’re more cynical than usual (C), and you’re completely exhausted (E).
Recognising that you’re feeling the burnout is the first step – so what’s the next? We take a look at methods that could help you on your way to feeling fresher, and more focused – helping to power you through the end of the year, and into 2019.
BRING YOURSELF INTO THE PRESENT MOMENT
Bringing ourselves into the present moment can really go a long way. But, how do we stop? How do we make the time? What’s the magic formula? Taking time to be present with your surroundings can be simpler than you think. Whether we’re run off our feet, or have a little more time than others – there is a way to find stillness – for everyone.
Meditation is our go to – it never fails as a tried-and-tested tool to check in with yourself, and your surroundings. Even if you can’t commit to a 30+ minute meditation, try for 5 minutes, or even utilise breathing techniques such as ‘IN for 4, HOLD for 4, and OUT for 4’ still count! If this isn’t your thing, try to connect with nature or your environment – go for a walk around the block and notice the colours of the leaves, the changing shapes of the clouds, the faces of the crowd around you. Even just pausing for 5 minutes can make a big difference to your day.
The wide-ranging benefit of essential oils are aplenty – they can support our wellbeing in so many ways. They help us in ensuring we stay focused, ease a work pain, and of course, make our day that little bit brighter (and beautiful smelling).
If you are feeling that end of day tightness around your head, try easing it with some peppermint oil. Or how about that extra energy boost you need for that presentation? Grab some bergamont or grapefruit oil. And for those (dreaded) colds and flus, Pine and Eucalyptus will have no trouble easing you back to health.
STOP – EVEN FOR A MINUTE
Alongside meditation, taking the time to stop for a minute (or two) to slow down and enjoy something we normally might not spend the time doing, is very beneficial. When we’re starting to feel a little burnt out, take an everyday activity or task – and slow it down a bit.
Make a list, set clear objectives at the start of the day – take time to take stock, rather than just getting swept away in the buzz of the end of year rush.
If your morning or evening commute consists of a walk – even to your car, or to catch the bus – make the most of this moment. Slow down a little… pick a bunch of flowers on the way, count your steps in time with your breath, or even add an extra block worth of walking. Yes, these moments may add a minute or two of time to your day – but they’ll count for so much more later.
Burnout doesn’t just affect our mind and spirit – for some, it’s the physical body that can be affected the most. Long hours, and multiple deadlines can take their toll, therefore getting the adequate exercise our body so readily craves can take a backseat – but it shouldn’t.
Exercise delivers much needed oxygen to your body tissues, and will help your cardiovascular system work more effectively – improving mood and raising energy levels. Whether utilising your time before, or after work for a quick pump class, or a brisk jog – the benefit of getting your blood flowing is paramount.
REST (AND RE-DISTRIBUTE)
It’s simple – recognising that you’re exhausted means you need to take some time to rest. This is your chance to not just ‘find the time’ but ‘make the time’ to ensure you are getting adequate rest and sleep, and the right amount of downtime.
But... how can this happen when your calendar is fully booked for the month of December?! Re-distributing simple things is the answer – especially chores you are readily relied on for. Have you ever thought about hiring a cleaner for the month of December? What about ordering in more, getting your groceries delivered, or ordering a recipe and meal box for the month? These things add up in time, and you’ll be surprised at how much time you will free up.
SET THE (2019) RECORD STRAIGHT
December is a great time to get clear on your intentions for the new year. Although it may seem counterintuitive doing this whilst feeling burnt out – setting intentions, will help you to feel even more motivated – it’s a great way to start to building the lifestyle we so desire for the year ahead.
One of the most effective ways to start intention setting is through ‘future journaling’– by setting yourself a date of December 31st, 2018, and writing down where you plan to be in 12 months time is a great way to start this process. Remember: align your mind with where you want to go, the more you do this – the more likely you are to get there!