You can feel it, you are starting to wear down. Too many grueling weeks in a row at work. Too many things on the “To do” list in your mind. Just too much going on. We shuffle around quickly and feel rushed… then, you realize it, you are just burned out. It impacts our mood to take us to a negative place, where we dwell on what is wrong and not how to fix things. It impacts our speech and we join in with other who are burned out too to wallow in the mire of unhappiness. We are not patient when we are burned out and our tempers flair over a small collection of irrelevant events that we have grouped together as some catastrophe in our mind.
Stop rushing just for a bit and slow down. Rest. Turn off Email or Slack and just unwind. Being kept wound so tight all the time… something will break. I think there is a true benefit to unplugging from technology and being close to loved ones. If you must “Do” something, then go analog and play a board game or something that will free your mind from the constant noise and worry of your various tasks and responsibilities.
Start planning for that “you” time and then actually break away and enjoy it. When you feel the burn of your job or other sources of stress, think of those things that bring you comfort and the thoughts of calm. Put together a play list on your device of choice that is filled with songs that bring good memories and settle you down. Listen to this when you can to keep you close to center and away from burnout.
Do get away from the work and do it for your mental and physical health. I myself have had quite a rough 4 weeks here recently at work that have been stressful on my co-workers as well. Inevitably, that stress and list of issues does not just stay at work… that weight is carried home and impacts interactions with my wife and kids. Where I am distracted and quickly frustrated even by their simple act of wanting me to pay attention to them. This is not a healthy place to be in. Teach your loved ones to notice when you are burned out and help them to guide you to your way of reconnecting and calming down. Not just to calm down at that point but the more long lasting calm that will help build you back up… to be patient, kind, thoughtful and present in the moment.
So after the 4 weeks of burnout and stress, here is what I did to recharge and reconnect. I did not go to work on Friday and I disconnected from some of the technical distractions. The weather was perfect on Friday. Perfect. So, we (the family) stayed outside and felt the warmth of the sun on our skin and the cool breeze when you walked through the shade of the trees. I laid on the rock wall in our yard and stared at the sky… took a few pictures to capture and remember that calm feeling and what a perfect day it was. I pushed my son around on a tricycle and listened to him laugh and call out order on where to turn and what to run over next. The next day we met with my brother and my mom to take the kids to the Renaissance Festival, a local mediaeval event that is held the weekends in May in our area. I was a bit uncomfortable for a while because I do not care for crowds and the attempt to herd the cats from one thing to the next… then it happened. I just let go of trying to control it and had a great time. This was a great time to reconnect with family.
Then there is “you” and you need to have your own disconnected time. It does not have to be extended or even elaborate but find a thing that will bring you comfort and peace to heal your brain and recharge your batteries. I went to REI this weekend and looked at a few things then something jumped out at me… something I felt like I needed. There was a comfortable looking hammock that could be hooked into trees or whatever. Then just hang there and relax. This was the “me” time that I was looking for. I will have to say that it worked. I went out there and it was quiet and a laid there looking at the sky and was truly relaxed. Then as the sun filtered through the leaves in the trees, I was overwhelmingly relaxed and I fell asleep. Not just a little asleep but I slept hard and was energized when I woke up a few hours later.
That is why I typed this… I thought of what a great weekend it was and how much better I felt. I hope this feeling can carry on into the upcoming week but if it doesn’t… it is okay. Because I feel great now and this was the perfect weekend I needed to recharge myself. I feel great and had some downtime.