It’s Time to Step Out of The Fast Lane.
At this time of year, my work and life tend to become especially hectic, and I don’t think I’m alone.
For many people, the nearer we edge toward the sanctuary of a well-earned festive break, the more this most wonderful time of the year transforms into one of the most stressful.
Whether it’s linked to the pressure of sales targets, the financial year-end, or the need to lock down new budgets and plans, the calendar’s end never fails to instigate a deep desire in people to clear any outstanding jobs and tick them off their list before they can even begin to contemplate relaxing.
This year, when you add into the melting pot two years of constant change, irregular holidays, the blurred work-life boundaries created by homeworking, and the pressure of organising a magical Christmas at home, it is all too easy to see why December and January are the months that carry the highest risk of people burning out or losing the enthusiasm to work for their current employer.
What can you do to help yourself?
A certain level of stress may be unavoidable but, even if you are working long hours, burnout is preventable.
Firstly, there are some common warning signs you should look out for, including an increasing number of errors at work, higher than usual levels of anxiety and worry, being constantly tired, or becoming disengaged and moody.
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to sprinkle a little bit of joy back into your life. Start by stepping off the daily treadmill, even if only for a short time, to look after your health and well-being:
Not only is exercise good for physical health, but it is also good for mental health and gives a positive emotional boost.
- Eat Well
Eating healthily and, if possible, including foods in your diet that act as natural antidepressants, like those rich in Omega-3, can also help to lift your mood.
- Get some sleep
Resting your body and resetting your mind is essential for your welfare, and that means getting into a healthy and regular sleep routine.
- Ask for help
During stressful times, it’s so important to reach out for help when you need it and share your problems instead of burying them and letting them build.
I know it’s not easy – and I need to take a lot of this advice myself – but these four widely accepted pieces of wisdom should help to navigate you safely to the Christmas break.
If you still feel unhappy, however, the holidays also offer the momentary pause you need to reflect, and I would start with four key questions; where you are, what is important to you, where do you want to be, and are you happy with the balance between home, family, work, and time for yourself.
They are big questions, so you must be brave and honest with yourself. If you struggle, try chatting openly with family and friends, and thinking about what makes you truly happy. The answers to what you do next won’t be far away from there.
Personally, I like to use the downtime Christmas brings to be with my family and plan for the new year by creating lists and setting new goals and routines. This helps me to be clear about what it is I want to achieve in the coming months and how I plan to make it happen.
This year, I have a feeling it could lead to introducing and sticking to some new work-life boundaries, but whatever it means for you, don’t be afraid of change. It is always better to try something new than settle for something that doesn’t make you happy. Not many people regret making a choice, but plenty regret doing nothing at all.