I work in News as a social media specialist. I work late, a lot. I am the only one who is with clients in the office, which means I need to be on call for the clients all the time. Most of the workdays, I work from 8:30 am to 10:30 pm. Comparing to bankers and lawyers, who works 100 hours a week, maybe it’s not a lot. But I definitely feel the burnout from time to time. To deal with the burnout, I found the following four techniques that definitely helped me to maintain to be a sane and productive person. Well, most of the times.
The ability to say no is so important, and I learned this the hard way. One of the clients texts me at 2 am, 6 am quite often to ask me to do work. “No rush”, that’s what they said. I used to work whenever they asked me. Because I felt like as a first year, I just needed to say yes to everything and learn as much as I can. But within a few months, I am so stressed about the work and I am physically not well. I started to throw up whenever I eat, I have trouble sleeping and relaxing. That doesn’t seem fun, right? In the past few months, I started to say no when people ask me to work in unreasonable hours and weekends. Setting boundaries and say no is scary, but it’s harder to tell myself it’s okay to not respond and go to sleep. It took me a while to adjust the mindset and feel okay to not finish all the work they possibly will give me. I tell myself I work more than 70 hours during the week, my bottom line is that I will no longer work during the weekend. I started to firmly say no during the weekends, and I use this time to do my side gig, to relax and catch up on sleep, hang out with friends, do whatever makes me relax and less stressed.
The morning routine is one of the things that helped me enormously. I firmly believe that everyone should cater themselves a morning routine. It helps you set up the mood for the whole day. For me, I get up very early every day and spare one and a half hour for my morning routine. I get up, fresh-up, say you are amazing and have a great day to myself in the mirror, do meditation (few times a week), drink tea, take a walk by the river to get some fresh air, and take a 20 min online classes of topics I am interested in. I feel energetic and refreshed every morning before I go to work, which sets a great tone for my day at work.
Of course, getting a massage or a bubble bath to relax would be divine. But for those of you who need to work long hours, you probably don’t have the luxury to do that. Working long hours is stressful. But taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be big. Adding the little self-care things to your work helps. Drink a cup of herbal tea at work; have a mini workout by your desk; eat an apple when browsing your emails in the morning; These little things help a lot more than you imagine. More productivity happens when you are in a good state, physically and mentally.
Keep a journal to document and track your well-being is powerful. I write down these following things for my well-being journal: What am I grateful for today? How did I take care of myself today? What do I want to achieve tomorrow? What do I love about myself? It takes 10 minutes every day to do this and you can do it right before bedtime. After a week, when you look at the journal, you can see what you have achieved, how amazing you are, how many great things happened for you and what do you need to improve.
When I first started, it was hard for me to answer these questions, but for all these questions, your answers don’t need to be big things, there are so many little things we forget to appreciate. For example, getting a hot coffee in a raining day, or a moment you feel peaceful when you light up an aroma candle, or a stranger said you look amazing on the street, all these little things can be on your gratitude list.