How are you. Really? More often than not, when someone asks us how we are, our response is that we’re busy, tired – or a combination of both. We wear our busy diaries like a badge of honour in our attempt to juggle like a pro and ‘have it all’.
Family life, work life and everything in between means we’re stretched – and stress is taking its toll. Thankfully, we’re living in an age where our mental and physical health are a hot topic of conversation and finally, it’s okay to say when you’re not okay.
However, if your career is your kryptonite and you’re taking on more than you can manage – these are the signs to watch out for and when to ask for help.
Let’s face it, the amount of information we process in a day is pretty different to that of an adult 100 years ago, even 20 years ago. We carry the internet in our pockets and recent studies suggest we’re exposed to upward of 5,000 ads in one day.
With so much on our minds and our brains processing more than ever, it’s no wonder we find it difficult to concentrate. That, and the brain fog caused by anxiety and depression can make crafting the simplest of emails an overwhelming task. Take desk breaks, take any kind of break. And know when it’s too much.
You’re feeling bloated, lacking any kind of energy and coffee is the fuel keeping you going. Feeling sluggish and tired can be a cause of a poor diet. Are you grabbing a quick fast-food lunch or ready meal? When did you last eat well, or get a good night’s sleep?
Listen carefully: you’re not a robot. You need nutrition, you need good sleep and you need to take care of yourself. Try the Calm app or the Clementine app for free bedtime meditations and sleep stories. If you really feel unwell, please go and see your GP.
Of course, there are times when a big project or deadline takes over and you’ll need to put in the extra time. But making this a habit only sets an ongoing standard that you won’t be able to meet. Again: you’re not a robot.
Making time for yourself, whether that’s family time, exercise, hobbies, or even reading a book in the bath means your mind will be well-rested and able to perform better. See your friends, get some fresh air, go out for dinner. They will all help you in the long run.
There may be times that you feel so busy and overwhelmed, you feel like you can’t breathe. That there aren’t enough hours in the day.
There’s a fantastic book called Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson that explains how you’ll never finish your to-do list. And you won’t. When you leave this planet, the house will still need to be cleaned and your inbox will still have unread emails. Try making a ‘done’ list instead or fill out a daily gratitude journal. Flip that negative thought on its head. You have 24 hours in a day and that’s enough. You are doing enough.
Is it worth it? A study by HSE showed between 2018-2019 a mind-blowing 28.2million working days were lost due to work-related ill health. That includes stress, anxiety, depression and musculoskeletal disorders.
On average, each person took 15 days off. Listen to your body. Go to your GP. Take your annual leave, even if you aren’t going away. You aren’t invincible and if your body is telling you to stop – at the very, very least – slow down. Make more time for you. You are more important than your job.