Gently rolling waves lapping at white sand. The rustle of the palm fronds above, moving in the soft sea breeze. They sound like wind chimes made from seashells. My toes can practically feel the sand between them. And then there’s the “bing” of my email box that cruelly jolts me back to reality.
We’re sure in love with the idea of having it all, aren’t we? But having it all means that something has to give, and usually, it’s something in your head and your heart.
Research shows that up to 44 percent of us feel burned out at least some of the time and nearly a quarter of full-time employees report feeling burned out every day. What is that doing to our lives? It’s zapping social lives, adding pressure to personal relationships, straining things at home, and landing us in the hospital more often.
And when you’re running your own business, you’re even more apt to burnout. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, like myself, or an employee, here are three unusual ways to interrupt burnout when it creeps in.
No, don’t try to go live from your local coffee shop. Pull up a live stream from a place that makes you happy. Get lost in the images for a bit. My favorite place to vacation is Key West, so one day I simply Googled, “Key West live webcam” and found around 15 different locations that have a webcam going all the time just from the island. Paris, London, NYC…the list of places you can virtually escape to for five minutes is nearly endless.
“Go to the water,” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in a Facebook post back in 2016. I have carried that wisdom with me since I read it, and I firmly believe in it. Not only does stepping into the water make me feel instantly calmer, but numerous studies show the mere act of drinking water can calm stress levels. Being dehydrated, even just a little bit, can up your cortisol levels enough to make you start stressing out. Too many days in a row like that will leave you feeling wrung out and fed up with your job.
Comparison is one of the biggest challenges we face in all aspects of life: work, life, love, parenting, and even personal consumption. That nagging little voice in the back of your head that reminds you that your son’s friend’s mom throws amazing parties while holding down a fulltime job is not doing you any favors.
Most of the time, the stuff you see online is the highlight reel. And Jason’s mom spent a crap ton of money paying others to create that magical birthday experience your kid just can’t stop talking about.
Here’s a little secret I’ve learned along the way: None of us have it all together. Attempting to make sure everything’s perfect at home while trying to deal with stress at work will leave you in a flat spin of desperation that even Maverick couldn’t steer out of.
When burnout becomes your everyday reality, consider finding something else to do for work. If you own your business, it might be time to trim out extra offerings and outsource menial tasks. And if you’re an employee, then it might be time to look into working somewhere else. Only you can decide that, of course, but wouldn’t it be so much better to worry about sunburns on your next vacation than burn out tomorrow at the office?