Suffering from burn-out? Here are six expert-backed remedies to help
How to re-adjust and find balance in today's post-pandemic world
Workers across the board saw heightened rates of burn-out in 2021, and according to APA's 2021 Work and Well-being Survey of 1,501 adult workers, 79% of employees had experienced work-related stress in the month before the survey. In addition, nearly three in five employees reported negative impacts of work-related stress, including lack of interest, motivation, or energy (26%) and lack of effort at work (19%). Meanwhile, 36% reported cognitive weariness, 32% reported emotional exhaustion, and an astounding 44% reported physical fatigue – a 38% increase since 2019.
According to the World Health Organization, burn-out is a syndrome resulting from workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Three dimensions characterise it: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one's job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's career and reduced professional efficacy.
Transformational life coach Alister Grey says: 'Over the past two years we've been forced to change our ways and although some of the changes gave us a new perspective on our lives, it has also created a post-pandemic uncertainty about what is "normal" and many of us find ourselves asking the question: "how do we readjust and find greater balance?".'
Working from home gave so many perks in the beginning. Still, we are starting to experience challenges in our relationships, our mental health, and our inability to distinguish between home and work life.
We talk to Grey on ways of coping – here are six tips on how you can re-adjust and find greater balance right now.
1. Space and time to be
During the pandemic, it's been challenging to find a moment of peace. Between managing family responsibilities, childcare, relationships with those you share a space with and the never-ending Zoom calls, creating a distinction between work and life has never been so challenging. The lack of commuting for some has also meant zero alone time, preventing people from processing their days. Creating space and time to be by yourself is essential to restoring balance. Space and time provide you with the opportunity to reflect on life, process thoughts, feelings and emotions, connect to yourself and gain perspective on your life's circumstances. It can often lead to an increased sense of gratitude, compassion, and empathy. As Nancy Kline, the author of Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind said: 'In fact, to take time to think is to gain time to live.' Creating space in your diary for a daily walk, a yoga class, or a short period of meditation or breathwork will likely have a significant impact on how you feel.
2. Breaking the daily patterns
Many people currently feel like the days and weeks are rolling into one, a 'groundhog day' existence, which offers little variation and 'more of the same'. Variety can make us feel alive and engaged with life and stimulate new ideas, thoughts, and creativity. If you've found yourself repeating experiences and adopting unhealthy habits during the pandemic, now is the time to break them. Begin by noticing how you think and feel when you wake, what you enjoy each day and what feels 'tired'. By shining the light of awareness on your daily activities you create a space to make new choices. Sometimes a simple change can be enough to spark some life into life! Consider what patterns you'd like to change today and feel inspired by a new sense of possibility.
3. Create supportive rituals
Rituals or routines can often provide a solid foundation for you to live a good life and present you with the chance to gift yourself some 'me time' each day. I'm an avid fan of both a morning and evening routine as they act as bookends to your day. A morning practice of meditation, stretching/yoga and journalling has been found to significantly improve your mental and emotional wellbeing. An evening ritual of no tech before bed, a warm bath or shower and some time to read/meditate will likely contribute to a healthier sleep pattern. If you think, 'I don't have enough time to meditate', think again; meditation has been found to significantly impact one's ability to focus, concentrate and increase productivity when practised over time.
4. Acknowledge feelings and emotions (and let them be)
When we live and work in the same environment day after day, especially when surrounded by our loved ones, it can become intense. It's not uncommon for people to suppress emotions and for these emotions to build up inside. Finding a way to process and experience your emotions is essential to experiencing more significant levels of wellbeing. There are several ways you can do this and one of the most beneficial ways is to hire an expert to hold space for you, where you feel comfortable to express yourself. This could be in the form of a coach or therapist depending upon how you feel. For some people, asking for help may feel difficult and uncomfortable. However, in a day and age where our minds are always 'on', a non-judgemental soundboard that will listen to you with deep care and attention can go a long way to helping you realise your innate wellbeing again. Another great way to acknowledge your feelings and emotions is to create space and time each day to journal. In neuroscience terms, this is known as affect labelling, which is essentially putting feelings into words. The process has been found to help individuals develop greater emotional regulation, literacy, and the ability to process and experience their emotions healthily.
5. Practise patience and compassion
It's been a tough time for many people, and they often forget what we, and others, have been through. Most of the time, when we find ourselves in conflict, either with ourselves or others, it's because we feel tired and insecure. So taking time to acknowledge yourself for your efforts, to appreciate who you are and to recognise that you are simply 'doing your best' is essential. This practice can also be applied to those around you. It's been an emotional and challenging time for everyone, so give yourself some love, practise compassion and be patient too. The world needs to experience more love at the moment, and it begins with the relationship you have with yourself and your loved ones/family.
6. Consider what lights you up
We can't take life too seriously or it will drive us insane. Life has felt serious for too long and each day seems to bring news that challenges our belief in humanity (and our world), but it is possible to lift our energy and spirits by focusing on the things that truly light us up. Whether spending more time with someone who makes you laugh, running yourself a warm bath each night or planning a new adventure with a loved one or friend, taking time to contemplate the things that light you up is a good way to re-establish a positive connection to life. Sometimes it's the small things such as a walk in nature, a moment of being fully present with your kids or reading a good book that can make all the difference. So don't let life pass you by: take a deep breath in, relax the shoulders, put a smile on your face and reconnect to the joy inside.
Alister Grey has personally delivered coaching programmes on behalf of some of the world's most well-known brands, including Google, Nike, Lululemon and Dropbox, to name a few. They infuse training with neuroscience, mindfulness, meditation and deep self-work, taking leaders and coaches on a wonderful journey within.
To find out more or to train with Alister – click here.