More and more, today’s state of mind is one of working until you drop. Feeling tired or plain unhealthy, is taboo. You’ve got to finish your work first, right? As soon as our career becomes our first priority, we start to neglect our health. No wonder that we’re fueling a burn-out driven society. Instead of easing off when we’re feeling weak, we resort to pills against headaches or fatigue. When we’re low on energy, we either snack on candy bars or pump our veins full of caffeine. Only when our health completely prohibits working, we start to take things easy –until we’re feeling even slightly better that is.
Does this sound familiar? In the coming weeks, we’ll give you five questions you can ask yourself to better understand the contemporary syndrome. Here’s the fourth question.
Does your working environment prevent you from taking it easy?
We aren’t machines. It might seem hard to accept for some, but we need breaks. On average, people need a break every 90 to 120 minutes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long break, but a brief moment to come to your senses is the least you should give your body and mind.
Unfortunately, many high performing employees feel that they have no control over their working schedule. There’s always more to do and less time to do it. They respond by sacrificing their breaks, or simply keep on working during their breaks (checking your e-mails while you’re on a break, isn’t really taking a break). Evidence has shown that these people are at much higher risk for cardiovascular diseases and depression, so you may want to think twice before you bail on your next break. We’ll get you started.
Take a look at your working schedule and plan your breaks. Follow your schedule and give yourself some breathing space. Practice your breathing during these breaks at home. Take 10 seconds to draw your breath, hold your breath for another 10 seconds and breath out during another 10 seconds. Try to implement this exercise at least three times in your working schedule.
Stress is good for you and you can handle chronic stress for a while. But stress related fatigue will inevitably bring you down sooner or later. Try to have ample exercise during exceptionally busy times, as that generates endorphins, which help clearing your head. If you’ve been working for weeks to reach that one major deadline and you feel like you’ve sweated your guts out because of it, there’s nothing left to do than taking some much needed time off to get back on your feet.
Take some time off during your weekend too to recover! It prevents total exhaustion and keeps burn-out at bay.