You’ve probably read one or two articles about the different habits of highly successful people, which are primarily about how they are workaholics and sleep for a few hours at night. Plus, how they meticulously execute tasks and stay focused etc. While many of those habits are reasonable, it calls for caution.
For many, every day of 2021 was all about the grind. They moved from pillar to post chasing or closing deals. Some worked day and night to get their business off the ground. Everyone is in a race to make money while paying less attention to their most important asset – physical or mental health.
Understandably, many entrepreneurs came under pressure to hit the ground running in 2021 after the pandemic dealt a massive blow on businesses in 2020. While it is necessary to work hard and be dogged in your pursuit of material success, it must not be at the expense of your health.
It’s time to soft-pedal on that speed as we enter 2022. We must prioritise our physical and mental health, and find a balance between work and healthy routines.
Here are 10 lifestyle habits you should start forming ahead of the new year to achieve an all-around productive life.
Review your daily habits
First things first, it’s important you stake stock of your daily routine and habits. Think about how you spend your time and ask yourself if they are beneficial or detrimental to your overall health.
Forget about what motivational speakers have told you. Getting 8 hours of sleep every night is not laziness, it is you giving your body time to rejuvenate for the next day hassles. Not having enough rest will only exacerbate burnout by making you think more irrationally and become more irritable. Getting good quality sleep is an integral part of alleviating stress and burnout. So that should be your number one priority in 2022.
According to an analysis of 11 studies that included a total of more than 1 million adults without heart disease, six to eight hours of sleep at night is the answer to having a healthy heart. The researchers compared adults who slept between six and eight hours to others. Adults who slept less or more than that were, respectively, 11 per cent and 33 per cent more likely to develop or die from heart disease or stroke during an average follow-up of 9.3 years, the study show.
Take control of your life a bit more by planning and eating meals that you not only enjoy but have health benefits as well. From antioxidants to Zinc, your food needs to contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, as each has its own benefits. It’s not just what’s in the food that will help but how it’s made. Meal prepping can help you take control of your day and it ensures you have less to worry about.
It might seem like a contradiction, but putting your body under physical stress through exercise can relieve mental stress. Exercises like yoga can be a brilliant choice, and research shows that as little as 10 minutes a day can bring immense benefits. If there are areas where you can make small changes, try them, and see how you feel after a few days or weeks of implementing them.
Make time to relax
Taking time out is essential to prevent the negative effects that burnout can have. Every day, we all need to take time to replenish and do something we enjoy. This might be going for a walk, listening to our favourite music, going to the gym, or spending time with our friends and family. We all enjoy different things and relax in different ways.
This time can be seen as a time of ‘recovery’ and it is necessary in order to come back to work and perform at our best. Don’t let your evenings or weekends be taken over by work. Wherever make sure you take time off to relax and decompress.
Reduce your caffeine consumption
Caffeine is a stimulant and for millions of us, it is an essential part of our daily lives. As with everything in life, caffeine should be taken in moderation. If you are finding that you are jittery and anxious all the time then it might be time to cut back.
Moreover, if you are finding that you cannot sleep at night, then that might also be a symptom of an overreliance on caffeine. So it might not be the quantity of the caffeine you consume but when in the day you consume it.
Avoiding procrastination should be one of your top new year’s resolutions. Whilst it can help with productivity, it is also good for managing your stress. Staying on top of your priorities means you are not constantly trying to stay above water. Work on the things that need to get done immediately, and give yourself blocks of time where you will work uninterrupted. Working more efficiently within these blocks of time will also give you more free time to truly relax.
Avoid unhealthy habits
One of the more common signs of burnout is engaging with unhealthy coping mechanisms. A study by the Yale University School of Medicine showed that ‘denial, disengagement, self-blame, substance abuse, and venting were associated with greater burnout. Drinking excessively and smoking are two such coping mechanisms.
Create an open environment with your colleagues and employees
During the pandemic, people have felt increasingly isolated from one another. So before you go to your manager, consider talking to a colleague first. After all, many people find talking to their boss intimidating, particularly when it is about something as personal as burnout. A colleague may provide that extra level of support that is needed when you are feeling burned out.
Explaining all your responsibilities to a colleague may help put the amount of work you are doing in context. If your colleague agrees that you have far too much responsibility, then that will give you the additional boost of confidence needed to talk to your manager.
Moreover, a colleague could open up about their experience with burnout and provide useful resources that can alleviate your stress. At the very least, opening up to someone will be a boost to your mental wellbeing in itself and could get you ready for that important talk with your manager.
Ultimately, creating that ever-important open environment will allow you to confide in others, alleviate stress and become less burned out.
ALSO READ: 20 Habits of Highly Successful People
Learn to ask for help
Asking for help might sound like the simplest solution in the world, but people do often find it difficult to confide in others when they are going through a tough time. However, asking your manager for help is imperative in ensuring that your physical and mental well-being doesn’t suffer.
If you are worried that your manager will think you are burned out because you are no longer passionate about the job, then don’t. A recent Deloitte survey showed that whilst 87 per cent of professionals say they are passionate about their current job, 64 per cent say they are frequently stressed. It’s this chronic stress that leads to burnout and is why you should ask for help.
Be confident in the fact that you are not blaming anyone for being burned out and that you are trying to do what’s best for yourself and your team. Working alongside someone who is burned out can put a serious strain on relationships and productivity. So learn to be open in the new year.
Editor’s Note: This piece was co-written by Alex Lovesey, a digital PR Executive at Dark Horse.
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