Most of us may be enjoying the long weekend ahead of us in observance of the All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day. Many may have gone back home to their hometowns in the provinces to either visit the resting place of their dead loved one’s or to take this opportunity to relax, or both. One thing is for sure, everyone should take this chance to have a break from work and relieve ourselves from the stress we get every single day in our jobs, as the World Health Organization (WHO) have identified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon.
But, what is burn-out exactly? Simply speaking, burn-out happens when we reach a certain stress level that it already affects how we function in our jobs. Sometimes, we feel like whatever we do in the office is nothing but routine and we are already like machines – doing the same thing repeatedly. We lose sight of our goals and the feeling of pleasure from doing the things we used to enjoy. We get tired easily and sometimes just by sitting by our desk is already draining our energy for the day. We may feel like we want to quit but it is definitely not an option due to some other factors we always take into consideration. We feel all these just because we let ourselves drown in stress that we find it hard to crawl back up.
Now, how do we avoid burn-out? Well, we could say that burn-out is an end-product of too much stress. Thus, to avoid burn-out, we should avoid being drown in stress. Here are some tips I could personally share with you to avoid being stressed (and being burned out). Just a word of caution though, there is no empirical evidence to the following, so try it at your own risk.
- Plan and Don’t Plan
It seems like everything nowadays is moving at a very fast pace. You may feel like it is really difficult to keep up with everything that is happening. If you have your goals set, that is good. If not, it doesn’t matter. What we need to do is live through the experience. If you think that you’re not the happy-go-lucky type of person, it is definitely okay to go according to your plans. But keep in mind, that sometimes things don’t go as we want it to be. So always have contingencies to avoid being surprised of certain situations. Now, if you’re the opposite type who lives by the day and is ready to face the day as it is, no one is stopping you. However, everyone must move forward and grow. Although, you want to face the situation as it happens, you will have to face the reality that you should be reaching a certain level for your own growth sooner or later and you better be prepared for it. Having a plan has its own benefits. It keeps us in track to where we want to be in few years’ time. But we should also leave room for detours, because what happens spontaneously could help us grow as well. By knowing this, we lessen our expectations of ourselves and we could just not totally concern ourselves of other’s opinion about our own progress.
- Know Your Priorities
Tip #1 is basically for your own pace for self-growth, but you can’t just think about yourself. When you grow, the people around you should also be given a chance to grow for themselves. How is this relevant? When you know your priorities, you could choose what responsibilities you could take. When you know your priorities and the responsibilities you willingly took, you could manage your time well. Knowing your priorities could help you justify your decisions and then make necessary contingencies. We have our own responsibilities in our job and sometimes keeping up with them is just too much. Now, if you think the problem is beyond responsibilities you could just ignore them, so long as you don’t cause trouble for other people or you’re not being worthless.
- Maintain Social Connections Outside Your Job
Going to work every single day, you interact with same people. Your co-workers are the same people you discuss and solve work-related stuff almost every single day, and maybe even after working hours. These people now trigger you to think about work-related things whenever you are with them, including that one officemate you all hate. You need a break from work-related problems. So, it would be helpful you would go out with other people outside your job. Maintaining social connections outside your job may give you opportunities to explore other things that you can’t experience in your work. Other people may also engage you in discussions that doesn’t concern your job but will help you grow as a person.
- Go Out and Be Active
Most people who experience burn-out do not have other activities in their lives. They are too immersed in their jobs, that they don’t have time to engage themselves that will keep them active. Being physically active helps your body release body chemicals that makes you happy and prevents you from experiencing stress. Nowadays, hiking is one of the most popular options among the millennials to destress. Being exposed to nature while also being physically active help significantly in maintaining mental well-being. But if you don’t have the luxury of time to travel, you could just stay in the metro if you prefer and enroll yourself to the gym or play indoor sports like badminton, volleyball, or basketball, even after working hours. Just keep yourself active.
- Eat Healthy
I am not saying you should turn into a vegetarian, lower your carbohydrate intake, or what-not, but what I meant is that you should you check your diet if it is balanced. The reason why we eat is to replenish our energy. If what we eat doesn’t give us the energy that we need, then our performance would not be as optimized as we want it to be. At the end of the day, whether we like it or not, we always look back to the things we have accomplished. If we feel that we were not at our best, it increases the chances that we experience stress because we are already thinking of the following day that we have to compensate for our poor performance. So, we should choose what we eat wisely.
- Take that Leave
Taking a break from work is a must. Whether or not it is paid, if you are given the chance to take a leave from work, do it. Just like maintaining social connections outside your job, taking a leave from work helps you replenish the energy that you have exhausted after days of work. Who knows if that leave could help you discover new ideas which could optimize your performance? Take your leave from work and make use of it to reboot your system and come back as fresh as a new employee.
- If it is No Longer Healthy, Walk Away
We will soon reach a point that we fill we are no longer as effective as we want to be. This feeling may affect our performance. If you feel that, by whatever reason, your job is taking a toll in your health, mentally or physically, talk to your superiors, deal with whatever causes it, and if can’t be helped, walk away. Stress can give us feelings of worthlessness. Sometimes, with too much stress we develop other mental health problems. On one hand, our human resource department should ensure the welfare of the employees. They should, at all times, be ready to aid the employees to be at their best and that includes helping them address the stressors they have. If by any chance that what causes the stress to the employee is the job itself, he/she must be given an option to walk away since the priority should be his/her well-being. On the other hand, the employee should take initiative in seeking help to address what he/she is experiencing. You are the first person who could say if you are stressed. Recognizing your own situation is always the step one to address your problem. If you feel that the best thing to do to relieve you from the stress you are experiencing is leaving your work, then by all means do it.
Some may or may not agree with these tips. Regardless, we should all maintain our well-being; we are the one’s responsible for it anyway. October is the Mental Health Awareness month and it has just ended, but it doesn’t mean that educating ourselves about mental health ends as well. Since everyone of us has an occupation, we are all vulnerable to stress and possibly burn-out. These tips could help some, but it may not work for everyone. How we look ahead of our future, how we internalize our situation, and how we deal with things will always matter in how we address our own stressors.
Mental well-being is something we could achieve on our own. But if we are faced with problem and it appears that we can’t handle them, seeking professional is very much encouraged. Everything, as mentioned, is moving at fast pace, and so we should always be ready to keep up, physically and mentally. —