Have you ever been so tired and felt so much stress that you felt 5pm couldn’t come any sooner? The time seems to drag; your eyelids get heavier and heavier and your workload never seems to end. Trust me, we’ve all gone through it.
Personally, I knew what it was like to go through all of these mixed emotions daily especially as a husband and father of two working full-time in the financial industry and part-time as an entrepreneur.
As a workaholic with a poor work-life balance, I eventually drove myself into anxiety and depression to the point where I had to go on short-term disability. My goal in writing this article is to help you avoid the same pain I went through by giving you a heads up on actions you should be taking.
Here are the tips that helped me overcome my “burn outs” as a full-time employee and part-time entrepreneur.
Take Lunches: It sounds obvious, but I feel I need to remind you. I’ve seen far too many people burn themselves out because they are always skipping lunch. If you skip lunch, you are skipping the opportunity to become more productive at work. Not taking lunches at work will work against you over a long period of time because you’re not allowing your body to re-energize. We are not machines. We need time to rest, eat, and reset ourselves to continue the workday productively. Besides, most companies don’t even pay for lunch, hence your 8:30am-5pm-work schedule. Take it. Even inmates are allowed a 45min-1hour lunch.
Take Breaks: For every 3-4 hours that you work, by law, you are allowed a 15- minute break. Now while that may seem almost impossible for some given your busy work schedules, it is crucial that you schedule time for a break. Even if it’s just a quick walk away from your desk, DO IT. You will come back refreshed and with a clear mind ready to tackle on the rest of the day.
Go on Vacation: Whether you work full-time, part-time, or overtime, make it a priority in your life to take vacations. Escaping from the normal routine will do you some good and it will remind you of how life should be. Whether you go somewhere local, tropical or foreign, make sure you plan your vacations accordingly to give yourself some time to rejuvenate. After all, you work so hard all year round. It only makes sense to treat yourself at least once or twice a year.
Eat Healthy: Believe it or not eating fast foods, fatty foods, excessive carbohydrates and sugary drinks will slow you down. Most people crash after 2pm for this very reason. Not having a balanced breakfast (which is the most important meal of the day) will slow you down in the long run. Sugary or caffeinated drinks are not made to make you more productive, they are made to temporarily give you more energy so that you become “dependent” on these drinks. A fruit or vegetable smoothie will give you more lasting energy down the line than any coffee or soda will. How do I know? This is what I do to start my day at 6:30am and end it around 10-11pm at night without getting overly exhausted.
Sleep Regularly: Can’t sleep? That’s because you are wired from all that coffee, soda and sugar that you are consuming all day to keep you going. This is where “they” offer you sleeping pills to “help you sleep”. The truth is however, that sleep should come natural to the point where you shouldn’t need sleeping pills. You just need to take better care of yourself so you can get enough rest at night. Sleeping 6-8 hours is what is most recommended so aim to sleep for that many hours each day.
Build a Stress Tolerance: Don’t take things personal. My biggest mistake was taking things that were out of my control too personal. It got to the point where I became anxious and depressed with all the workloads that were coming in. Nothing is worse than having angry customers screaming at you because something out of your control went wrong.
Meditate Regularly: Meditating doesn’t mean you have to be religious, it just means your human and need some time out of the day to get away from all the chaos. Whether you go to a quiet room in your building, your car, or a quiet location, be sure to take some time to just close your eyes and relax your mind. Learn how to put yourself first as your #1 priority because if you are not well, neither will be your work. Meditating provides great opportunity for you to self-reflect.
Learn to Say No: For those who are over-achievers like you and I, we tend to take on more than we can handle. We over stretch ourselves to the point we wish we had more than 24 hours in a day and longer minutes in an hour. We take on more projects, more work, and more responsibilities when in reality we are just stretching ourselves thin. Learn how to prioritize what matters most in your day or week and know that it’s ok to say no. People will understand. Let them know that you would love to take on more but at the moment you have certain priorities you need to handle first before you can take on more work.
Make Time For Yourself: This is probably your biggest flaw, because it was definitely mine. When is the last time you took some alone time? When was the last time you put everything on pause and took time to get to know yourself a little better? As crazy as it may sound, you need to better understand yourself first by reflecting. How was your day? What made you smile today? What made you mad? Are you stressed and over worked? Are you happy? Are you sad? Why? What are your goals for today? or for the next few weeks/months? Take the time to gather your thoughts, feelings, and emotions together and focus on your own well-being. Trust me when I tell you,Nobody is going to care about you as much as you care about yourselfClick To Tweet
Now I really want you to read these tips over again. Write down the bolded topics if you have to. Yes, some may sound simple and obvious, but I say them to remind you because not everyone does them. People tend to get so lost within their day-to-day routines that they forget to invest time and effort into what matters most. Themselves.