Are you heading for holiday burnout?
High achievers are always pushing themselves to be better, faster and more productive, however that drive for perfection could be taking you down the road to burnout town. With the holiday season ringing in our ears, its ‘stacks on’ for those of us that try to be all things to all people.
If this time of year leaves you feeling extreme stress, overwhelmed and physically or emotionally exhausted, there are a few things you can do to keep from losing your mind and your mojo in the lead up to the holidays. Here are 7 timely tips to keep you on track leading into the holiday season.
1) The 5 P’s - Prior planing prevents poor performance. In the same way that you would plan a project or a new piece of work, make on note of what needs to be done and what time, finances, and resources need to be allocated. Having a plan that is written down declutters your busy mind and puts things out on the table where they can be managed.
2) Prioritise. Now that you have an idea of what needs to be done sort through and prioritise things from most to least important. At this stage you may discover that some of the things on your list aren’t that important after all; feel free to just cross them off your list! There is nothing so liberating as de-prioritising things that you thought mattered, but on reflection, were just taking up space in your head.
3) Pace yourself . Its easy to want to attend all the networking functions, Christmas celebrations and try to push through those extra projects at work. At this time of the year you need to tell yourself (and maybe your boss) that its okay to let some things slide. A change of perspective from quantity vs quality can be helpful when it comes to pacing yourself. This can be free-ing to the perfectionist; instead of doing lots of things, focus on doing a few things really well.
4) Delegate. Just because something needs to be done, doesn’t mean it needs to be done by you. I’m not just talking about work here. There are lots of ways we can take the pressure off ourselves by delegating some or parts of our domestic duties too. If finding the time to do the groceries is your bug-bear then maybe its time to use the online shopping options and have someone else pick and delivery them to your front door. Or why not use a service like Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon that work out the menu, ingredients and cooking instructions and then delivery it to your door. For me, its cleaning. I like the house to be schmick for the holidays but I don’t have the time (or the inclination if I’m honest) to do anything more than a quick tidy up. Hiring someone for a couple of hours won’t break the bank but the time and stress saved is priceless.
5) Get plenty of rest. I know it feels like you don’t have time to ‘indulge yourself’ but believe me, taking little moments throughout the day to take a few deep breaths and making sure you get a good nights sleep is really important when it comes to avoiding burnout. As tempting as it is to burn the candle at both ends to 'get everything gone', our bodies have a physiological need for sleep. A good nights sleep will help you to feel energised, resilient and able to tackle all those extra stresses that this time of the year can bring.
6) Get plenty of nourishment. If ever there was a time of year that our bodies need extra nourishment its right now. Skipping meals, eating lots of unhealthy festive food and increasing your alcohol intake is very much par for the course but keeping the balance may not be as hard as you think.
Starting your day with a good breakfast that includes protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats will give you a good boost of energy and reduce your desire to snack on all those Christmas cookies and chocolates people have around the office. Have a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts before going to for that team lunch; it’ll give you a good dose of fibre, vitamins and minerals, plus it will fill you up so you are less likely to order a large meal or overeat.
If cocktails and canapés are on the evening menu, don’t just grab food off the tray as the wait-staff wander past. Putting all your canapés onto a plate before you wolf them down will help you to keep track of what you are eating. Likewise, alternating an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water will help to slow down your intake and keep you hydrated, reducing the risk of the dreaded Christmas party hangover. The other tip here is not to ‘top up’ your glass; finishing your drink before getting a fresh serve will help you to keep track of how much you are really drinking - something your head, stomach and liver will appreciate the next morning.
7) Make plenty of energy deposits . Energy and vitality are like a bank account; if you make more withdrawals than you do deposits, then you are going to end up in the red! Think about the things that give you energy and make sure you plan them into your schedule. Whether its a morning walk, lunchtime meditation, finishing work early or taking a nap on weekends, its really important to pay back any deposits you make from your energy account.
Making a plan, prioritising and generally being kind to yourself in the lead up to the holidays will go a long way towards reducing a visit to burnout town. However, if you feel like things are getting a bit much and you can’t see how you’re going to find the energy and fortitude to get you over the line, consider speaking with a trained health professional like your GP, counsellor or an integrated nutritionist.