THE BLOG

Step off the Roller Coaster of Life to Avoid Burnout

13/06/2014 13:38 BST | Updated 09/08/2014 10:59 BST

When you are in pursuit of climbing the corporate ladder, you want to make an impression and show that you are more than capable. This may mean that you put in excessive hours because you feel that is what is expected or you want to make a good impression by being seen as someone who is very on top of things.

The demarcation between work life and personal life has become distinctively blurred. For some of us, the advance in technology means that we can be tied to our work 24/7. But whilst the increasing pace of the advancement of technology has many positive benefits, there is also a dark side to it in that we are not switching off.

We have become a bit like the dogs in Pavlov's behaviourism experiments, jumping at the sound of the bell in order to get our reward. Except the reward for us is the notification on our Smartphone's or computers that an email has come in or that we have received a notification on social media.

Unless we consciously make the effort to frequently detach ourselves from the busyness of life, we can become all too consumed by this fast pace of living that will eventually take its toll on us.

One such person that this happened to is Juls Abernethy of The Body Retreat. In an interview for Astute Radio, Juls talks about how she suffered burnout and that the warning signs were there leading up to the burnout but at the time, she did not think anything of it.

One glass of wine in the evening to unwind crept up to 2 glasses and then when wine no longer hit the spot, it was upgraded to half a bottle of vodka an evening. There was also the junk that she was attempting to fuel her body with, which of course, gave her no nourishment whatsoever. The result being she found herself unable to move her legs one day and ended up doing a stint in a private clinic for 3 months.

Now how many of you are also on that slippery slope? You take work home with you; the number of glasses of wine you're having in the evening is steadily increasing; you fuel your body with junk, processed food because it is much quicker when you don't have much time.

It is like being on a rollercoaster, going faster and faster and you can't get off. But unless you slow down and get off the rollercoaster, you too could be heading for a crash just like Juls.

In order to slow down the rollercoaster that is your life, the following 4 actions will help you instil some peace and calm in your busy schedule.

Digital Detox

We detox our bodies from the toxins that we fill it with from the junk we shovel into it, so why not take a digital detox, freeing yourself from the distractions from digital technology that fill your life?

It is common practice now to have a TV in our bedrooms, with many people falling asleep in front of the glare. However, studies by Robert Kubey and Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi show that heavier TV viewing is related to lower reports of concentration, challenge, skill, control and alertness and higher reports of difficulty in concentration.

Try not putting the TV on when you go to bed, or better still, take it out the bedroom for a week and see what difference it makes. And who knows, you may even discover a new level of passion...

Switch off all social media alerts and email notifications, only allowing yourself certain times during the day in which to check them. You will be amazed at just how much more you are able to focus at the task at hand (I was).

Ditch the multi tasking

Ditch the multi tasking and focus on one thing at a time. The need to multi task has become increasingly ingrained in us but in reality, is less effective than focusing on one thing at a time.

Do you often find that you will start doing one thing and then get interrupted and start doing something else? Or are you like me who often finds that I go on the internet for one thing and find an hour later I have a dozen screens up?

Trying to juggle too many things at once can be quite stressful. Focusing on one thing at a time allows you to give it your full attention, producing better results.

Studies have shown that we do not effectively or efficiently switch between tasks and so we lose time.

Have some fun

There is a lot to be said about the saying 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.' When I started working for myself, I fell into the trap of work, work, work and little else. This was partly because I love what I do so it didn't feel like work. I eventually forgot what having fun that was not related to my work was.

I came to realise though that even though I enjoy my work, I am more creative and effective when it does not consume all my time. Now I make a conscious effort to do things that I enjoy that are not related to my business.

When was the last time you had fun and laughed so much that your sides ached? They say laughter is contagious so spend some time in the presence of those who are fun and playful.

Make some time in your busy schedule to have some good old fashioned fun because laughter helps to fight stress in many ways.

Get a good night's rest

Are you getting enough sleep? There is only so long that you can burn the candles at both ends without it taking its toll. A good night's sleep will do wonders for you. It will refresh and revitalise you and is essential for helping you to achieve optimal performance.

A lack of sleep will leave you feeling tired and can increase irrational thinking, leading to stress.

If you have difficulty falling to sleep, find something that helps to unwind and relax you before you go to bed such as a warm bath.

If your life has become a bit of a roller coaster, don't be like Juls and get to the stage where you can't even move your legs because you are so burnt out. Take action and do something about it now.

These are just 4 simple actions that can help you, there are many more. None of these are rocket science and is probably stuff that you know anyway but sometimes we just need to be reminded to do them.