Well I think most of us know what burn out is, but do I know how to avoid it? And if I do know how to avoid it, do I actually do that? Further to that thought is, that, even if I do know how to avoid it, do I recognize it approaching, or is it like stepping in front of a freight train?
So what signs do I need to look for? How can I know burn out is approaching? If I don’t know this, there is no way of hoping to avoid it.
Here are the key signs you could be on the verge of burning out:
• Poor sleep
• An unsettled stomach and poor digestion
• High blood pressure
• Constantly thinking about work when at home
• A snappy and irritable mood
• Never having enough time for work deadlines, projects, family or even yourself
• Poor concentration
• Socializing less
....... or juggling too many boxes
Hmmm…. That's a pretty long list and how many of us don't experience several of those things on a weekly basis.
I have a couple of strategies that help me to manage these kind of symptoms. Here they are.
1. I go to a yoga relaxation class once a week, which might not seem like much. It is however an hour of time where I really, consciously try to relax fully and enter a meditative state. So it’s not yoga asanas to keep your body limber. It’s very specifically for relaxation purposes.
You may or may not know that meditation has a huge list of physical and mental benefits including things like lowering high blood pressure.
2. The second thing I do is take time to read, whether that's non fiction or fantasy, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that it puts me in a totally different head space for the period of time I do it. So morning and or afternoon tea, or lunch and half an hour before I go to bed, gets allocated to this activity.
Mostly I read digitally, but I keep a print and paper book to read before bed when one is supposed to be winding down and off screens. This relaxes me and helps me get off to sleep.
3. The third thing I do is take a weekly time out - my artist date, which you may have read about before as there are several previous blog posts where I talk about this.
So long as I have some ways to relax and chill out I think I manage to keep burn out at bay. Of course regular holidays are something else which goes a long way towards rest and recharging as well. The important thing here is to be conscious of your own mental and emotional state and when you are feeling a bit fragile, acknowledge it and do whatever you need to do that will help you get yourself back together.
I see this problem, burn out, threatening many of my students who are currently grappling with life changing issues like, parents going into care, or needing to, caring for elderly parents, managing grandchildren and perhaps even their own illnesses. Sooner or later if we don’t pay attention to our own wellbeing, something will give. It is better to address this before it happens.
NEXT WEEK: Documenting Inventory - How To Keep Track of Your Art Pieces.