Studies show people are working more hours now that we are working remotely. We may have more flexibility but we’re suffering from time creep. One survey showed the average workday lengthened by 48.5 minutes in the weeks following stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, and the number of meetings increased by 13 per cent. Another showed we’re working another 2.5 hours longer each day. We’re taking fewer breaks and working strange hours to get things done, and it’s taking its toll.
My clients agree with that research.
In all the programs and coaching conversations I’m having, the consistent theme is that people are becoming exhausted and overwhelmed. And there’s no end in sight so how do we keep going?
Taking care of ourselves.
We can’t expect anyone else to fix things for us. They’re all struggling, too. The answer is to take responsibility for ourselves and our own self-care.
Self-care is now recognised as a necessity, not a luxury, yet we’re not good at it. I think there’s a certain amount of guilt when we take time out to spend on ourselves. If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown, it’s that those who ignore their own needs are the ones who succumb to exhaustion and stress. It’s irresponsible not to look after our personal needs.
How can you take care of yourself?
There are several things you can do but they all come down to knowing yourself. Understanding your needs. Being self-aware. So, let’s start there.
There are a number of tools on my website that will give you insight into who you are and what drives you. I would love you to explore them because until you know what is prompting your thoughts and actions, you can’t manage them. Know yourself and you can control the impact things have on you.
Reset your clock.
Sleep has probably been hard to find if you’re stressed. Your whole system is affected when stress hormones are released into the body. You need to rediscover your natural “circadian rhythm,” – your daily cycles of sleep and wakefulness. How can you reset your clock? Get into the habit of going to be and getting up at the same time every day. You might not fall asleep straight away in the beginning but stick to the routine and your body will reset the clock.
Realign with your goals and values.
Are you doing what matters to you? Are you going where you want to go? It’s times like these that make us reflect on where we are and often, we realise our goals have changed. Our values are different. If there’s no alignment between what matters to you and what you do each day, it simply adds to your stress and unhappiness. Escape the overwhelm by reassessing what’s important to you. Changing your path does not reflect failure; it shows personal growth.
Work to your strengths.
There’s a time to challenge yourself and a time to do what you’re good at. During periods of stress and exhaustion, working to your strengths gives you the best chance of being successful at what you’re doing. It boosts your positivity and energises you, powering you to cope with more.
Take time out.
Escape the world for a day or go on a retreat. Take time to get back in touch with yourself. When you feel better and recharged, you have more energy, and you can make a bigger difference in your work and relationships.
Switch off technology at night and on the weekends.
We have to stop being permanently connected to the world because it sucks up our energy and consumes our focus. Choose a time that works for you and shut down your devices. Get your time back without interruption.
Be strict with your time.
It has a way of escaping without notice. A one-hour meeting becomes two. An hour on the computer becomes three. A work request for help can eat into your family time. Use an alarm to remind you when time is up. Say no to things that intrude on your time. Spend time doing what you love with the people you love. Guard that time fiercely because that’s what matters.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to put yourself first sometimes. It’s essential to your health and wellbeing.
Want to know more strategies for 100% efficiency?
The secret to do more and do it better through rewiring your brain can be found in my Peak Performance eBook. Gain instant access here…
Will you make yourself a priority and take care today?