February 27, 2021

Curb your exhaustion

Over the past week, I’ve spoken with several people who are all feeling and dealing with exhaustion at work. I also have had a lot on my plate recently and am currently dealing with managing my load. On top of all this, we are all trying to deal with the pandemic and it is unsurprising that we are feeling exhausted. To cope, I am attempting to curb my exhaustion.

The spectrum of exhaustion can stretch anywhere from starting to burn out all the way to total burnout. I’m no expert on the subject but these are some of the things I’ve heard from others and seen in myself in starting to realize that I may be heading in that direction:

  • Loss of motivation to do work
  • Personal relationships remain unattended
  • Dreading going to work the next day
  • Low energy to do anything else
  • Continually working late into the evenings and weekends

It is important to acknowledge and realize we are all human and have limits. Pushing too hard at something pushes us towards our limits. It is not sustainable to stay operating at that intensity indefinitely. Either you will crash, or you will have to stop or slow down to prevent the crash.

We live in a society (mileage may vary depending on where you live) where putting everything into work is often heralded. Start by Resetting that mentality. It is okay to slow down. While there is no substitute for rest and you should eventually rest, here are some things I’ve done to try manage my current situation and exhaustion:

  • Taking a day off here or there. Mondays or Fridays are best as they get you a longer weekend and more time to recoup
  • Ruthlessly prioritize, stop doing things and communicate that you won’t be doing those things. Personally this helped me a lot. There was a non negligible level of exhaustion coming from thinking about the insane to-do list I had
  • Delegate as much as you can
  • Create a regular exercise routine and stick to it
  • Talk about it with others you trust
  • Turn off anxiety provoking notifications. E.g. Slack reminders, daily to-do list updates
  • Slow down wherever you can
  • Remember you can’t do everything and that’s OK
  • Book a week or a long duration of time off in the future and take that time off

In the end you need to eventually rest so whatever you do, ensure there’s an eventual path to get to rest.

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