Some recent medical issues of mine caused me to rethink a lot of the way I work and how I handle stress. In other words, I needed to recharge my batteries.
In a world where we seem to judge each other in terms of the hours we put into a project, I think we’ve created a work culture that promotes working longer hours for fewer, less rewarding outcomes. As a society we’re stressed out, less focused and worst of all, less satisfied. At least, I know I was. This leads to what I like to call burnout.
The problem with living in that kind of work culture is that we self-perpetuate the myth that if we just work longer and harder we’ll be more rewarded. What exactly are we awarding ourselves with if we’re tired and stressed out all the time? When did money and job titles becoming more important than sleeping? Sitting down to a meal with your family? Getting exercise?
Obviously, feeling burned out is sometimes unavoidable- major life events, seasonal extracurricular and work activities, personal crises – these are natural occurrences in the ebb and flow of life. It’s still okay to feel inadequate, or ill-equipped during these experiences. What’s most important is taking care of yourself, and harnessing the help of others around you during this time.
One of the solutions I have discovered that has been one of the most surprisingly beneficial to my own issues has been communication. No one should have to suffer alone. You’d be amazed to discover how many people are willing to offer their help or support during your time of difficulty. At the very least they are better able to understand your absence, lack of focus, or your appearance of disinterest. Professionally speaking, you may want to share this information with a select few at your workplace depending on the nature of your issue.
If you protect yourself by seeking the help you need early enough, you may be able to delegate certain projects to co-workers, or delay certain deadlines. Sympathetic bosses may offer opportunities for cut-backs or short-cuts. Take these when are you are able. Your responsibility at this time should be to yourself.
Personally speaking, learn when to say no to social commitments and be select about the personal projects you take on. Give your time and attention to the things that are of immediate priority- personal hygiene, adequate sleep, eating nutritionally, getting enough exercise and giving yourself the mental space to breathe and recuperate. You may want to check in with your doctor at this time to make sure there are no medical issues that could contribute to your stress, or level of burnout. Vitamin deficiencies, sleeping disorders or thyroid issues could all lead towards feelings of malaise. Keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water can also help, as well as taking a multi-vitamin if your diet requires.
Type A people like myself will argue that they are superhuman and can do anything; most of us can if we put our minds to it. But our first responsibility is to ourselves, and to our own personal well-being. Learning how manage that in a crisis is the first step to empowering ourselves to work smarter instead of harder, and enjoying the benefits of a happy and fulfilling life, no matter what the world throws at us.
What’s your best advice on dealing with a crisis? Is there something that’s worked for you in the past? Sharing is caring and I’d love for you to share yours below, or with me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I might share them in a future post. No one should have to suffer through a crisis alone! We’re all here to help.
If you’re looking for more ways to find some balance in your life, I’m trying to figure it all out too here.