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03.05.2019- Beating Burnout

Friday, 3 May 2019


When people talk, or indeed write about burnout, it's often a bit tricky to know exactly what they are talking about. One of the things I've noticed, both from my own experience and also from friends, is that it's something which is becoming increasingly common amongst people of my age (I hate the term 'millennials' but here it seems to fit perfectly), and is often a cumulative result of a whole lot of hard work and stress, as well as other worries which all feed into a sense of not being able to switch off. Up until last week, I hadn't had a solid stretch of longer than a week off of work since 2012. That.is.crazy. Of course, some of this was very much my choice- and graduating in 2011 into a super competitive jobs market definitely didn't afford the option of being able to book a fortnight away in the sun every summer. Having said that, I don't think I've really appreciated the importance of being able to switch off for an extended stretch of time until comparatively recently, and I know for a lot of people it's often impossible to be totally unreachable for an extended duration. However, as I type this after week one of my holiday, having been able to relax properly for the first time in what feels like forever (as well as having the luxury of time to catch up on a whole heap of life admin!), I'm determined to battle burnout as much as I can by implementing a few small (but hopefully sustainable!) changes to my day-to-day routine: 

Set barriers 
This can be as specific or as broad as you like, but for me it comes down to being able to pace myself. If I've got plans to see friends in the evening after work, I'll usually try to keep these towards the end of the week, factoring in how tired I'm likely to feel if I miss out on some vital relaxation time at home, particularly on Mondays and Tuesdays. Similarly, I've become a lot more conscious of how frequently I'm checking my phone when I get home in the evenings, and am very keen to try and ignore it as much as I possibly can after the working day is over. 

Take a walk 
This might sound like a really obvious change to try and make, but proactively making an effort to get some fresh air during the day is a real game-changer, and over the last month or so I've swapped the Tube for a stroll to the office along the river- starting my day on the right note and upping my step count too. Even if it's only for ten of fifteen minutes, any time you can make to step away from your desk is well worth it- and for me is essential, especially as I've been experiencing horrible retinal migraines from too much screen! 

Make time for yourself 
Living in a world where everyone is instantly available at the end of a phone is great in some respects, but in others can make things seem pretty overwhelming at times- particularly if all you want to do is switch off. The best solution in this instance is to do just that- whether that's muting the group chat or turning your phone off altogether in favour of reading a book, having a bath or getting an early night. If you're a worrisome Sagittarius like I am, then putting yourself first isn't something which necessarily comes naturally, but it's absolutely essential for your overall wellbeing. 

Eat the right food 
I don't know about you, but I tend to notice a direct correlation between how wiped out I'm feeling and what I've been eating. Late nights at work mean I'm usually reaching for a can of Coke by about 4pm, but recently I've been shunning these in favour of a peppermint tea or some more water. I'm also tending to opt for lighter bites in the evenings now, especially if I'm eating late, as it means that my body isn't overwhelmed with trying to digest a huge, heavy meal overnight and usually wakes up feeling all the better for it. 

Sleep, sleep, sleep 
Again, much easier said than done, but sticking to a regular bedtime routine as much as possible is hugely beneficial- especially if you tend to find yourself riddled with the Sunday night fear or wake up in the middle of the night panicking about the most minor details. Reading is a great way to calm a tired mind before sleep, and recently I've also found that setting an alarm for the weekends is actually hugely helpful- whether I've got plans or not, having continuity makes getting up for work a tiny bit easier. I've also been trying to prioritise an early night once or twice a week- this is still very much a work in progress, but when I do manage it I always feel much better the next day. 

What are your top tips for beating burnout? 

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

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