You must have mechanisms in place to prevent burnout before it strikes. For some people, this means waking up early and working out. For others, it’s more about meditation, spiritual peace or writing in a journal. Some people simply need to be home, in a safe space, with family or friends who love them unconditionally and can help them recharge and fill their cup.
I personally learned this lesson in 2008, when within a six-month period, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a blood deficiency referred to as Factor V Leiden, and a stiff neck that ultimately led to a 5-day hospital stay and was diagnosed as pharyngeal edema. It was almost as if the stress from my CEO position and my personal life was just pouring out of my body. Eventually, I learned how to manage all of it and keep my Crohn’s in remission, but that time period is a constant reminder of a time in my life that I do not wish to return and it was time to re-prioritize and OFTEN to avoid my health serving as the sacrificial lamb.
The question I have for each of you is, how long do you want to keep doing what you’re currently doing? Do you want to burn yourself out to the point where it’s not fun anymore, or become so stressed that you have nothing left to give? Our culture places a higher value on work time than “me” time. But if you don’t prioritize “me” time occasionally, you will burn out, and the work time will slowly kill you. Having a better balance in your life increases productivity decreases burnout and improves your satisfaction with life. So here are a few tips I thought I would share that helped me. Create some “me” time.
Examples of “Me” time include”
1. Create time every day or every week just for you do something you enjoy
2. Go offline for the weekend—no computer, no email, no thinking about work
3. Create a getaway: a girl’s/boy’s weekend, a spa day, wine tour, or some beach time
There are ways to do this inexpensively that will recharge your spirit without taking a toll on your pocketbook:
1. Use your sick days and personal days
2. Set aside a percentage of your paycheck exclusively to save for a vacation
3. If you’re the kind of person who gets re-energized by quiet time at home, make it a “staycation”
In my book, Jumping the Queue: Achieving Great Things Before You’re Ready, I suggest some easy tactics to begin implementing today so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance. For example,
1. Set clear goals as what you want to accomplish professionally and personally
2. Plan your day around the top three priorities
3. Track your time to know where you are spending it – you cannot fix the imbalance of your time until you know where your time is spent.
Finally, remember to take each day as it comes and know that the best-laid plans must be flexible. Your health is your wealth and if you do not take care of your self and practice balance, you will not be able to rely on your health for yourself, the ones you care about or your profession.
Here is to your Health!