Everything feels so tiring. The workforce has undergone numerous adjustments over the last two years since the pandemic swept the world. Different industries and government sectors have to contend with the changing norm while fighting the risks of contracting the virus. Furthermore, the economy is in a constant state of decline, which poses a threat to those whose jobs rely on its growth.
With all these factors, it’s not shocking that many experience high rates of stress in their daily activities, with some on the verge of burnout. While there have been efforts from the government and businesses to pass more flexible work schedules and even invest in professional mental health assessments, these wellness plans may not guarantee recovery.
Burnout is the overwhelming feeling of mental and physical exhaustion, and once it gets you, it may ruin your performance at work. You might get consumed by negative emotions that can reduce your productivity in the long run and affect not only you but your co-workers.
It’s essential to address the worsening problem of stress employees experience with their jobs. The state of extreme exhaustion might affect even those who genuinely enjoy what they do.
So, what can you do to recover when you feel like you’re burning out slowly?
1. Detach your mind from “the office”
Let your mind rest from work. When you’re doing something different, like during your free time or when you’re walking or driving, disconnect your mind from the events of your work. Work stress can accumulate and weigh you down if you continuously dwell on what happened at work earlier in the day.
Make your recovery possible by withdrawing from work-related thoughts and allowing your mind to return to its state before the stress. While we often think that working hard results in better performance, this is not always true. Detachment can give your mind a break and lead to better recovery and improvement in performance.
To make this happen, try to set a time every day where you can do something not related to work. Even if it’s just a few minutes, devote your time to other activities. Identify the possible distractions and triggers that may pull you back into your work, like phone notifications or piles of papers on your desk. Get rid of these distractions while you spend your time doing a supplementary activity.
2. Don’t save up on breaks
Don’t wait for the next holiday or Friday night to finally get a break from work. While it’s good if you can power through the day or week to finish work faster, this may do you more harm than good. Those holidays are weeks or months away; don’t save up your rest.
Harness the power of micro-breaks or short breaks in between your working hours or job demands. These short breaks of approximately 10 minutes effectively reduce your daily work stress. Try taking a short walk outside, stretching, meditating, eating a snack, or interacting with people around you.
Taking short breaks can liven up your mood, keep you motivated, and help you concentrate as you go through the day, finishing your work. If you can, create a recovery plan of what you can do during your micro-breaks. Some apps on your smartphone can assist you in taking these breaks by giving you timely reminders when you’re too busy to remember.
3. Stand by your choice and what you feel
Don’t pressure yourself to do what others are doing. Try to have more autonomy with your recovery activities and how you want to spend your break time. Not having a choice in what you want to do will bring you more stress than recovery.
Companies that want to provide wellness activities to their employees may organize group activities for everyone. If you’re not comfortable with spending your free time socializing, then don’t force yourself to do so. Some people prefer to spend their recovery
alone and in the comfort of their homes or office space. Talk to your boss or team leader about how you feel so they can find a way to address your concern.
Another area to address is your interaction with your co-workers. Others may find talking to their colleagues a good stress reliever. However, others may actually end up more stressed when they socialize with their peers. Listen to your body and mind whenever you’re planning an activity or joining one.
4. Put some effort
When you’re stressed, the first thing that comes to mind when you want to relax is watching TV while lying on your sofa. It’s not wrong to be a little “passive” when spending your rest days.
However, activities that require movement and effort are found to be more effective when trying to recover from stress. Now, it doesn’t necessarily mean weights and treadmills. If you’re not fond of the gym, you can always opt for exercises like jogging, brisk walking, swimming, or hiking. You can also play team sports that you particularly enjoy.
Another good idea for recovery activities is to try the Mastery type. Look for activities or new hobbies that require learning, focus, and dedication. You can try learning a new language or playing a new instrument. While this may not sound relaxing, this playful way of recovering can help you replenish energy in a more productive way—as long as you don’t stress over it.
Doing active activities can help you restore your focus, boost your health, and even learn something new that you can use in your job.
5. Optimal recovery needs good space
Maybe it’s about time you organized that desk. Yes, it’s extra work, but it will be beneficial in the long run. Some people can work better with a bit of clutter, but an organized one sure is better. Buy small desk organizers or put away whatever mess should be in the trash bin. Place things that can calm you down, like pictures or figurines. How about a small plant-like succulent?
Some offices are now investing in making their spaces more conducive for working. If possible, situate your desk near windows to have exposure to sunlight. Connect with nature if you can. Have some office plants around you, or find a place in your building where you can be one with nature for a short time. Capitalize on the outdoor facilities provided by your office. Have a breath of fresh air to calm and freshen you up.
While it’s still possible, try to keep your stress under control so it doesn’t end up worsening and affecting your life. Devise an intentional recovery plan to sustain the energy needed for your daily grind. While it’s hard and sometimes you may feel guilty for taking a break and enjoying your time, don’t forget that prioritizing yourself is a must. Find ways to boost your mood and bring back your motivation.
Recovery is different for everyone; these steps only serve as your guide. If things become too much, seek professional help. Your company can assist you with this.