Are you tired of being tired? Experiencing one repetitious day after another as you struggle to maintain your energy or focus? Too tired from sitting all day to even get up and move? Lost interest in picking up the phone and connecting with a friend? Or, maybe you simply lost your zest, gusto, or passion for what previously brought you joy. If so, please know you are not alone.
Never before in my career have I witnessed the volume of clients concerned for their teams’ well-being. Never before have I coached more individuals through emotional matters, nor had followers on social media reach out directly asking for help. None of this surprises me.
As a speaker on stress, resilience, and burnout, I make it a point to study topical research and trends resulting in a daily dose of sobering statistics such as:
- 2020 saw a 33% jump in burnout risk based on 1.75 million employee-engagement surveys this year by LinkedIn’s Glint Platform.
- 59% of managers reported working more hours since the pandemic’s start.
- 20 percent admit they’ve felt less productive at work over the past five months.
I’m also not surprised because I, too, feel the results of a life turned upside down. For just shy of a year, we have been forced to be decisive amidst uncertainty, to move forward with limits, and to stay close at a distance. Is it really any surprise why people feel emotionally taxed?
For these reasons, I recommend you double-down on the following self-care strategies to overcome exhaustion, discover self-compassion and build resilience. To date, these practices have never let me down.
1. Feel. One of my coaching clients recently attempted to build a logical case against their emotional state. “Normally, I’m a strong individual who supports others, so I don’t know why I can’t shake this feeling. Who am I to complain about my situation, when so many others have it so much worse? Seriously, I have so much to be grateful for in my life, I feel guilty even bringing this up. I probably sound like a big baby and just need to push through.” My response, “Yes, you have a good deal to be grateful for AND that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less valid. This is a new experience for everyone and there is nothing normal about it.”
Suck-it-up-buttercup mantras may serve you in the short run but lack effectiveness during year-long global pandemics. You will be better served when you stop going through the motions and give yourself permission to go through the e-motions. Rather than compartmentalize, shove down or avoid your emotions, sit still and feel. Let the emotions surface without judgment. If tears flow, even better. Tears are nature’s pressure valve and contain proteins and hormones that reduce pain, relax and regulate the body. Following, ask yourself, “What is one small action I could take that would make me feel nurtured?” Listen. Your body knows the answer.
2. Move. Movement is miracle grow for the brain and the fastest way to shift both your energy and gain energy. If exercise came in pill form, every doctor would be handing out prescriptions. Override your desire to simply move from desk to couch to bed, and trust that movement will lessen your exhaustion. If I waited until I felt like moving, I would still be waiting which is why I build repeated movements into my day to trigger endorphins that reduce pain and boost pleasure. My morning begins with ten minutes of yoga stretching. My Fitbit reminds me to move every hour, and last month I added 5 minutes of kickboxing before grabbing lunch. YouTube videos allow me to shake up the routine and audible books rest my busy brain while I walk. If you have been sedentary, start with ten minutes a day to feel the physical and emotional difference movement makes.
3. Connect. Research shows that the need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water, and shelter. We thrive on it and our happiness is correlated to it. However, after a full day of back-to-back Zoom meetings or supporting family members, more conversation even with someone you adore can feel draining, rather than healing. Most people hesitate sharing their burdens with others, not wanting to be a bother knowing others are also carrying a heavy load. Time to shift your perspective and give someone the opportunity to achieve what scientists call a “helper’s high”.
Grab your phone and text a person on the planet who truly gets you. Be direct and ask for what you need. “I have been feeling like crap the past few days. Any chance I can call you and dump for 10 minutes followed by you telling me everything is going to be okay?” Just the act of reaching out and being vulnerable can open up the opportunity for empathy, compassion, and love. Not to mention the possibility for genuine yuks that bubble up as you swap stories with a friend. We need one another and grow resilient when we face the storms together.
Why simply survive when you can thrive? These three strategies practiced consistently can become the fuel you need to take back control of your life and feel hopeful, energized, and focused once more.
At the heart of every sale, every interaction between a leader and a team member, every conversation with a customer…. is a connection. And most importantly, connection begins within. How to make those connections effective, and leverage them for greater success, is the thread that is woven into every one of Colette Carlson’s presentations. For more information on Colette’s customized, virtual or in-person programs, give us a call.