Some days you can wake up to a feeling of dread.
This feeling is usually accompanied by a sluggish start as you go through a series of motions that happen almost without you thinking. These feelings occur in all of us from time to time and if not addressed can lead to a heavy rut that is difficult to get out of.
We need to recognise a continuous feedback system between how you feel and how you act. If you feel miserable you are more likely to do things that keep you in that state, and if you are doing things that overload you and add prolonged pressure then you’re more likely to be miserable, overwhelmed and flat. It is this negative loop that needs to be addressed.
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The first step is to recognise whether or not you are in a rut. See how many of the following statements apply to you right now:
- I am frustrated in my role – not doing enough.
- I am overloaded – have far more than I can handle.
- I am frustrated with my fitness and body shape.
- I have been overlooked for a new role, promotion, new opportunity.
- I am unhappy in my personal life and things are spilling over.
- I am looking after someone who is sick and it is getting me down.
- I have small children and am lacking sleep.
- I never have time for exercise.
- I am in the midst of a tough relationship situation that is exhausting me.
- I often find myself procrastinating, despite my massive workload.
- I am working alone too much and am missing interaction.
- My work is not inspiring.
- I am surrounded by negative people.
- I have too many incomplete activities on my plate.
- My desk is a mess.
- My computer is overloaded with thousands of emails, folders and files.
- I have not followed up on tasks way overdue.
- I have recently had a bad run and got negative results or feedback or both.
- My financial situation is not good and I am stressed as a result.
- I often watch the clock and wish I was somewhere else.
If 10 or more of these are true for you right now then you need to act urgently!
Get up out of your chair right now!
This is serious. If you feel this overloaded, you need to go for a walk and practise deep breathing and strategies to re-energise yourself.
The statements above, especially when a few are operating in parallel, are symptoms of overload and burnout. You definitely don’t want this to get any worse.
The ten-minute walk and deep breathing helps you manage stress in your body (which is a manifestation of psychological stress) before taking on the mental tasks.
This is a simple and motivating task.
If you feel that cleaning your workspace and computer desktop is a waste of time then you are clearly suffering from overload! These tasks will give you some mental freedom and you will be able to work through your tasks a lot more efficiently.
Assess your workload
There are only 24 hours in a day. That is a fact that applies to all of us, so if your daily aim is to complete activities that exceed this then you will eventually burn out.
Learn to say no, complete the important tasks and learn to schedule time slots for stress reduction activities like spending time with family or friends. The most successful people in business are often fit and active and tend to be very well connected to others, something that takes an investment of time but is also a lot of fun.
Set some small challenges
Stress often comes as a result of people not being able to focus on a single task and not reaching completion.
They feel overwhelmed by everything that is on their mind. Create a small to do list for the next hour only. Make it achievable and make the tasks relevant to your most important project. Build this small win, celebrate the success and do it again for the next hour. Regain that winning habit.
Deal with personal issues
The idea that work and private life are separate from each other is a dangerous one.
We cannot help but be influenced by both spheres, and the happiness or stress from one will always filter and affect your enjoyment of the other. If you have major personal issues, make counselling a priority; allocate some time for you and your partner that is without interruption.
Putting off stressors will only increase their negative effect – so tackle them head on to start enjoying life sooner.
Remind yourself of what is important
In the current climate of constant busy-ness people often forget that they actually have some control over what happens to them.
Even worse, many people actually forget to work out what is really important to them and what they really want to do in work, in life and with their spare time. You can’t always get what you want, but you can always dream, build goals and work towards them.
This is great motivational fuel that we should all put some time into.
Actions you can take
Get up out of your chair right now.
Walk, talk, and make a new plan, set goals that can be achieved today!
Eve Ash has produced a wide range of resources including many DVDs to help people manage stress and overload. Her book Rewrite Your Life! provides powerful strategies to get back in control with a winning mindset.