Sometimes it’s so easy to get set in your ways; you feel really comfortable and totally at ease with every aspect of your life that you don’t even realize that you’ve settled for ordinary. Other times however, it’s even easier to get super excited about a bunch of new opportunities and experiences coming your way that you end up taking on too much and head straight for a burn out. Although it is a good thing, in fact a great thing to try new things and learn and explore as it helps us grow and identify who we really are, there is a super fine line between self-discovery and exhaustion. Today we’re going to look at how to spot the signs of a burn out and how to better manage your life in order to keep you healthy, fit and always in balance.
Think about how you feel on the average day; do you have good energy and sail through tasks, meetings and workouts or do you feel groggy, struggle to keep your eyes open and pass out on the couch right after super? If you feel at all tired at any point then that’s a pretty good sign that your not in a good place and may need to rethink your schedule. Look at how much sleep you get each night, or better yet, how many hours each night you’re in bed with the lights out. I’ve said this before: make sure you give yourself at least 8 hours each night of solid shut eye; sleep has huge impact on every aspect of your health and well being so don’t ever skimp out! I myself recently changed my sleep schedule; I used to wake up each morning at 6am to workout before heading to the office, but a few weeks ago I decided to move my workouts to the evenings right after work and get an extra hour of sleep each night. Let me tell you, I have never felt more rested; I have so much more energy and I am far more productive than I was before. When I do workout at night I am able to lift heavier weights and push even harder during cardio, the changes I felt were immediate.
I have always admired people who participate in organizations outside of work or school and who really contribute to their community, I find it very inspiring. That being said, I have one particular colleague who has a very demanding career, is married with a young child, sits on the board of several charities, attends events almost every night and still goes to the gym 4 days each week. As a result, my colleague gets sick all the time; almost every month they end up having to take a sick day or work from home, because they just can’t pull it together. Although this person is incredibly successful, they are putting tons of pressure on themselves and their health; one person can only handle so much. Take a look at what your average day looks like from the time you get up out of bed to the time you go to sleep; are you running around all day non stop attending to one responsibility after another? We all have things that we have to do and we all have to prioritize in order to accomplish anything. If you feel like it’s getting a little overwhelming then maybe it’s time to consider either delegating tasks to someone else or dropping something altogether. Work-wise consider sharing tasks with co-worker (if possible) or working together on projects instead of separately on everything; it’s the best way to not only bond with colleagues but to also share ideas and learn even more, after all we each bring something unique to the table. If you do participate in community events or organizations, then maybe consider reducing your involvement slightly; you don’t have to attend every single cocktail event or presentation. Pick and choose what’s really important to you and go with that and give it your all, instead of doing it half-assed and spreading yourself too thin. I’m reminded of what Bethenny Frankel said in her book A Place of Yes, “You can have it all just not all at once“. It seems to speak volumes and it really does apply to everyone’s life; you can achieve and experience some really amazing things, but just maybe not all at the same time.
Keep in mind what’s really important and prioritize from there. Start with your health, that has to be number 1 no matter what. If you take away anything here let it be this: You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. You may be rolling your eyes right about now, but it’s true; think about when you go on a plane and they say if the oxygen mask drops you put yours on before you help someone else put on theirs. It may sound like an extreme example but it really does apply to everyday life as you are of no use to anyone else if you’re not at 100% on any given day. So be sure to go to annual check ups at the doctor’s and the dentist’s, eat a good diet (keep your meals simple), move around throughout the day and get your rest. From there you can start taking care of other aspects of your life. If you have children be sure to engage them in physical activity even if it’s just going for a walk or playing in the yard, also make sure that you all eat at the kitchen table together as it has huge impacts on child development and behaviour. Same goes with your significant other; instead of just sitting in front of the television every night why not try a new restaurant, go see a movie, have a few friends over or try cooking up some new recipes together. You don’t have to do these things every single day, just consider it for every once and a while. It’s good to get a little out of your comfort zone, but it’s not necessary to do it all the time.
Regardless of what your life looks like now and where it’s heading, always keep your priorities straight and remember that there is nothing wrong with sharing tasks with others or taking a little bit of time for yourself. You can live the life that you’ve always wanted, just be realistic and focus on the fact that one person can only do so much. Find what not only works for you, but what’s important to you and stick with the things that actually matter so that you never sweat the small stuff again.
Start It, Finish It