Practice Mindfulness: Don’t Burn Yourself Out
It’s easy for your personal life to transcend into your career, especially during times of high stress. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – 51% of Americans have felt burned out more than once in their lifetime, and 64% feel frustrated or stressed while on the click at least once or more times per week. The cause? Something’s making your Cortisol – also known as The Stress Hormone – levels spike. Below I’ll explain what this means and how you can lower your Cortisol during times of anxiety.
During periods of stress, your Cortisol increases by 2-5x. Prolonged stress can interfere with your ability to learn, worsen your memory, lower your immune function and life expectancy, make you gain weight, increase your blood pressure, cholesterol, and A1C levels, and even heighten your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and mental illness. Although stress is common, the feeling remains detrimental. Get this: 57% of Americans say stress makes them feel paralyzed, but 43% say stress makes them feel invigorated. Are we addicted to stress? What scenarios can make us feel one way or the other?
In short, there are two different forms of stress: short-term stress and chronic, never-ending stress. Short-term stress can be modeled by worrying about a deadline. The reason these instances are classified as “short-term” is because there is a clear endpoint to your anxiety and worries, which ultimately challenges you to excel toward completing your tangible goal.
On the other hand, chronic stress goes on to rewire the brain – the type of stress that can eat at your life expectancy. During periods of chronic stress, less brain activity is related to higher-order tasks, and more brain activity is related to your survival instincts. This creates a recipe that provides no outlet for cortisol, flooding your brain with the stress hormone.
So, how do you know if you’re burning yourself out?
Easy. The biggest indicator you’re burning yourself out would be a constant feeling that your work quality is slacking and that you’re not showing what you’re really capable of on the job. Interestingly enough, 1 in 3 employees in the UK blame technology for their stress. They say workplace tech only leads to an increased workload, gives them tighter deadlines, and increases their amount of social isolation.
Here’s how you can avoid burnout:
Step 1: Find the underlying problem because an oppressive work environment (one that clashes with your personal values, such as a place with intense time pressures) are often to blame for burnout.
Step 2: Establish a routine: Practice mindfulness, and practice yoga. Consider waking up at a specific time, checking your inbox at a certain time each day, or allotting daily times to a specific task. Having a predictable routine is handy in providing a distraction from your stress – so be sure to build cortisol reducing activities into your daily schedule.
Step 3: Prioritize each day. Creating a to-do list to manage daily tasks so you know what to expect can be extremely helpful in guiding you to on-the-job relaxation and serenity, regardless of your progress. It’s important that you look for long-term balance instead of trying to cram everything into a 24-hour window.
On the other hand, ceasing late-night work practices can relieve your stress. Seriously. Blue light from screens can interfere with your sleep – which will increase your cortisol levels. If you can’t get around this, or can’t stop giving up late-night office engagements, try our filtering glasses or a color-shifting app to reduce your exposure to blue lights.
Still, these aren’t the only ways to prevent stress. Check out the infographic below to learn what you can do to reduce cortisol and prevent burnout in the workplace.
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