July 27, 2022 5 min read
It seems like almost everyone we chat with these days is feeling stressed and burned out.
With the world seemingly going back to “normal” (what even is that?), pressure from businesses scrambling to make up for the past two years, anxiety about falling unwell, adapting to a changing landscape of hybrid working and a constant doomsday news cycle it’s not hard to see why!
Having compassion and empathy for each other in these times is a great way to help each other recover and thrive, but quite honestly, sometimes it feels like we don’t have the spoons to offer much more than a sympathetic ear.
We are resilient, strong, capable and independent humans, that’s a fact. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t having valid physical and emotional reactions to what’s happening in the world around us.
If you’re nodding along reading this, you’re not alone. We wanted to provide a few strategies that might help ease the anxiety of your day. Hopefully, keep that burnout at bay a little longer, so you can seek professional assistance or make the lifestyle changes required for long-term health.
NOTE: Burnout is a state of complete mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Because it is so severe, we definitely are in no way stating that any of these tools will fix or cure your situation.
Researchers from UNSW’s School of Psychiatry and Black Dog Institute carried out a study with participants from a range of backgrounds including managers, students, teachers, home/child carers, nurses and midwives. While it was open to both males and females to participate, three-quarters of those who took part were female.
The study indicated nine factors commonly affecting people experiencing burnout. These included:
Does looking a fortnight or a month ahead fill you with anxiety? That makes sense, we’ve been living in a state of flux for some time. How do you knuckle down and get to work when you’re feeling like this?
Ask yourself “What day do I need to get to this week?”
Is there a big meeting or an outcome you need to aim for in the next couple of days? Focus on the tasks you need to achieve to get to this ONE day or outcome with a level of success that you’re happy with. Re-prioritise or shift anything that doesn’t help you achieve this goal.
It’s the old adage “How do you eat an elephant?”. One bite at a time.
This isn’t a long-term strategy but it certainly keeps you moving forward in the short term.
Insomnia is a big burnout marker. Lying awake at night worrying about the future is commonplace, and it sucks!
What can you do the night before that will help you to be successful the following day? It could be as simple as packing a lunch, ensuring your bag is packed ready to carry into the day, writing a task list, or ensuring that you’ve starred which emails need responding to first thing.
Taking stock for 10-15 mins before you switch off for the night is a good practice in intention setting, which can be a very powerful mindfulness and mindset practice.
Bonus: Do you know your Chronotype?
Chronotype refers to peoples’ natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle which ultimately influences the peaks and troughs of your energy throughout the day. You can find out yours here with Inventium’s quiz (not an ad, we just think it’s cool).
We also love Organisational psychologist Dr Amantha Imber’s book TIMEWISE which encompasses a lot of tactical life-hacks that high achievers rely on. All of which are super useful for relieving the kind of stressors we’ve covered here.
It’s easy to focus on all the tasks that are stressing you out, with the mindset of just clearing them to make yourself feel better.
Doing this without reprieve can lead to feelings of resentment and anxiety about the ever-piling list of “to-dos”. Instead, consider what small things throughout the day can make you smile or will bring you energy.
What simple actions can you do that pull you out of the quagmire? Even for 5 minutes.
Make it a non-negotiable to carve this tiny amount of time out for yourself.
For example, it could be as simple as closing your eyes and sniffing that first cup of coffee, reading a short poem to break the cycle, going for a walk, or making time to check in with a friend.
We love lists. Whether it be handwritten or on Trello boards, there’s just something about crossing off a task or ticking a checkbox on completion.
However, being task-oriented CAN lead to feeling quite overwhelmed as more items are added than crossed off.
Can you change your tasks into achievements? It might sound a little bit “woo-woo” but changing the mindset from merely completing a task to considering what you stand to achieve can make a big difference.
Create a separate WINS list that you add to each day; what did you complete today or this week that you’re proud of? It’s such a great thing to look back on each month and a wonderful reference for performance reviews.
Emails, personal messages and communication channels pile up during the day.
Can you sort your emails into “Do” “Delete” or “Delegate” and can you check them in batches? Allow yourself the deep work and focus time to do everything that ISNT checking emails and messages and then time for that shallow, admin work.
Structuring your day around these kinds of work profiles might take a bit to get used to, but it is a fantastic way to allow an ebb and flow of concentration that may feel more manageable.
Life is too short to feel like you’re on the precipice of burnout or tearing your hair out and we pay too much in the salon for that!
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We recently asked this question to our community: “If you could carry one piece of advice in your bag for life or business and beyond, what would it be?" with a $300 She Lion voucher up for grabs to thank the winner for their answer.
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