How to keep going (...when you haven't had a break in a while)
The lucky among us over the past year have done nothing but work. Whilst it's meant we've been able to keep busy and have some money coming in, the downside at this point means we are cruising straight into burnout.
With Zoom fatigue a daily occurrence and "working from home" also meaning "living at work," here are some science-backed tips to help you manage your energy levels:
1. TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
Powering through is a one-way road to a crash & burn situation. Take at least 5 minutes' break, ideally away from a screen and getting some fresh air. (I try to do phone calls whilst taking a walk around my park if I don't have to be on Zoom for it)
2. MIX IT UP
Variety is the spice of life, as they say. The fascinating neurology behind this is to stimulate different parts of the brain, therefore enriching the other areas that are usually overused. Think about it like leg day at the gym, it's still important to hit the treadmill and do some cardio from time to time. For me, that might look something like reading a book, sketching out some fashion illustrations, practising yoga, or creating content for Instagram. You might enjoy cooking, pottery, or playing video games. Give your brain a chance to switch off and exercise it elsewhere.
3. GET BACK TO NATURE
While none of us are in a rush to return to the office commute, the obligation to be in a certain place at a certain time did force us outside at least twice a day. If you don't have a canine companion to help motivate you out the door, it's still totally worthwhile to steal 10 mins here and there for a walk around the park, stretch your legs, and oxygenate your lungs.
4. CREATE SPACE
It is up to us to set our own boundaries. Look at your workload and see what you can de-prioritise so it's not so overwhelming. Communicate your timelines and availability to clients, team members, or colleagues. (Chances are, they're trying to spread the workload, too!)
And saving the best till last...
5. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Yes, you'll find this written on every hip co-working space and piece of hipster/startup swag, but there is a really fascinating neurological reason behind this. There are some things in life that give us energy, and some that drain us. (This applies to activities as well as people!) Identify the things you love to do, and see what you can do to manage out the stuff you're not so keen on.
I hope these pieces of advice not only serve you as helpful tips for the here & now, but as lifelong lessons to create more sustainable working habits, placing you at the centre and prioritising your self-care above all else!