I’m writing this blog post whilst currently suffering with a nasty virus. And it’s got me thinking, why do we allow ourselves to burn out? Why do we prioritise so much above our own health and wellbeing? When in the long run, our work suffers.
From a young age, attendance is ingrained into us. A colleague was telling me last week, how at school she received an 100% attendance certificate at the end of the school year. But at what cost? If you’re not bringing your A-Game, and able to give 100% to your work, then is it worth making yourself sicker?
For some reason there is a culture of martyrism in the workplace, where people feel guilty for taking a day or two to get better from flu, viruses etc. so they drag themselves in to the office in order to be seen as committed to the role. You’re probably guilty of doing this at some point yourself. But by doing this, we’re prolonging the illness, as well as risking bringing down the entire team with us. If a member of the team is sick, I tell them to go home, get in to bed, rest and get better. So why don’t I take my own advice.
I’m lucky that I have a really strong support network at Relish. I know, that when I’m down with an illness, the team rally around with supportive messages and offers to pick up the slack – email clients, create shopping lists and fill in for calls that are scheduled so that our clients and workloads don’t suffer, and allowing me to recover. I know that the team will carry out these tasks with the same level of effort, enthusiasm, passion and professionalism as I would myself, allowing me to fully recover without the added stress of dropping the ball.
We need to take time for ourselves, the better we feel, the better we perform. This isn’t just when we’re sick, it’s all the time.
Are we taking enough annual leave, to allow ourselves to recuperate, and reap the rewards of our hard work? After all, what are we working for if we cannot enjoy our time away from it. AT Relish we all love our jobs, our colleagues, our clients, as some of us struggle to tear ourselves away from it. But seeing a colleague fatigued and pushing through, compared to a colleague who has just booked a week’s holiday and has something exciting to look forward to is a world of difference. When we have a holiday booked, we have an edge of excitement and anticipation, and we also have a time limit on when to get everything done by. This self-imposed deadline, makes us more productive, excited and efficient.
By taking a full week or two leave, whether it’s to visit family, sit by a pool, be a beach bum or ski, we’re resetting ourselves. We’re recuperating, reenergising, and reconnecting with the ones we love, so that when we return to the office with a sun kissed glow (or ski goggle tan), we can look at our work with fresh eyes, a shinier outlook on life and our work.
Top Tips to Avoid Burning Out
Not just in the holiday sense. Take breaks, away from your screen. Get away from your desk at lunch time, we all need to dine al desco every now and again when a deadline is looming, but don’t make this a habbit. Go for a walk, go to the gym, meet a friend for lunch. You’ll come back in the afternoon refreshed, happy and energised.
We’re all guilty of raiding the communal biscuit tin or munching on a chocolate bar for a sugar hit, but it causes us to crash as quickly as it gives us the rush. We’re very lucky in that we get free fruit in our office, so we’re filling up on good energy that’s not going to cause that lethargic 3pm slump.
Listen to your body
Somebody has given you the office bug. You’re lethargic, you don’t feel well, you’ve been staring at the same draft email for 26 minutes, but you’re forcing yourself to remain at your desk. Go home, rest, get better – you’ll recover quicker and come back stronger, more focused, and able to send that email in a fraction of the time!
Manage Your Time
I live for a to-do list. Start with the end in mind – what do you want to achieve by the end of the week/month? Break this down in to daily to do list and feel the satisfaction of ticking the tasks off one by one – making the bigger picture less scary. Start with your least favourite thing to do and save something “fun” for the afternoons when your energy slumps. It’s amazing how quickly you get things done.
Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and make you feel mentally and physically better. It also helps to physically tire yourself out, meaning better rest when you go to sleep.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep and allow yourself to unwind. Do you really need to be taking work home? If you are, are you managing your time in the day efficiently enough? Do something you enjoy in the evenings that does not involve blue light – read a book, listen to a podcast or cook a nice meal. Something that uses a different part of the brain, and allows you to switch off for a while before getting a decent night’s sleep. I find the Get Sleepy podcast a game changer – I get in to bed 30 mins before I want to fall asleep, read for a while and then listen to the relaxing sounds of Get Sleepy.
A morning routine really helps you get ready and focus for the day. Rushing really leaves me a bit “off” for the day. Allow yourself enough time to get ready at your own pace, maybe catch up on the news, make a healthy breakfast or go for a run. It really sets you up for the day.