Recognise Burnout Before You Check Out
I was at home drinking my morning coffee when Steph first approached me to write a blog post on preventing burn out. At the time I thought ‘man, I’ve never been there so how the hell would I even know?’. Then I got thinking... See towards the end of a hectic 2018, I was very much at that point. I didn’t even realise it at the time. Burnout can be insidious. It can sneak up on you like some nasty little prankster. You bounce from day to day thinking you’re fine. Supercharged with caffeine and running on minimal sleep all to meet deadlines and to get more sh*t done. We’ve all fallen victim to our own to-do lists. Not achieving each task and checking them off can make us feel even more helpless, am I right? Full disclosure here… I own and operate a functional training gym. It’s tough but rewarding work. Couple that with two beautiful vibrant kids, a family life and working at CQ Rescue as an Aircrewman. You could say I had a bit on my plate. Until I reached a point. I was always on edge… I struggled to show up in any part of my life. I was slowly beginning to drown. Metaphorically of course, but joy in anything became a genuine struggle.
Retrospection is a mighty powerful ally and it’s through this I started to see the cracks. If this resonates with you read on. Soon I will deliver 5 of my best tips to avoid landing in the deep end like I did. By going to that place, it gave me valuable feedback on what was missing. It goes a little something like this...
Do Less - Better
I’ve touched on this already but adding more and more to your to-do list is not the answer. Look at your to-do list… if you could only pick 3 items that you had to do, what would they be? Chances are these items are the tasks which will bring you the most value. We’re talking 80/20 principle here. This sub heading so happens to be my daily mantra - I live by this myself
Connect with yourself more
Through life we're fed this BS story that taking time out for yourself is selfish and frowned upon. You don’t have to look too far to our parents… they did ‘everything’ for the children and they were lucky to get out alive. Knowing when to step away for time out and acting on that allows you to show up better in both your personal and professional life.
Find a hobby that you enjoy or practice meditation and mindfulness. Taking a few moments out each day for yourself can add significant value to the quality of your life. I know what you’re thinking ‘I need to take up some woo woo BS practice to find myself?’. Not exactly. For me it looked like an electric skateboard. Yes I am a 40 year old man who rides an electric skateboard!
In our busy lives this concept seems lost to so many. Moving daily doesn’t mean a hard slog session in the gym. It also doesn’t mean a trudge for 10 or so minutes. It’s about balance between high and low intensity exercise and doing something daily. We're built to move every single day. It’s only through our convenient lifestyles we fail to do this. Movement is a necessity not optional. Join a gym, buy some exercise equipment and start.
Get Quality Sleep
Bright lights, 24 hour work cycles. All designed to drive us towards higher productivity. But sadly it comes at a cost. I see this one often. How many times have you convinced yourself you can function with 6 or less hours of sleep a night? A definitive 'hell yes' while you say cheers with your coffee cup. It isn't because you CAN function - it’s because you’re used to it. This is a big one and I could write a whole blog on this alone. For now, try these simple tips.
Avoid any blue light from TVs, phones, computers and tablets at least an hour before bed, instead jump into a book.
Aim for 8 plus hours each night. After as little as 2 weeks you will notice significant improvements in many areas of your life
If you’ve never had a sleep routine now might be the time to try
Eat Good Food
Pre-packaged foods from major stores, fast food chains and servo's offer us a solution in our rush rush lifestyles but it’s one that wreaks havoc inside our bodies. Here's an analogy… eating poor quality food is like to filling up a Ferrari with diesel then expecting it to function like the sports car it is. It won’t happen. Your body is exactly the same. Instead, fuel your body with good quality protein, carbohydrates and good sources of fats plus add in plenty of nutrient dense foods. Eat the rainbow is positively the easiest way to remember this. Minimise the amount of packaged foods you eat. Sure you can have the occasional indulgence but they shouldn’t be the bulk of your food intake.
My final word?
If you feel like you’re struggling and you can’t seem to find joy in anything, take a look inside to see what’s going on. You may be approaching that point where you’re close to burning out. Remember it ain’t weak to speak. Reach out to someone and get the help you deserve
By Lee Jones-Fraser
Coach and co-owner at CrossFit 4740
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