So how do we prevent this burn-out?
- Well, the first thing is to prioritise. It sounds easy. But prioritising doesn’t mean doing everything on your list, it means doing only the important things (read: absolutely necessary things), and making the hard decision that you just can’t do the rest. I decided a while ago that I want it all, but if I can help it, just not all at once. There are a lot of things I would love to do, but I have to prioritise and only focus on a handful of things and give them my best. This means you have to sacrifice, but it also means that you have something to look forward to as you go through different stages in your life. The balance over the last 2 years of my life has been mostly skewed towards my masters, but when that is complete it will be a new stage, with a new balance.
- Learn to execute choice over the parts of your life you can control, this means learning to say no.
- Sleep! This is where I am most guilty. When I am on a deadline it is not uncommon for me to be up at 3/4am and only get 4 hours sleep. Sometimes we just have to do that. But, it’s when I am not on a deadline and still don’t get enough sleep – that is entirely my own fault, and something I’m working on.
- Exercise – it is widely agreed that regular moderate intensity exercise (30-60mins a few times a week) is good for your health and your mind, it also strengthens the immune system, improves sleep, and reduces stress. Too much exercise or overtraining though can also lead to burn-out, and decreases your performance.
- Take regular ME/Mental Health Days – if you can’t do it on the weekend, this doesn’t mean you need to bunk off work, it just means approaching your day with a more relaxed attitude.