(By: Belinda Mountain)
It’s nearly the end of the year and we’re all tired…
Traffic, homework, deadlines – it’s all piling up in layers of stress, and if we’re not taking care of ourselves properly, many of us may be close to burnout. While work burnout is a common concept with which we may be familiar, it’s worth taking a good look at other aspects of our lives too, as there are in fact many different types of burnout.
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1. Parenting burnout
There’s no denying that kids are demanding and even more so if they’re under the age of three. Besides the physical demands of night wake ups, bathing them and feeding them, they’re also emotionally draining if they’re going through a particularly sticky developmental stage.
If you find yourself screaming at them more than you’re talking, it may be time to admit that you’re approaching parenting burnout and that you need to get some help. This could be as simple as asking a friend to watch the kids while you take time to pamper yourself at a spa, go to a movie alone or even just enjoy a simple solo walk in nature.
Or, you could ask family if they’re able to babysit for a night and you and your partner could stay in a hotel nearby, if you don’t have the time to travel anywhere. You can’t do this parenting gig all alone and a happy parent = happy kids, so do take some time for yourself.
2. Exercise burnout
We’re all for establishing healthy exercise routines and getting those endorphins pumping – nothing puts you in quite as good a mood and keeps your body and mind young. But there is such a thing as TOO much exercise, as your body needs time to rest and recuperate.
Do you find yourself exercising to the extreme, even when you’re stiff, sore or falling ill? Is exercise getting in the way of other parts of your life such as friendship or work? Then it may be time to admit you’re approaching fitness fanatic burnout. Even professional sportsmen and women advocate taking rest days, as they’re vital for allowing your muscles, nerves and connective tissues to rebuild and gain strength.
The number of rest days you take depends on how fit you were to start with, what you’re training for and other factors such as how old you are, plus any injuries you have.
3. Work burnout
The work burnout portrayed in the media is of someone faced with piles of paperwork tumbling off his or her desk, an over demanding boss and deadline after deadline. But the truth is that work burnout comes in many forms, and occurs for a variety of reasons: from not being challenged and stimulated enough, to not being appreciated enough for the work that you do, to fire-fighting disasters as described above.
If you’re feeling like you’re close to breakdown, physically or emotionally, it’s definitely time to sit down and chat to your manager or someone in the HR department. You need to have an honest discussion with them so that you can pinpoint exactly what’s contributing to your burnout, whether it’s time spent in traffic each day, stress caused by missing out on family life, or simply that you need assistance at work with specific projects.
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Small changes such as changing your working hours slightly (so you miss traffic), arranging for someone else to pick your child up from extra murals (another parent at school or an au-pair), or delegating a particularly time-consuming task at work, can all make a huge difference. It’s also worth ensuring that you book regular holidays so you can recharge. If you’re part of a medical scheme like Fedhealth, they have a rewards programme called Sanlam Reality where you can take advantage of travel discounts so you can take a break without breaking the bank.
READ MORE: Don’t let burnout beat you
You’re not productive when you’re close to burnout, whatever type it is, so the sooner you can fix these issues, the better.
A happy and healthy parent or employee is what everyone wants, so admit that you need help and then make some changes together.