I am starting with a bit of humour – a conversation between a call agent and a customer.
The policy of a customer care centre was to use a client’s name at least five times before the call ended, no matter how brief. Here is a client care agent’s attempt at doing that:
Client: Do you provide such-and-such service?
Care Agent: I’m Ada. May I know your name?
Client: Sure. It’s Joy.
Care Agent: Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, we don’t. Thanks for calling.
Either of the following could be responsible for Ada’s action. Lack of understanding or irritability. So, how irritable are you getting lately, even over little things? Since you resumed work or your routine, do you feel stuck? Could you possibly be tired of your job, or are your activities becoming mundane? Do you feel confined within certain boundaries or going around in circles?
Feeling stuck in a rut is a silent stressor that many people quickly get used to often. It’s a type of stress that stems from roles played at work coupled with prolonged exposure which can lead to severe burnout. Therefore, if you get unnecessarily irritated without any reasonable cause or experience mood swings, are becoming disinterested in work generally or meeting deadlines, or are overeating or drinking excessively. You may want to check the following areas to ascertain you are not overworked or overstressed.
Your Emotions: Do you unnecessarily feel edgy and can’t pinpoint what is behind it? Do you quickly lose your cool over trivial matters often? Are you sleeping too much or finding it difficult to get good sleep? Is apathy creeping in that you find yourself procrastinating more? If you answer – yes – to most of these questions, fatigue and chronic stress may have triggered a psychological response indicating burnout lurking. A break might be what you need to cool the nerves.
Your Weight: Are you overeating or undereating? Are you drinking too much? Daily gaining or losing more than 1 percent of your body weight is another stress sign. Either you were too busy to eat or drink enough water or didn’t notice you overate the previous day. If the inability to take a break from work is not the only problem, you may need to take a step back to reassess things. Such as when you eat, how you eat, and what you eat.
Your Waste: What is the colour of your urine? Lighter or darker? The colour of your urine can indicate dehydration. The lighter the colour, the more hydrated you are, and vice versa. Proper hydration aids the absorption of nutrients, which increases energy levels. Drinking enough water/fluid somehow boosts brain alertness. Lack of hydration because you are too busy for water breaks can lead to sluggishness. Therefore, it is counterproductive not to have healthy sips at work as nothing eventually gets done. So, take a break or always have a bottle of water handy.
Your Resting Heart Rate: Did your pulse rest after all? You can check your pulse before you get out of bed, especially in the morning. A few apps can help with this if you can’t do it manually. Usually, your heart rate stays within a few beats per minute, but it increases if you are overworked or stressed. Knowing that your resting pulse didn’t rest after a night’s sleep indicates you need a break. You may stay a bit longer in bed or get an hour massage which equates to eight hours of sleep.
At different points in work life, we will experience apathy, question our purpose, hold negative perceptions of the future, procrastinate, drink too much, oversleep or sleep less, overeat, or starve. What is critical is knowing those quick pick-me-up remedies that work for you to prevent burnout. Some of these remedies are:
Self-care: Practicing self-care protects your well-being and happiness, especially when stressed. You can achieve this by including me-time in your routine or daily schedule. Your me-time may take a few minutes daily, a couple of hours weekly, or occasionally. Consistency is important here, which can be achieved by prioritizing and being deliberate. During this me-time, you may engage in a breathing exercise and pilates stretches, take cat naps, or get a massage or pedicure.
Love Your Job: Turn your passion into a portfolio, and you will never work a day in your life again. How great it feels to earn a living doing what you love most? Even though this may not prevent stress, the fact that you work for yourself and have flexible working hours could help prevent burnout. Finding harmony by deliberately balancing things up goes a long way in reducing stress.
Go on Vacation: Yes, retake a break even though you just returned from one. It may just be what you need to reset yourself with the necessary evaluation. If you can’t go on vacation immediately, plan to do so as soon as possible. Even the planning process may be enough to boost your mood momentarily while you ensure you go on that vacation. If possible, unplug completely while on your annual leave; an out-of-office email will help within this period. If you can’t make such a sacrifice, get extra hands, and prepare them for the job while you look away. Now that travelling is back in full swing, a change of environment may do the trick.
Know Your Limit: It’s essential to know one’s breaking point. With such awareness, you will know the appropriate time to stop working so hard, take a break or take things easy to prevent burnout.
Find a Hobby: Hobbies and new habits are great for preventing stress. Hobbies like swimming, tennis, golfing, playing a musical instrument, and writing can prevent you from overworking and make you appreciate other vital things like patience, solitude, networking, and art. Habits like regular exercise, practicing good sleep hygiene, paying attention to what you eat, and drinking lots of water are also essential for rewirement.
If you ever feel overtly irritated and can’t pinpoint the reason, let’s help with our Rewirement Programme. It’s a 5-week programme that will help you know yourself better, boost your happiness, and improve your quality of life. Please call 08100371304. Email: [email protected] or follow on LinkedIn: https://lnkd.in/efCmu87J for more details.
Opaleye, a well-being specialist, writes from Lagos