Now, more than ever, mental health and wellbeing is at risk for all. Fatigue and burnout are increasing as we try to cope with the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
Leaders have a duty of care to self, as well as a leadership, legal and commercial obligation to all those around them. Because when someone’s mental health spirals, their ability to give a proportionate response lessens. Managers are often good thinkers but you can’t think your way to good mental health. You have to live it.
If you are experiencing burnout, here are my top tips on how to manage it:
If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, you shouldn’t say it inside your own mind! Our thoughts evoke feelings that lead to beliefs. If you repeat something inside your head, over time, it becomes a self-belief.
Becoming aware of your self-talk is the first step in shifting into more positive thought habits. Ask, does the thought serve you? Is it in line with your future goals? If not, change it up.
Take time to take a “mindful moment” between each meeting. Clients that have committed to this are more productive, feeling better, sleeping better and are even getting positive feedback from others about their presence and impact. Taking one or two minutes to do a breathing exercise helps to reduce stress hormones and increase clarity and focus.
Be intentional about your environment and what you surround yourself with. Think about media, social media, who you talk to, conversations with family members and even how clean and organised your home and office are! All of these outside factors are controllable, so you get to choose if what you surround yourself with is helpful or not.
We are meant to move our bodies and maintain physical wellness. Exercise helps us reduce stress hormones, release endorphins, and sleep better. Having regular physical practice is key to staying out of overwhelming feelings and stress.
A strong morning practice of breath work, nature walk, or journaling is key to starting the day. This is part of self-care and how we begin to live on purpose. Setting an intention about how you want to feel today is the first step. The first thing you give your time and attention to in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Establish energy boundaries
Protect and conserve your energy by setting personal boundaries. For example, you may decide to conduct as few as three interviews or team member check-ins within a given day. By setting energy boundaries for yourself, you can stay on track with your goals and avoid feeling overwhelmed, especially during heavy workload seasons.
Smarter, not harder
Workload and expectations should be reviewed to ensure that they are reasonable based on the way you work now. Ask yourself: Is there a better way to manage this task? What could I delegate or outsource to lighten the load? Working smarter helps you to feel more balanced and motivated.
It’s worth remembering that sustainable success is more readily achieved when you focus on output and impact rather than input and effort.
Normalise asking for help
Help create an environment in which asking for help is encouraged and conversations about needs are natural. Lead by example and demonstrate what it looks like to be vulnerable, teaching people how to ask for the support they need from the team and organisation.