Most achievers think the answer to their productivity struggle is to hustle harder and faster. But that only leads to burnout. And in the modern workforce, burnout is a constant threat. We put leaders who never rest on a pedestal. We wear busyness like a badge of honor. Technology keeps us continually connected and always on the alert for the next fire to put out. But we can only float down the hustle river for so long before hitting the rocks.
The costs of burnout culture are so devastating and the causes so deeply ingrained that the cure might seem out of reach. Thankfully, that’s just not true. There is a lifeline we can reach for. It’s actually quite simple: work less and rejuvenate more. I know that sounds easier said than done. But it really is doable. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Here are five steps to get you back to your best:
- Rest. It’s built into our bodies: we’re made to shut down for a third of the day. But if we cheat ourselves out of this innate need, we’re signing up for burnout. You can practice rest daily through getting adequate sleep, weekly by taking a couple days off, and annually by going on vacations.
- Reflection. We live in a busy and noisy world that clamors for our attention. That’s why it’s essential that we regularly pull away to a quiet place to pause and reflect. Whether it’s for 5 to 10 minutes or 30, this practice is applicable no matter what season of life you’re in. Slowing down to center yourself and reflect on your life’s direction helps ensure life isn’t slipping past you.
- Relationships. We’re made to live in relationship with other people. But in a world of social media and fake connections, we have to be intentional about building time for the people in our lives. Quality in-person relationships with others opens up a world of learning, encouragement, accountability, and connection.
- Refreshment. To be productive, focused, and energetic, we need adequate fuel. Specifically, we need to keep our blood sugar regulated. Because when it spikes and drops, we lose energy and struggle to focus. Don’t skip meals, and be mindful of what you eat. Consume foods that will contribute to your productivity and be good, clean fuel—not stuff that’ll bog you down the rest of the day.
- Recreation. We need to be restored, not just in mind and emotion, but also in body. When we slow down and create space for ourselves to pursue leisure activities, we engage life as a whole person. For recreation to be truly effective, the activities you choose must be different from what you do professionally. Developing other interests and hobbies gives the rest of your brain the break it needs.
The cure for burnout is available now. Whether you take up a new hobby like painting, begin getting adequate sleep, or spend time resting with friends this upcoming weekend, you can begin to move your life away from the overwork addiction. What action will you take today to bounce back from burnout?