Feeling stressed is perfectly normal, especially with a changing work climate. Research shows that moderate stress can make you stronger and better at managing stress. The problem is when you have so much to work on, that stress becomes hard to manage. In these cases, you’re more likely to feel burnt out.
Burnout is chronic stress that can leave you physically and emotionally exhausted, detached and highly damaging. It’s often experienced by employees who have too much on their plate, expect too much of themselves, or feel inadequate. This all adds to reduced work performance and can be considered a mental health issue.
Four ways to avoid burnout
Take a break
It might seem obvious but getting away from work is the best way to avoid burnout. Unfortunately, since we’re now surrounded by the internet and mobile phones with 24/7 access to work emails, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not switching off when you head home for the day. If this is the case, why not consider booking some time off?
Travelling and changing your environment is a great way to reset your mind, and when you return to work, you’re likely to be filled with new energy. So make sure to leave your laptop at home to avoid the temptation of checking in with the office while you’re away. Instead, do something that makes you feel good and helps you unwind, such as booking tickets to see your favourite band perform or enjoying an outdoor festival to take in the music and the atmosphere.
If taking time off isn’t an option, a meaningful break in the middle of the day can do wonders. When eating your lunch while replying to an overflowing inbox becomes a regular event, your brain doesn’t have time to recuperate and relax during the day.
So, why not try plugging in some headphones and taking a walk during your lunch break? Listening to slow, quiet music can physically de-stress the body, lowering blood pressure, slowing your pulse and reducing levels of stress hormones.
If your business is hospitality based, it’s essential to have staff reflect the positive atmosphere you want your customers to experience. Unfortunately, this January alone, 28% of the accommodation and food service activities industry have reported shortages in workers; as a result, existing staff members could be required to work longer and more unsuitable hours.
To boost the morale and well-being of your employees, introducing additional micro-breaks to your work schedule could allow staff time to recuperate and re-energise if they are taking on other activities.
Adopt a fitness regime
When you’ve got a lot to think about, the gym is probably the last thing on your mind. When busy, most of us throw exercise to the bottom of our priority list but working out can reduce stress. Exercise also helps to reduce fatigue while improving alertness and concentration, meaning you can go back into your workload with a fresh pair of eyes.
Music is a highly beneficial aid to mindset and motivation when exercising. According to music therapist Marianne Rizkallah: ‘The best music to listen to while training is by an artist, or within a genre, that you know and love. Plus, it’s important to choose a tempo that suits your activity.’
‘The beat you run to will probably not be the same speed as the beat you lift weights, so consider switching up your playlists and choose tracks you think you can keep on the beat, some calmer tunes to help you de-stress while doing some simple stretching or yoga.’
Listen to music
Listening to music has the potential to relax our minds as well as our bodies. Research has shown that even heavy metal music can help lower your blood pressure. And high blood pressure is both a cause and symptom of stress; this indicates that even the most intense music can help you cope with stress.
It’s not only your blood pressure that listening to music can lower, but also your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the human stress hormone; the higher it is, the more stressed we feel. Research has found that symphonic music can lower cortisol levels, regardless of the listeners’ music preferences. So, why not listen to some Beethoven if you’re feeling a little stressed? It might not be your cup of tea, but it’s proven to help you out.
Music affects the body in many ways, and listening to music daily could help promote your overall health and well-being.
Music is one of the best stressbusters out there. The soft power of relaxing music and its close link to our emotions can be an effective stress management tool, helping us cool down and maybe even take a breather. It can be a great way to distract yourself from a stressful situation while also clearing your mind before readdressing the issue with a fresh outlook.
Ask for help
Delegating some of your task lists is a great way to offload some stress, but we can find it challenging to give up some of our responsibilities. Asking for help is never easy, especially if you’re an ‘I’ll do it on my type of person.
You are, however, more likely to get things done and find solutions if you’re not the only person thinking about the problem. It never hurts to admit that you’re over capacity, and it can do wonders for your mental well-being.
Making sure you stay on top of burnout and recognise the warning signs is essential, but it’s not the only way to make your working life more manageable.