Do you feel depleted, tired, and empty? You’re not alone. In today’s fast-paced and demanding work culture, burnout has become an increasingly common issue among employees. Burnout is more than just feeling tired-but a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged and repetitive stress. It can have serious consequences for individuals and organizations, including decreased productivity, higher absenteeism rates and increased healthcare costs.
How Do We Prevent Burnout?
To prevent burnout, both individual and organizational levels should work hand in hand. On an individual level, employees can take steps to manage their workload and prioritize self-care. This might include setting realistic goals, taking regular breaks, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and engaging in physical activity.
On an organizational level, employers can promote work-life balance by offering flexible scheduling, telecommuting options, and employee wellness programs. They can also foster a supportive and positive workplace culture by encouraging open communication, recognizing employee contributions, and promoting teamwork and collaboration.
The 7 Types of Rest
How do you take a rest? The first thought is that humans just needed a break, a good vacation, or plenty of sleep. But, there’s more to rest than that.
Board-certified M.D. and work-life integration researcher, Dr. Sandra Dalton-Smith, outlines how to avoid burnout in her book Sacred Rest. As she explains, there are seven pillars of the human body: mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, sensory, and creative. She presents that humans need equal restoration in these seven areas to be fully alive and energized.
1. Physical Rest
Sometimes, it’s good to lay on the bed the whole day! Physical rest is essential for allowing your body to recover and recharge. This can involve getting a good night’s sleep, taking a nap during the day, or taking breaks throughout the day to rest your body. Physical rest can also involve activities such as yoga, stretching, or massage.
2. Mental Rest
Take time to pause or slow down everything you’re thinking of. Allow your mind to recharge by doing activities such as meditation, deep breathing, or taking a break from technology. Mental rest can also involve engaging in relaxing activities such as reading or listening to soothing music.
3. Spiritual Rest
Don’t feel that your life lacks purpose. You’re not working just to get a paycheck. Connect with your inner self and have a deep sense of love, acceptance, and purpose. Spiritual rest can involve activities such as prayer, meditation, or spending time in nature. You can also engage in your community, spend time with loved ones or engage in a hobby.
4. Emotional Rest
You don’t need to constantly please others and bear the heavy burden that is suppressing your feelings. Take a break from emotional labor or stress. Activities such as therapy, journaling, or outdoor recreation are fantastic ways to release your tension and worries.
5. Sensory Rest
In this technology-driven world, we are getting overwhelmed by constant sensory stimulation. Bright lights, computer screens, phones ringing, TV in the background, you name it! These all affect our focus and make us tired. Sensory rest involves taking a break from the over-stimulating world. This can involve spending time in a quiet room, unplugging from electronics, engaging in meditation or deep breathing, or just simply taking a walk.
6. Social Rest
Social rest does not mean stopping social relationships and interactions. Instead, it’s more about filtering what benefits you the most. To experience social rest, flee from relationships that exhaust you and surround yourself with positive and like-minded people. Someone you don’t have to filter yourself around will allow you to let your guard down and rest.
7. Creative Rest
Even well-oiled machines need to cool down too. Pause your brain from brainstorming and problem-solving activities. Creative rest is when you awaken the sense of awe and wonder inside of you. Appreciate the beauty of nature and works of art. A lot of people have used creative rest during the pandemic turning their workspace into a space of inspiration and feeding their souls with imagination and gratitude, without the pressure of having to create for a purpose, but rather for a passion.
It’s important to remember that dealing with burnout is not a one-size-fits-all process. What works for one person may not work for another. If you’re struggling with burnout, be patient with yourself and don’t hesitate to seek help or try different strategies until you find what works for you. Learn to prioritize self-care and make lifestyle changes. As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” To do your best work, you have to take care of yourself first.