We’re halfway through the festive season and most of us have forgotten what it’s like to go through a normal day. From shifting your routine in Ramadan to experiencing the hype in Eid, everything can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Of course, every year we’d naturally flow back into our own ways but not when you are constantly burnt out. Perhaps, you haven’t taken a break for the past few months. Maybe you just completely forgot.
Some of you are already losing sleep just to get through the day of work in addition to the festive fatigue.
Whether you are dedicated to a full-time job or working multiple jobs, burn-out is inevitable. Your little children and those who are dependent might even suck more energy out of you to the point where you feel like you can’t take it anymore.
How can you tell if you are burnt out? Do you need a break – maybe, a long one?
1. You’re tired, all the time.
This is the most obvious sign and the one that you’re more likely to ignore because you’re used to feeling that way. Even when you’ve had eight hours of sleep, you’d put on an extra layer of concealer to hide your eye bags. You’d have an extra strong cup of coffee. You’ve tried all means to get rid of the exhaustion, but still, you are tired.
What you can do: Never underestimate the power of a good night of sleep. There are ways where you can tweak your body clock to suit your routine. You should even steal some time for a nap in the day to make up for a disrupted sleep quality at night. Sleep quality is more important than quantity. Get something relaxing that would set a sleepy mood to your bedroom and by all means, avoid anything that radiates blue light (phone, laptop, etc) before you sleep. When you can’t resist using your phone, use an app that would filter the blue light; these kinds of apps are easily available in the app store. Your sleep is worth more than a scroll down the Internet lane. If you have insomnia, try to squeeze in some time for exercise during the day. You don’t have to do it every day if you can’t, but do it at least twice or three times a week.
You keep forgetting what you need to do and what you need to bring. You’d go through the day absentmindedly, where you’d try to get some things done as much as you can. But only to find out, in the end, you had forgotten about an important appointment with someone or pick up a family member from school.
What you can do: Take a deep breath. When you have too much to think about at the same time, your mind will only focus on the big things and you will forget about the errand that you were supposed to do in the first place. List down all the things that you need to do, no matter how trivial, because you can never trust your brain too much, especially when you’re burnt out. Practice mindfulness when you’re on a break and don’t rush.
3. Your productivity level just goes down the drain.
Nothing’s working out because you’re too tired to be focused and you’ve already dreaded to go to work in the first place, anyway. And perhaps you are overwhelmed by the tasks and responsibilities that you have that would make you feel unmotivated to start anything. You’d scroll through the Internet, taking in all of the information that has nothing to do with your work. You might be searching for an idea for that next trip; you’d binge watch YouTube videos and then find yourself out stuck in that chain, and you’d wonder how on earth have you reached to that peculiar part of the Internet.
Distraction after distractions, you find yourself trying to finish a piece work way past a deadline. You’d do a task way at the last minute and you’d add more anxiety and stress to yourself.
We’ve all been there.
What you can do: Take one task at one time; don’t try to do it all at once. Ask for barakah from God so that the time and energy that you’ve spent on your work would not go to waste. Ever felt like you could finish a task easily and in a short amount of time, despite it being difficult for you? That is barakah.
But of course, it’s not humanely possible to be productive all the time. Accept that and do something else. But don’t get carried away. Use the ‘Pomodoro technique’ where you’d set some time for your work and breaks in between, with an alarm clock.
4. You’re irritated at the little things and those frustrations would build up into anger.
Even the littlest thing ticks you off: the sound of the creaking door; the minute stain on your clothes; and the loud munching noise from your colleague. Something that never bothered you has become something that would upset you. Sometimes, you’re not even sure what had made you angry in the first place. Your chest just feels confined and tightened – you can’t even calm yourself down with the act of mindfulness anymore. It’s all too much.
What you can do: Again, don’t forget to take a deep breath. This time, breathe and count to ten. Focus your energy into something pleasant around you. Let it out by being creative or go out for some exercise. Punch the boxing bag. Go for a spinning class. Anything to let that frustration out. And whatever you go through, never take those few minutes of obligatory prayers – prayers that are beautifully distributed throughout the day – for granted. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to perform an ablution and pray.
5. Your body is telling you all the different signs that you have just had enough.
Always answer the calls to what your body is telling you. It could be in the form of mentality, such as increased level of anxiety and to some extent, depression. You might also be physically sick; your immune system is not as strong as when your mentality was healthier. When we are stressed out, we tend to turn to salty and fatty junk food to satisfy our cravings.
What you can do: Stop munching on junk food, as what you eat contributes a lot to how you would eventually feel. Eat a full healthy breakfast and lunch that would fulfill you for the rest of the day without having to depend too much on snacks. Opt for organic snacks such as a healthier choice of nuts and dried fruits that would boost your energy and brain. It’s OK to cheat sometimes, but keep in mind to be moderate in consumption.
If you have little children to take care of, it doesn’t hurt to ask help from your close ones so that you can unwind for a while and recollect some energy. An hour fully dedicated to your well-being is better than nothing at all.
And when you do rest, don’t think about your work, and enjoy every moment that you have for yourself. Unwind, relax and breathe. Just breathe.
Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.