We often measure our day’s success by what we’ve accomplished. How many meetings we tackle, how many phone calls and emails we replied to, how much we’ve contributed to our work. We measure our self-worth based on how much we’ve succeeded in a given day. A day well done is a day filled with these ‘successes’.
What if we measured our success on a different scale. What if at the end of the day, we tuned into our bodies and asked ourselves if we were happy, calm, loved, appreciated.
Success in North America (and rapidly spreading to other countries) is measured on a meter that rewards long hours, hard work, and eventually… burnout. Burnout is that moment when you find yourself incapable of working any longer. You’re so exhausted, frustrated or sick that it is physically impossible for you to ‘succeed’ any longer. At this point, the only way to relax is to sit on front of a TV or computer screen for hours and ‘veg out’. This is not an optimal way to relax and recharge! The moments of your life that you spend relaxing and recharging should fill you with vigour, energy and happiness. These precious moments should not be spent mindlessly.
It is understandable that once people reach a state of burnout, they are not in a place to think of fun, enjoyable activities for themselves. They may not have the time, energy, emotional resources or even value of life outside of ‘productivity’. Imagine getting into a rhythm where your life is optimized to be a balancing act between this notion of ‘success’ at work, and success in wellbeing. When you have success in wellbeing, you will be able to thrive even more at work. In other realms, you will be able to enjoy your days more, laugh more and perhaps see beauty in places you had not seen before.
1. Allot a day of the week to your wellbeing
Plan a day in advance EACH WEEK where you spend the day on your wellbeing. On this day, give yourself a limit to how many times you check your email, reply to messages, and take calls. You could go cycling with your family, go for a walk by yourself, take a yoga class… Anything that makes you feel energized.
2. Find a creative outlet
Did you love painting in high school, but gave it up as you got older? Have you been yearning to learn how to play a musical instrument? You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on this. At the beginning of the week, set aside an hour or two at the end of a day to immerse yourself in this activity. It will act as a great de-stressor, a motivator, and inspire you in other aspects of your life.
3. Get support where you can
The more you burnout, the less you engage in meaningful discussions with other people. Do you have a friend or partner who you can talk to regularly? This is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding burnout. A lot of people have trouble finding someone who they feel they can talk to about important aspects of their lives. They may not want to burden a friend or family member with their problems. Make time for your friends, partners and family members regularly. If you need additional assistance, mental health professionals are there to help you work through your problems in a judgement-free, supportive setting. Find someone who you feel comfortable with!
Learn to balance your life, and that’s true success.