burnout

How to Prevent Burnout By Taking Time To Recharge

Burnout happens as a result of an overworked mind. Like a body or even a machine, keeping your mind running all the time eventually leads to exhaustion. You tend to reach this point of exhaustion even quicker you’re working at a high intensity. Is it possible to get things done while still giving yourself time to recharge? To reduce stress and increase the sustainability of your performance, it’s helpful to remember the creativity cycle.

What Is The Creativity Cycle?

When working out to build muscle, it’s important to train with rest and recovery phases. When your computer or phone isn’t working right, the first thing to do it try rebooting it, right? Well, the same goes for your mind. The creativity cycle depicts the duality of the action and recovery phases of work. Action typically occurs in the office, while recovery takes place during your leisure time.

The “Action” Phase

The “action” phase is a time of energetic production in the office. This is when all the creative ideas that have been written, sketched, noted, and daydreamed are being put into action. Depending on your industry, this might involve writing up a proposal, creating a mockup on PhotoShop, planning thoughtful items for a meeting, or the collaboration in the meeting itself. During this time, things get done. There is obvious and measurable output where you have the chance to bring your full self into the situation with focus. This comes with a caveat. Staying locked in the “action” phase means heading towards burnout.

The “Recovery” Phase

The “recovery” phase is for, you guessed it - rest. Rest is often understated in a society that rewards high-quantity work. However, giving yourself a break from work is essential to burnout-free, long-lasting productivity. What needs to be done during the “action” phase of the creativity cycle is quite straightforward. In the “recovery” phase it can be a bit harder to pinpoint what to do. Focus on unwinding in your downtime with activities like:

  • Taking a hot bath

  • Going for a walk

  • Hiking

  • Reading

  • Painting

  • Watching your favorite show

  • Spending time with friends and family.

During this recovery period, your working mind gets stronger. When you get back into the “action” phase, you are re-energized and ready to think critically while creating.

Action and recovery are a constant give and take. Too much recovery and nothing will get done, too much action and the stress will lead to burnout. Sustainability comes from a balance between the two phases where you feel healthy and happy to work. That’s why it’s so important to give your mind a break from work when you step out of the office. Give yourself time to focus on recharging with activities you enjoy.

How to Stay Centered in Stressful Situations

Stress management is a lifelong practice. Whether it’s exercising, eating healthy, or learning to meditate, dealing with stress through a healthy lifestyle works wonders. What about those acute stressful moments though? It could be a fight with a spouse, a difficult conversation at work, backing up into another car, or any number of any “in-the-moment” stressful situations. Along with everyday stress management practices, here is a simple 3 step process you can use next time stress comes on suddenly.

Step 1: Take A Breath

You’ll hear this tip often when it comes to stress management advice, and that’s because it’s a good one. Breathing increases oxygen to the brain, while simultaneously reducing cortisol and raising serotonin levels. The simple act of breathing nourishes your mind, which helps put your brain into a chemically clearer state. Taking even a few deep breaths also gives your mind a moment to catch up with what is happening in your external environment. Acutely stressful situations can come on fast, so allow yourself to process what’s happening.

Step 2: Notice Your Body

When we get stressed, a few things tend to happen with our bodies as we enter into a “fight or flight” mode. At this time, you might find your heart racing, or your palms sweating. You might even feel a little shaky. That is because your body is producing adrenaline, which is normal and worth noticing.

As you feel your body, keep breathing deeply as you try to bring yourself back to a calmer state. Remind yourself with each breath that you are safe, strong, and capable. This is especially useful if you are in a verbal confrontation. Often times, stressful conversations move into hyperspeed, and both people involved don’t get a chance to take a step back. The few seconds you take to breathe and calm your body down also gives the other person a moment to consider the situation.


