Feeling more grumpy than usual? Have little or no motivation to connect with friends or set plans? Having difficulty concentrating at work? Is accomplishing a daily and fairly mundane task akin to hiking Everest? Are you sick or have been in the recent past?
If you answered yes to some or all of the above questions you may want to look into taking a break. No, not a 15-minuter. A serious break. You may be on your way to burning out or already experiencing it. And burnout is a dangerous and precarious place to be as it can lead to more serious health consequences such as a full-blown breakdown.
Too often, we ignore the signs and symptoms that we are doing too much – that we are over-extending ourselves. Too often, we think we can push through and “go for the gold”. But then, the weekend rolls around and can’t get out of bed on Sunday, or it is very difficult to.
I encourage you to rest this weekend. I am going to.
I also encourage you to evaluate your commitments and perhaps make some hard decisions regarding your calendar. Perhaps sitting on another committee, or volunteering with the Humane Society, or signing your kid up for baseball and losing another weeknight to extracurriculars are not good ideas. Perhaps it is time to take a step back, sit down and unwind. I think so.
Burnout can lead to further sickness. It wreaks havoc on your internal workings and makes you a less productive, engaging, and happy person. While you may be able to sustain a busy busy busy calendar for a short period of time, you won’t be able to forever. I can promise you.
I understand the challenge in under-committing. As a busy bee myself, taking a hard look at my calendar and making cuts is difficult, if not impossible sometimes. But last Sunday, I decided to go and read in the park and not surprisingly, it was the best part of my day, if not weekend. So to all the busy bees and everyone who is over-committed/extended/exhausted, take an hour or two and relax this weekend. I promise, you’ll love it.