Feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, or with personal matters that impact your ability to focus and be your best at work, are realities for many people. Living a busy life is not uncommon and without management, it can - as you may know - lead to burn out.
Sherrie Bourg Carter Psy.D. comments that high achievers often do reach burn out because of their "I can do everything attitude." In my experience, this is an attitude that comes from workplace cultures as well as individuals themselves. It's not uncommon to place a lot of pressure on yourself or to be influenced sub-consciously by fear or guilt.
High performing professionals, business owners and newly qualified professionals keen to make a great impression can find themselves gradually moving towards overwhelm that then takes them to burn out. It is extremely unhealthy for you to be in this space and prevention is ideal.
(For a list of symptoms, see https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them )
What does prevention mean? In real terms, I am talking of self-management which can come in many forms. For some people, exercise is fantastic at helping to manage stress. For others, it may be walking in nature.
What is important is that you recgonise what works for you so that you are fuelling yourself with the energy you need to do your very best in your life and in your job. It's important not to try to fit a popular trend - find what works for you by trying out a few new things.
I recommend that you consider the following:
What is your destination at work? (broad answer)
What are your goals? (generally or specifically)
What do you want to achieve by the end of the year? (specific: be SMART)
Why is that important to you?
When you understand what you want and why, you can have a vision and work towards achieving that with a strategy - a strategy that includes self-management and self-care.
Next, when you have your vision for the year, step back for a moment.
What does the strategy to reach this look like? (If you require help on this, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your instinct is likely to draw you towards the practical or technical things you need to do. What I suggest you do differently this time is that you include
a wellness plan as part of the strategy.
This will create mental space for you to then have the energy to work towards your work (and/or personal goals) with passion and focus.
What does a wellness plan look like?
Wellness is about taking practical steps towards your well-being. Well-being is " the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy." Wellness is about the steps and well-being is the state you feel as a result of taking the steps.
The plan must therefore include actions that you identify as helpful towards you feeling healthy, energetic and happy. Once a week, or more if possible, it is about consciously planning in time for such steps which may include exercise, a social event, dinner with a friend, mindfulness, yoga, journaling, watching a movie, reading - literally anything that helps you to feel that you are getting the mental space to re-charge so that you can function at your very best at work. You may feel that you have no time but I suggest you challenge yourself to try for a month and see what happens. Put you wellness plan in your diary as if it is part of your work.
To benefit from the power of a wellness plan, it goes beyond just doing the said type of activities. As you invite new experiences in, savour them. Be present with whatever it is you choose to do; be in the experience so that you savour it, register it so that you really "feel" it. On savouring experiences, you make an imprint of that happy feeling, leading to that sense of greater balance. The knock on effect includes greater focus and energy for work and other activities.
The business world is waking up to the value of well-being but you, too, have a responsibility to yourself and to loved ones to take care of yourself. In doing so, you have a platform that you control, to enable you to be the best version of yourself and to build resilience and self-control.
These are powerful characteristics that more and more employers are looking for beyond technical skills. Give it a try today.