Many of us scratch our heads trying to work out what is a balanced lifestyle? Some of us may even be unaware that such a thing is even possible.
Most of us work: we have our careers and ambition. We also have our lifestyle, consisting of our health, pleasures, leisure, family and spiritual development. Unfortunately, many of us focus almost entirely on work, leaving very little time to do the rest.
The average working person should only be spending eight to nine hours in the office: maybe a little more with travel to and from work. In this day and age, this is rarely the case. It seems we have evolved into over exerting, hardworking, digital, fast-paced work junkies who have become dependent on technology and stimulants to carry us through the day. We have forgotten to balance work and lifestyle.
Just sparing an extra hour or two a day for ourselves can make significant changes to our wellbeing. This gives us more freedom to do what we really need to do not what we think we have to do. We have become accustomed to working more hours to gain more brownie points to show we are ‘hard workers.’ How about working equally hard for our health and wellbeing?
In the past, I experienced guilt for leaving work an hour earlier. I felt like I was being judged and watched. Sometimes, colleagues would even say ‘You’re leaving, why - did something happen?
My suggestion to you all? I think we need to have a little more fun in our lives and laugh a little louder at ourselves – what do you say?
What could happen if you keep going and don’t make time for yourself? Well, you could end up physically or emotionally exhausted. This is what we call Burnout.
So, what exactly is Burnout?
According to some research, women in particular are experiencing burnout in their busy, stressful jobs before the age of 30. The demands being placed exceed the resources we have available to deal with the stresses. Left unchecked or unrecognised, burnout can affect everything. Your own happiness, health, relationships and job performance. It is not uncommon for someone to go from bright eyed and bushy tailed to a deflated balloon.
Here are some signs that you may be experiencing burnout:
You are exhausted. Physically, emotionally and mentally. You don’t have any energy and you have this overall feeling of ‘I’m Done!’
Worried about work when you’re not at work
Trying to control every detail and feeling responsible for everyone. This is stopping you from recovering from work once you’re at home. In order to recover you need to cut off that monkey mind, come back into the moment and breathe deeply until calm is once again restored.
You are negative about most things, in fact, more than usual. Nothing matters anymore; you’ve lost the will to be positively bothered about anything. You feel less happy and satisfied with life in general. You may even feel hopeless, worthless and unloved.
Lack of Motivation
You don’t feel enthusiastic about anything anymore and don’t have much motivation for your work. The spark has gone and life has become routine. It becomes increasingly more of an effort to get out of bed in the morning and you’re literally dragging yourself into work. You may be gazing out of your office window more than usual and daydreaming of the what-ifs.
There are more conflicts going on, heated discussions, arguments and you tend to be avoiding family and work colleagues more and more. You may even be physically there but zoned out. You have less patience with others than you used to.
Experiencing Physical Health Problems
You may find your losing weight or putting weight on a little too quickly. Bouts of depression and all the emotions are affecting your digestion. You are not taking care of yourself; you are drinking alcohol after work to help calm yourself down. You are also not drinking enough water and this can leave you dehydrated. You may not be getting enough sleep either and relying on medication or stimulants to give you energy.
You feel everything is getting to you and you are hypersensitive. In your relationships, your partnerships and at work you don’t feel appreciated and you are constantly thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. You like your alone time and no one supports you.
So What Can You Do?
Burnout doesn’t quite go away on its own. You need to put a little effort into it. The quicker you recognise what caused it the better you will feel at that moment and the happier you will be in the future. You need time and space to recuperate and this takes however long it takes. You can’t rush it. It’s about finding the balance, the time and daily practices that feel right for you.
Stop Comparing Yourself
Each of us is unique bringing our own uniqueness into this world. No two people are the same nor will they ever be. So no need to compare as it will never be right.
Take Breaks Regularly
It’s all too easy to get into the swing of things at work, that to-do list grows each day and doesn’t seem to shrink, there are just not enough hours in the day. This may even cause you to not take your days off when you’re supposed to. You are given annual leave, public holidays and days off for a reason: to rest. If you find you’re a workaholic, start with taking that day off when it’s scheduled, stick to this routine and your body will thank you in the long run. Your mind will have its rest and be fresh and energised when you go back to work.
Basic Needs: Get some exercise. Get some sleep. Eat well. Drink plenty of water.
Our bodies are designed to move. Lack of moving = stuck energy = not enough oxygen in our bodies which can contribute towards poor health. The earth is about 70% water and our bodies are 70% made of up water and this keeps our body functioning. Thirst, hunger, headaches, dry lips, and lethargy, are some of the signs that indicate we might need to drink more.
Feeding our bodies with the right foods gives us energy throughout the day. This means a nutritious healthy, sustainable breakfast, lunch and dinner – no skipping any of them!
Sleep is so important as this gives our body, mind and spirit time to rest and rejuvenate and recuperate. Research says we should be sleeping ideally 7 hours every night - deep, uninterrupted restful sleep.
Analyse - Are you really doing what makes you happy?
Are you doing what you need to do or what you want to do? Needing to do something is what’s necessary now. Wanting is not so urgent. It’s also good to ask yourself if your happiness comes first – how urgent is that for you? Without happiness there is no joy in your life. Without joy there is no laughter, and no laughter = no energy. It’s a simple as that. Laughter and joy heal everything.