We’ve all had those days where we’re pushed to the limit. We’re physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and unable to give another ounce of attention to any meaningful task. It’s like we’re supposed to be the energizer bunny, and just “keep going, and going, and going.” Though, unlike the energizer bunny we must recharge our battery if we want to maintain health and well-being. What do you do when you encounter those overwhelming moments where you don’t have the energy to keep going?
I had the experience of a 14 hour work days recently. It was tough and not totally enjoyable, though I found myself able to muster through conveniently by keeping my attitude right and energy level high. Here are some things I learned, and some other considerations to help you keep your energy level high and avoid burnout.
Be a sprinter not a marathon runner
With all the tasks and responsibilities we are committed to, it can feel like we must be on the go constantly. Though, this approach can actually be counterproductive. A more efficient method to achieve productivity is to work in shorter intervals followed by short breaks. Specifically, work for about 90 minutes then take a 15 minute break. Working shorter intervals prevents burn-out by providing recovery time to rest the mind and recuperate from any accumulating stress. We need time for emotional, mental, and physical recovery. Expecting others or ourselves to work endlessly without a break is an perfect recipe for burn-out, so make time to take a break.
Learn to maintain energy
Sometimes we just have to push through those extremely busy days. In order to keep energy level high and stay physically healthy during times of heavy work-load, there are a number of tips that can be applied.
- Develop a positive attitude – Learn to prevent stress by staying mindful of your thought process. Even if you don’t want to do something, find a way to reframe the circumstances that helps you keep a positive attitude. Energy comes from our attitude. With an enthusiastic and appreciative attitude, we will have much more energy and vitality.
- Listen to uplifting music – Listening to emotionally appealing music can be a wonderful way to stay energized, as long as you’re able to concentrate on what you’re doing, and are in a suitable setting, such as working from home or traveling in the car. Try putting on some uplifting and energizing music and sing along.
- Avoid caffeine and drink more water – Focus on drinking more water and staying hydrated in order to keep a more balanced energy level. By drinking water, you’ll feel healthier and will avoid the serious energy drain that comes from a caffeine crash.
- Get recovery time – Again take breaks during the day. Make sure to have moments where you can regain your attentional capacity and refresh your emotional state. Even if it’s just a short break, make sure to put this in your schedule, and don’t neglect it.
- Get sufficient sleep – Getting enough sleep can be exactly what’s needed to maintain a high energy level. Many people can do without sufficient sleep for one or two nights, but don’t go without restorative sleep for too long. If you need to take a power nap, take one. Exhaustion will always be on the horizon if you don’t get adequate sleep.
Take at least one day off each week, or take a vacation
Everyone needs to take time off once on awhile, whether this is just one day a week or a more extended vacation. By taking a day off where you devote time to family, hobbies, and other responsibilities, you’ll begin to see more pronounced creativity and energy being applied to the rest of your week. Even God took a day off, so don’t feel like you can’t make the time. We need a work-life balance to really enjoy what life has to offer. You don’t want to be incessantly working your entire life and one day look back on everything that passed you by. The movie Click is an excellent example of the regret that can come from getting stuck in the rat-race, and viewing every activity not directly related to our goals as a hindrance. Before we know it we’ve missed the most precious moments. Start to view time-off as an important value where you’re creating wonderful memories.
Be around people who inspire you
Our environment has a serious impact on how we feel and the attitude we maintain. Make sure to seek out people who uplift your mood and energy level. Think of a time when you were around negativity and cynicism and how this rubbed off on your own feelings and attitude. Now, think of a situation where others were positively encouraging, upbeat, and humorous. How did this influence your outlook and level of gratitude? Most people are impacted by friends, family, and co-workers, so consider the people you surround yourself with wisely. This will have a serious impact on your well-being in the long-run.
Stillness and silence
The modern times offer little rest and relaxation. We have forsaken stillness and silence for the constant sounds and activity of technology, media, and gossip. No matter how unnatural it may feel at first, learn to make time to get in touch with yourself through stillness and silence. This can provide a powerful tool to manage the stress of everyday life and avoid burnout. Make time in your life to dedicate to those people you care about, and those activities you truly enjoy. There is no need to wish for more time in the day, or to focus on “when” you’ll have more money and free-time. Learn to stay present before time passes you by. Accept that you may not get everything done all at once. You have your whole life ahead of you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the party once in awhile!