Step 3: Respond

By providing your body with relief, you have the opportunity to let that quieter, wiser voice in your head become audible again. During stressful situations, the primal fight or flight voice tends to yell from a place of fear, drowning out sense and reason. What is actually happening is that the amygdala (the ancient, fear-center of your brain) is taking over for the prefrontal cortex (the more developed, rational part of your brain). Although that part of your brain is trying to warn you to survive, it is not wise enough to know that you are safe. You are safe, and you are wise.

As your brains chemistry shifts back to normal, chances are you’ll hear a clear and calm response to the situation come up in your head. You’ll know when you hear it because it too will have a calming effect. Something like “I love my wife, and we will work through this, let me tell her that,” or “Okay, I need to write down this car’s license plate.” Start with that first rational action and go from there.

By responding in accordance to that wiser part of yourself, your body will continue to calm down. Try practicing this simple three step process next time unexepected stress pops up in your life.

3 Steps to Overcome Stressful Times

Have you ever met someone who thrives when the going gets tough? Wondering how they manage to stay calm and centered when life is challenging? The good news is most people aren’t born level-headed and calm under crisis. It takes practice to keep your head constantly clear. Here is a simple 3 step process you can use to stay centered during stressful times:

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1. Set Your Intention.

Rather than getting overwhelmed when things get stressful, imagine your ideal outcome. What is your intended result for this situation? By setting an intention you are directing the situation towards your preferred outcome.  Whatever your intention may be, keep the phrasing the same and as simple as possible.

 

 

2. Act According To Your Intention.

Once you have your intention, it’s much easier to take clear and logical next steps. This will help you remain calm as you overcome the current problem. Take a moment to visualize your ideal solution and how overcoming this problem now fits into the big picture.

While working through stressful times, keep your desired outcome in mind. Imagine as if it were real, and one day it will be. Life's challenges are a great opportunity to learn and grow. Responding to obstacles in accordance with your original intention ensures that you’re headed in the right direction.

3. Build The Habit.

Repeat your intention to yourself often. The more you come back to your intention, the more ingrained it can become. Keep practicing. Eventually, your subconscious mind will default to this process when times get tough. With persistence, staying centered in stressful situations will become easy.

No matter how stressful the situation, these 3 steps will help keep you centered. Having a clear desired outcome helps you focus on the path to your best life.

 

Stress Less with This Simple, Easy Meditation

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Before you begin, find a comfortable position---seated in a chair, cross-legged, lying on your back---and a quiet-ish space (yes, your office bathroom stall counts).

Start by focusing on your breath.

We use the breath because it’s always with us, so we can do this anytime and anywhere. Focusing on your breath makes focusing your attention easier. Try it now.

Don’t worry if your mind wanders.

If you find yourself thinking about tonight’s cycling class or tomorrow’s deadline, don’t beat yourself up about it. Let the thoughts enter your mind then quietly leave. Don’t focus on them, but don’t try to force them away.

Gently return your focus to your breath.

Keep it going: Breathe and stay focused on that breath. Allow your mind and body to center, and then calmly, silently do it all again.

You can keep this practice going for one to 30 minutes, depending on your level of stress or need for balance. Next time you find yourself overwhelmed with all that life throws your way, return to this simple, daily meditation and find peace within.

The True Cost of Stress

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Why do people become stressed? For so many, feeling “stressed out” is a sign of caring, working hard, and being a good employee.

But did you know that employee stress is one of the single greatest sources of lost revenue for businesses?

In David Gelles’ book, Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business from the Inside Out, he describes how highly stressed workers are less productive and incur more health care costs than their less-stressed colleagues. According to the World Health Organization, stress costs American businesses as much as $300 billion per year.

What could your company do with all that extra money?

More importantly, how productive would your employees be without all that stress?

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by millions of people looking to relax, find balance, and feel calm. Stress has mental and physical manifestations -- it can lead to depression and anxiety that affects both the mind and body. Because meditation strengthens the connection between the head and the heart, the physical and the mental, it is a simple, accessible way to reduce stress.

Journey helps people focus their attention and clear their minds. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference for body, mind, and business.