Many South Africans are currently concerned about the energy crisis and the impact load shedding will have on the economy. Of even greater concern is the global trend of workforce exhaustion and low energy levels.
When I talk to executives and managers, there are a few words that come up over and over again in conversations and they are: “tiredness / exhaustion / burnout”.
That’s not surprising.
Many of us started 2022 in survival mode; are still recovering from the challenges and changes brought on by the pandemic. We were expected to do our best this year… but in fact… many were still recovering and adjusting to what the new world of work will be like.
Fast forward to now
Burnout is a global problem. It refers to feelings of lack of energy or exhaustion. It is an increased mental detachment from one’s work, or feelings of negativity or cynicism about one’s work and decreased professional efficiency.
A new Asana study looked at over 10,000 knowledge workers in seven countries and found that about 70% of people experienced burnout in the last year.
Burnout is hard on people, and it hurts businesses too. According to the Asana study, people who experience burnout are more likely to have lower morale (36% of people), be less engaged (30%), make more mistakes (27%), and communicate incorrectly (25%). They are also more likely to leave the company (25%).
Another study conducted by Deloitte, Workplace Intelligence Research, found that 47% of employees have quit in the past when a job has negatively impacted their well-being, and 57% are considering quitting to find a job that suits them Well-being better supported.
Prepare for the December break
As we look back on a year full of challenges and disappointments, perhaps you look forward to this holiday season as an important opportunity to recharge your batteries. As a leadership coach, I call high performers: corporate athlete.
They understand the importance of balancing stress (energy consumption) with recovery (energy renewal). They, too, need the necessary time and energy to rest and, most importantly, to rest well.
Also read: What is burnout and how to prevent it in the workplace – insights from clinical psychologists
The way you take care of your body has a huge impact on how you perform under pressure.
To be effective at work, we must first ensure that we have the energy required to make a difference.
Here are some handy ideas to reignite your spark and energy during the holidays.
- Go out
When you travel, make the most of the trails at your destination. Stay at home? Get your hands dirty and work in your garden.
The holidays are a good time to naturally boost the neurotransmitters in your brain. Spending time in nature and getting a good dose of vitamin D can naturally increase these neurotransmitters.
- Make sleep a priority
It is very tempting to light the candle at both ends during the holiday season. Holiday plans can get packed and late nights with family and friends are part of the fun. However, if you’re serious about your energy recovery, it’s important to get enough sleep so your body can function at its best when you get back to work.
Post-vacation fatigue is a real thing, so we make sure you “don’t need a vacation after vacation”. So, take those afternoon naps!
- Laughter remains the best medicine
Nothing brings mind and body back into balance faster than a hearty laugh. Intentionally create opportunities for laughter.
Host a game night with friends, watch a fun movie, or play with your pet. Remember that smiling is the beginning of laughter and like laughter it is contagious. So it could just as well be giving a quick smile to a stranger in the grocery line in front of you.
- What is your time worth?
Time is the currency of your vacation (and your life), so spend it wisely. Be aware of what you spend your time doing.
A simple tool for determining if something is worth your time, start by getting a number (marginal value) that represents what an hour of your time is worth. One tip is to make your value comfortably high. Now you can calculate what it costs you to scroll social media or binge-watch a Netflix series.
You may find that your time investment pays off better when you take care of your health, prepare nutritious meals, take care of your spouse, or do things for others.
Slower and softer
Yes, for some of us, the holiday season is chaotic and can be stressful. It’s tempting to give it your all, and feeling out of control can feel overwhelming. We don’t have to rush everywhere.
We often overlook the importance of getting the basics in place. They can spend hours searching, crafting or wrapping presents. Create some simple holiday rituals for your family. Be present for your loved ones when it comes to finding perfect things.
Also read: Big layoffs for the 4-day week – How the work culture has changed in 2022
Or are you worried about struggling with exhausting vacationers, in-laws or nagging neighbors? It’s not the behavior of others that leads to your anger – it’s the story you tell yourself about their behavior that leads to how you feel.
Do you want to regain your peace? Think about the story you tell yourself about their behavior and think about when you’ve also exhibited a similar type of behavior. This will assist you in moving from judgment to more civil action.
When you return to work…
- find and create meaning
Research has shown that time away from work increases job satisfaction. Ironically, people tend to feel more joy at work when they are happier in their activities outside of work.
What does “work” mean to you? Is it that you can create a quality life so you and your family can live and experience what life has to offer OR is it “living to work”?
It is important to emphasize that no job is perfect. There will always be aspects of a job that you enjoy more than others, and that’s okay. It’s normal to go through ups and downs in your job satisfaction.
Also read: Big layoffs for the 4-day week – How the work culture has changed in 2022
Boundaries in your workplace may be easier to maintain once you start thinking about how you view work.
2. Find a thinking partner or mentor
If you’re feeling stuck or if your stress levels are rising, make sure you have someone you trust. Sometimes you need a thinking partner who can listen to you impartially – to give you the space to listen.
You may even consider combining exercise with a “venting partner” and arranging a walking club to keep your cortisol levels in check. Make sure you time these activities to support the habit-forming activities, otherwise months will go by without the session.
Mentoring can also be a powerful tool to boost your career growth. Make sure you schedule monthly sessions with your coach or mentor to ensure there is consistency and track your personal growth action plan.
- Book your next vacation
Plan shorter and more meaningful breaks throughout the year to regroup and refocus your energy. Studies show that people who take their vacation days are more productive, more engaged, and more loyal.
What is your next planned event that you are looking forward to? Maybe you’ve always wanted to go camping with the family in the fall, or maybe you want to do the Otter Trail. It may also be that you are at home with the children during the school holidays in March.
Don’t wait until next December to book your vacation.
Stress and exhaustion cannot be managed if you don’t prioritize your own rest. But most importantly, we need to be able to take time off without facing consequences or going into debt. According to a study, it takes an average of 14 days to prepare for and recover from a week’s vacation!
- Do you feel like everything is getting to be too much for you? Talk to your manager
We need to be able to talk about mental health in the workplace. Heading into 2023 – and post-pandemic – exhaustion, and raising your hand is no sign of weakness. The Microsoft Worktrends Report found that the reasons 41% of employees wanted to quit their job were unmanageable workloads and a lack of empathy from their employers.
Also Read: A Guide to Managing Stress at Work
Start talking to your boss when you feel comfortable. If not, speak to your Human Resources department to see what type of support is available.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun shines, but when darkness falls their beauty is revealed only when there is a light from within.”
Vacation is an ideal opportunity for you to have a good rest so that you can face 2023 full of energy. The key is to find out what really enlightens you. Make sure you understand what creates your flow, such as any activity that causes you to lose track of time.
Being in the zone is a biological phenomenon that releases dopamine. I encourage you to take a well-deserved break from being in the flow with no work breaks.
Anja van Beek is an agile talent strategist, leadership & HR expert and executive coach.
- This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original here.