As the end of year approaches, the workload can feel overwhelming, the social events are non-stop, and it’s all too easy to fall into a state of burnout. You might be familiar with the feeling… Like a car engine sputtering without enough petrol, just trying to make it to the finish line!
Recognised by the World Health Organisation as an occupational phenomenon, burnout is real. And while it may be the most wonderful time of the year, 42% of workers find December the most stressful month amid mounting work deadlines and a busy social calendar as the holidays approach.
If you’re finding yourself struggling with end-of-year burnout, here are my tips for maintaining your mental health and stepping into 2023 refreshed and re-energised:
At this time of year, women are often expected to press on and accomplish more in less time – but more often than not, near-constant productivity leads to exhaustion and fatigue. Taking regular breaks for yourself can make a big difference in how productive you are in the long run, so don’t be afraid to step away from your work and take a moment to reset.
When taking a break, treating yourself mindfully doesn’t have to mean expensive spa trips or long weekends away; simple things like listening to music, grabbing a coffee from your favourite cafe, or going outdoors can be just as beneficial. We can often forget just how rewarding a few moments of stillness can be, and often it’s these little periods of downtime that re-energise us to get back on track to being high performers at work.
If you’re feeling stressed by a never-ending to-do list, time management could be the key to helping you relax.
Timeboxing – scheduling your time for productivity purposes – is a great way to set boundaries, minimise stress and stay focused, boosting your overall productivity. Timeboxing involves planning chunks of time, or ‘timeboxes,’ across your whole day to focus on specific tasks – both work-related and personal. You decide what tasks are priorities first, plan how much time each will take and then build in a few ‘buffer’ spots throughout the day to cover any surprises that may come up.
Timeboxing prevents burnout by helping you to manage multiple tasks without feeling overwhelmed; it means you can track progress and break down complex tasks into achievable chunks. Even more importantly, it allows for regular breaks from work so that you don’t get too bogged down by minutiae or overwork yourself.
Someone once said that a problem shared is a problem halved. So, if you’re feeling stressed, why not try opening up about your situation? Just talking to someone else about how you’re feeling can help you to see things more clearly and pinpoint exactly where the stresses are coming from, and how you can lessen the load.
Speaking to your manager when you’re feeling the strain of burnout can be especially helpful, as it can help lay the groundwork for putting positive changes and boundaries in place to help change your situation for the better.
Our recent podcast guest, founder of EQ Minds and author of ‘The Mindful High Performer’, Chelsea Pottenger, said it best: “You cannot pour from an empty cup”. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. Making time for yourself is key when it comes to staying mindful, balancing yourself and your career, and creating space for things that make you truly happy.
Chelsea recommends taking some time to write down as many things you can think of that bring you joy. This can be anything! From pasta, morning walks, going to the beach, listening to your favourite podcast, the smell of a particular perfume… anything that makes you happy. From there, Chelsea suggests brainstorming some ways you can incorporate these into your everyday life, such as filling your space with the colours and smells you enjoy. Incorporating small yet frequent injections of joy into each week can make all the difference in improving your energy levels and preparing for any challenge that comes your way.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out during the stressful times of year. But instead of letting yourself become tense and anxious, it can help to stay positive through focusing on mindset, attitude, mindfulness, perspective, and revisiting your long-term career goals. Keeping a positive mindset is key when the going gets tough; staying optimistic will allow you to push through any obstacle that stands in your way and remind yourself that it’s only temporary.
Having established career goals can be motivating in times like these – even if they seem unattainable at the moment – setting markers allows you to slowly inch towards them steadily. So weathering this storm can be done with a smile and mindset set on success!
The end of the year can be a hectic and stressful time for many people, so it’s important to take care of yourself during this season. If you haven’t had a listen yet, I highly recommend listening to Episode 24 of the Your Brilliant Career Podcast where Chelsea Pottenger shares a raft of practical tips and tools to navigate the challenges of having a brilliant career.