Have you ever felt… done… just, done? There’s no more to give and you might even be too worn out to receive. You’re tired all the time and you’ve got a low–level of irritability brewing so you feel like you could snap at the people you work with and/or the ones you care about. You feel stressed and you gravitate toward the “wrong” foods – you don’t need sugar, carbs, alcohol, or more coffee (no, really you don’t need them), yet you find yourself seeking them. Even sex seems like it’s just too much trouble. You wonder whether you’re depressed and to answer that question, you curl up in a ball on the couch or in bed (perhaps taking some chips, cookies, or ice cream with you) as you get numb with the TV.
Honestly, most of us have felt something like that at some point.
It’s called Burnout and it happens when you get sleep deprived and give until you don’t have anything left. “Just one more thing” (another call, document, report, research article, etc.) – you stuff in that last thing and go off knowing that you didn’t finish it all.
The problem is perspective. You’re too tired and stressed out to see beyond the veil of “gotta get it all done.”
Here’s the thing: YOU CAN’T GIVE WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE and if you’re running on fumes, you’re producing at a sub-standard level anyway. If you’re in a service delivery profession, be careful so that you do no harm.
Stephen Covey was right when he talked about his seventh habit of sharpening the saw. You must take time to refresh and replenish in order to be better at doing what you do.
HIGH PERFORMERS AND DYNAMIC LEADERS KNOW THESE SECRETS:
- Block time – even in the midst of deadlines – block time for yourself. Twenty minutes of “me” time in the middle of a super-busy day can feel like an oasis. Two blocks of that kind of time is amazing. And for bonus points, you’ll block out more.
- Renew with your partner. The super-achievers take block time to an even greater level and block time to spend (without technology) a weekend or more away together at least once a quarter. Every 90 days, can you spend a weekend to get to know each other again? If you’re single, get to know that person in the mirror. Take a journal and log out!
- Hydrate! I know…! You’ve heard that before and yet, common sense isn’t always common practice. Create a row of boxes and take some satisfaction in checking off the number of glasses of water you’re drinking every day.
- Close your eyes. Every couple of hours, give your eyes a break. Try this one now and just see how it feels. Close your eyes and gently place your finger tips on your eyelids, sliding (gently) back and forth for about ten seconds.
- Breathe – yeah, that too. If you check your posture even as you’re reading this, you’ll notice that you’re looking down and slouching a bit. That collapses your lungs so that they can’t fully inflate and that means you’re not oxygenating. You’re simply not breathing right all… day… long.
- Stretch. Every hour or so, get up and stretch. Raise your arms up and back behind you. Swing them around. Stretch them behind you to open your chest. Squat. Oh, and refer back to #5, above. And if you’re really practicing #3, then you can do some stretches on the way to the restroom. (Personally, I do this all the time. I use my walks down the hall as a chance to swing my arms, regain range of motion in my neck, and to work out my quads.)
- Sleep. You’re burned out because you’re not sleeping. You’re trying to get so much done that you’re giving up the one activity that is proven to renew your ability to get more done. Seriously, don’t die because you’ve stressed your body to the point of breaking. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” isn’t funny. It’s a horrible reality for all too many people who test the limits and end up with cardio-vascular issues. The body’s repair mechanisms kick in during REM and Deep Sleep. Your sex life suffers because you’re not functioning as a whole human.
- Smile. The easiest way to be more at ease is to practice being more at ease. New research indicates that if you stay in a critical place in the world (it’s so easy to be offended these days, isn’t it?), you’re more likely to bring stress upon yourself. On the other hand, research in Positive Psychology notes that when you smile, look up more, and breathe more deeply, you’re actually activating a psycho-physiological response for optimism.
- Carrying that forward, change your language and self-talk. Instead of “why,” be a bit playful and curious, asking “what if?” It takes more energy to worry than it does to think positively. There’s no need to put your energy of imagination into dwelling on what bad outcome might happen. Sure, think about worst-case scenarios, but don’t live there. Pump your energy into looking ahead. Imagine getting through the challenges.
- Do something new. Try one thing new today. Buy a new article of clothing. Eat something different. Go down a different street. Read something you would never dream of picking up. Push beyond the dull day-to-day of “oh, no, not this all over again.”
- Make other people smile. When you can connect by keeping eye contact, smiling, and perhaps giving compliments to others, you’ve stopped dwelling in your own tiny, imploding world. By expanding out and connecting (even introverts can practice this), you pull yourself out of the rut you’ve been in.
- Finally, and perhaps most important, live in gratitude. I wake up every morning uttering two words: Thank You. Even the days that I get up at 3am and don’t really want to drag myself to the shower before going to the airport again, I am grateful to be able to serve. Service to others, beyond the report that needs to be finished or the work that you normally do, breaks you free as well.
Live fully and bring the magic back into your life. As a DynamicLeader®, you find new meaning in your day-to-day life and you bring joy and vitality with a renewed sense of purpose.
Burnout happens when you lose your focus and your purpose. It happens when you lose perspective. Practicing these Dynamic Dozen will help to bring you back to being your joyful, vibrant, sexy self.
Until next week’s Wednesdays With Wayne, keep making your magic and rock your world (and someone else’s while you’re at it).
~ Dr P ~