It took a long time, but summer has finally arrived and it’s time to take a break.
I don’t know about you, but I felt like the past few weeks have been very busy and I think we all need a breather.
Don’t be surprised if you feel a little drained and exhausted this time of year. It has been a long misery and we have all done our best to adapt and make our way through this global pandemic.
Last month, the dating app Bumble gave all employees a week off to switch off and focus on themselves for a full week recovering from a burnout caused by the pandemic.
Most of us have had to adapt to a completely new way of working in the past 18 months, and many of us have worked longer and harder than ever to adapt and cope with the changes caused by Covid. This takes its toll and we need rest to balance the stress.
What is burnout?
Burnout occurs after a long period of intense stress that exhausts us physically, mentally and emotionally. It can manifest itself in a feeling of being overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet the constant demands.
It’s fantastic to hear from a workplace like Bumble that is putting in place measures to support employees and make it easier to take a self-sufficiency break, but there are things we can do to help ourselves when we feel exhausted. Here are a few ideas:
Take a break. Realize that you have worked hard and allow adequate free time.
The first hour of the day is a good time to start the day off right. Going outside in the morning helps to restart our sleep-wake cycle and has a balancing effect on the cortisol level. Go for a walk or run before work, or have breakfast in the garden if the weather permits. Take your time for mindfulness or breakfast and first check emails or social media at your desk.
Set limits and turn off notifications. We’re constantly bombarded with pings, things, and notifications of emails, likes, and shares from our devices. Turn off as many of them as you can.
To be in nature It has been shown to help with feelings of stress, anxiety, and moods, so make sure you get outside every day.
Cut down on caffeine as much as possible. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, completely cutting the coffee (even the decaffeinated stuff) can help. It would be good to replace tea with green tea as it contains L-theanine which has calming properties. Look out for teas with lemon balm or tulsi – both have a positive effect on our adrenal glands.
Cut down on sugary foods because they can create a blood sugar roller coaster that puts additional stress on the adrenal glands.
Choose low GI, slow release carbohydrates like brown rice, oats or sweet potato instead of the white and refined versions.
Add a palm-sized serving of protein to each meal to nourish your adrenal stress glands. Eggs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts and seeds, legumes, yogurt, humus are good sources.
Sit at a table to eat all of your meals. When you eat on the go, your body thinks it is in flight or airplane mode.
Try packing half of your plate with vegetables, and make sure you eat lots and lots of dark green vegetables. They contain magnesium, which has a calming effect on our nervous system. This can be spinach with curry, oven-roasted broccoli, or a large green salad for lunch.
Be careful not to exercise too much – Walking, jogging, Pilates, yoga, swimming are preferable to high-intensity exercise that can put more stress on your adrenal glands.
Be mindful – Rest or headspace apps are a good place to start.
You may want to consider a nutritional supplement, but be careful when taking medication as there may be drug-nutrient interactions. Herbs like Siberian Gingseng and Rhodiloa can be just as helpful as B vitamins and magnesium.