These past few weeks we’ve been talking about ways you as a busy (and often over-committed) business professional can cut yourself some slack and actively practice taking some “me time.” Don’t forget to check back on this blog for Part 1 and Part 2 of this Battling Burnout series for some great tips and ideas on how to physically and mentally keep burnout at bay.
Now it’s time to cover the emotional part of warding off burnout.
Being on overload or in overdrive for long periods of time can turn the good stress of a challenge into the bad stress that leads to chronic unhealthiness and emotionally drain. If you aren’t aware, stress can develop into some bad habits; these in turn can set about a chain of events that can lead to all sorts of problems:
* Drug use
* Lack of sleep, insomnia
* Lack of concentration
It is easier than you think to fall in line with poor habits when stress has taken over your life. You begin to grasp at whatever will keep you going and functioning on some level close to normal. Before you know it, everything is spinning out of control and you have no idea how to reel it all in.
While this may sound ominous, it does happen. We just don’t think that deeply into what is happening to us at the time, so the connection isn’t made right away.
Emotionally Avoiding Burnout
Emotions are what make us human, but they can also unduly influence our decisions in life. When we are tired and overworked, they can get the better of us. Negative emotions can keep us from realizing our potential and can be fueled by stress.
Count your blessings – This can put your life into perspective when you need it most. Mentally, count them one by one to gauge the state of your life.
Explore your dreams – What do you want to do with your life? If there was no limit, what dream would you pursue?
Let it all out – What are you holding inside of you? It’s okay to show your emotions. If you are exhausted, then cry or shout or wail if you need to. Bottling up emotions can lead to physical ailments in the body.
Smile at yourself in the mirror – You are a beautiful person and you need to recognize that. Take a moment to get to know your face and who you are behind the eyes.
Go shopping – Can you say “retail therapy?” Shopping tends to always makes us feel good and make an effort to buy something just for yourself because you are special. Don’t consider anyone else’s needs but what you want at that moment. The guilty pleasure of one shopping trip won’t break the bank (hopefully).
Spend time with your pets – Pets are good for us mentally. They provide unconditional love and affection whenever we need it and it can lift the emotions and help us to realize that we are not alone. Studies have shown that the simple act of petting a dog or cat can greatly reduce our blood pressure and encourage relaxation.
Eat your favorite meal – Good food releases the same endorphins as exercise and sex. Making a meal of those guilty foods you don’t dare eat all the time can make you smile on a bad day.
Change the color scheme in your home – Freshen things up with some color! Certain colors can improve mood and by changing the appearance of your creative space you can affect how you feel when you are there. Your house is your sanctuary, treat it that way.
Take a Break from the Digital World: Yes, that is a toughie. But there are times we need to take a break from technology. It seems to rule our lives and it almost seems like we have often replaced physical interactions with people with text messages, emails and forums. Unplug.
- Turn off your phone – It doesn’t have to be forever. Try it for an hour or two. Maybe you can get up to half a day. Unplug yourself from the world at large and gain your bearings.
- Turn off the television – Have a real conversation with your family without distraction. Discuss your day, your problems and any concerns that they may have.
Meet up with an old friend – Take the time to actually reconnect with someone in your life. Have an actual conversation over lunch or dinner. Attend a concert, go to coffee, or go for a stroll in the park.
It’s okay to take time out to recharge your batteries. Regular breaks for everyone in your family can maintain an even keel in your life and the family dynamic. Do it for your health. Do it for your quality of life.
Do you have a few more ideas about what it truly means to “take a break”? Before you burn out and split apart, consider the various parts of you. Each needs attention in order to keep you together and sane in your life. If you have some ideas, or some of the ideas I’ve talked about in this series have “hit home,” please share! I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences.