6 - 7 minute read
Burnout is something that is akin to this generation and close to my own heart. Several years ago I started my clinical practice, full of vigour and at an alarming pace. Slowly my emotional and physical resources were waning. After a few years of self-neglect I found myself at a low point. It was a two year journey of recovery to get to my new normal, a place where I did things differently than before.
During the process I learnt a number of valuable lessons, one of which was that I failed to notice the signs of approaching burnout. In this article I attempt to assist you to recognise these in advance.
We tend to be passionate about what we do, run hard and fast after goals, fulfill multiple roles and juggle many responsibilities, all the while trying to become the best we can be. This is great, even noble, but unfortunately comes at a cost. This cost should be offset by deposits into your life to enable you to run the race with endurance.
Here are 10 signs that burnout is on your horizon coupled with 10 solutions:
Recovering from burnout is possible, I for one am an example of this. It is not a shame to be at a place of exhaustion and needing to ask for help. Rather, it takes courage and is wise. You have a definite purpose to fulfill, now is the season to receive so that you can continue to give for years to come.
About the author
One of the most consistent remarks I hear from staff is that their leaders do not listen.
One of the shifts in thinking when becoming a leader is getting used to the reality that your role is to be there for them, and not the other way around.
You need to encourage them. You need to engage them. If you are waiting for someone else to encourage you or motivate you to do your job, then you are not thinking like a leader.
Your primary role as a leader is to make your team as effective as possible. You are there to make sure that they have everything they need to do their work. This means that you need to be there for them, consistently. You must focus on them, not on yourself.
I often preface these three questions by saying to my clients: “If you want to change your life as a leader, learn these three questions.”
The three simple questions are:
How are you?
“How are you?” is often used as a greeting these days. It is not a question. In fact, sometimes if you start to answer the question the person has moved on.
As leader, it is an important question to ask. It is just as importantt to listen to the answer.
None of us live in a vacuum. “Leave your problems at home and focus on your work” might be possible for some, but not for most us. What happens outside of work will affect my performance.
You need ask people how they are, and then you need to listen to, and remember, the answer. You do not have to solve all the problems. The fact that someone listened and cared is usually good enough. People need to be heard.
I was coaching someone a while ago and he was struggling with social interaction. He is an introvert and cannot stand small talk. My advice was to just ask the other person how they are, and then sit back and listen. I told him that the probable reason that the other person was asking how he is, is because they were hoping he would reciprocate and ask the same question.
Asking people how they are, and then listening, shows that you care.
What do you think?
One of the most common traps I see new leaders fall into is the belief that they have to know everything. This is a bad start. People who think they know everything learn nothing.
In your team you have two types of people:
The first group are those who look at facts, or apply logic, think about it, and give you an answer. If you ask them what they think, they will tell you what they think.
The second group will use instinct, or intuition, gut feel or feelings, and then give you an answer. If you ask them what they think, they will tell you what they feel. Your job as a leader is to know your team well enough to know the difference.
If you do not ask people what they think, they will stop thinking. Asking people what they think is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. It is very difficult for an insecure leader to ask others what they think.
Many years ago, someone asked the Managing Director of the company I worked for what the secret of great leadership was. His answer: “Never employ someone who is not smarter than you.”
Your role as a leader is to get smart people to contribute. If you don’t let them, they won’t.
How can I help you?
Firstly, you need to change your attitude. You need to think like a leader. You have to ask yourself the question every time you make a decision: “Will this decision help my team get the job done, or will it hinder them?”
Next, you need to make sure that you understand that you are there to create an environment in which your team can be productive, with the emphasis on being productive.
Lastly, you need to ask them how you can help.
You need to be careful about this. This is NOT about pandering to their wants, and it does not mean that you are their servant. Even in this age of entitlement, there is very little democracy in a work environment. It does not mean that you have to make sure that there are enough Nespresso pods in the machine!
It means that because of your position as the leader, there are things that you can do, or get done, that they cannot do. There are decisions you can make. There are people, resources and information you can access. There is a broader perspective that you can bring. There is a picture you have that they do not have.
All this needs to be made available to your team.
Write down these three questions, memorise them, and then use them.
“Lead by listening. To be a good leader you have to be a great listener.”
About the Author
A healthy brain is an incredibly asset. It is likely the best tool we have to navigate through challenging times and to thrive in life. This means it is very important to keep your brain in top shape. I am going to mention a couple of things you can do!
1. Rethink your stress
A whole body of research shows that our brain can deal with short-term stresses and we can conceptualise stress as a helpful adaptation to dealing with tough times. But hours and days of coping in stressful situations are bad for your brain and can cause physical harm. It is key that we consider ways of decreasing stress each day.
One often-overlooked source of stress is our exposure to the news. Though it is important to be informed, most of us would benefit from limiting our overall news consumption, and by restricting it to more reliable, less sensationalised sources. Also be careful of too much information being absorbed every day.
2. Chill out with the right tunes
A professor of Decision Neuroscience, Hilke Plassmann says many of us instinctively use music to regulate our moods and calm our thinking. Scientifically the right tunes really do help our brains to chill out. Playing music in the background while working can increase productivity, sharpen focus, and sustain mental attention.
You can also reduce stress by singing. Calm you nerves before a meeting by singing in the car, it floods your brain with endorphins (a group of hormones) that reduces stress and improves your mood.
3. Be Mindful
The reason so many people recommend exercises such as focusing on your breathing, is because a mountain of research shows it works to regulate your brain activity.
Concentrate on deep breath a couple of times per day!
4. Connect with others
As humans, we experience a deep need for connection with other people. Research has revealed that healthy relationships are vital for our physical, mental, and cognitive health.
One of the easiest ways to sustain your relationships is simply to pick up the phone. Just hearing someone else’s voice can make a world of difference. Volunteering can also provide a wealth of interpersonal benefits that may translate into improved brain function.
5. Eat right for yout brain health
To get our brains in the best shape possible, we must start with high-quality building blocks. That means paying special attention to what we eat. When times get tough, it is tempting to reach for comfort foods. Unfortunately, these tend to be highly processed and high in refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and added sugars, all of which may damage the brain by increasing inflammation.
On the other hand, when we consume nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables and nuts we can lower inflammation and protect the brain.
Water also plays a big role in brain health. 75 % of your brain consist of water. Keep hydrated to protect your amazing brain. You can even care for your family and colleagues by asking when they had their last glass of water?
6. Sleep you way to better thinking
Sleep is vital to brain health. When our schedules are thrown off, sleep is the first casualty. Poor sleep is proven to be a risk factor for making bad decisions.
Get your sleep back on track by cutting out blue light exposure in the hours before bed (blue light blocks production of the sleep hormone melatonin). Try to create a wind-down routine before bed that includes a relaxing activity like reading, listening to music. Avoid discussing or consuming stressful content in the hour before bed.
We are all aware that exercise is good for the body. We are now learning that it’s also vital for healthy brain function and can even prevent illnesses like Alzheimer’s. Whatever kind of exercise works for you, just keep on moving!
8. Get into nature
Being in nature is good for our health. In fact, nature exposure has been linked to a host of brain benefits including improved cognition and better mood.
First and foremost, if you can get outside, do it! Just 20 minutes in an outdoor natural environment may be enough to lower levels of stress. It can be as simple as a walk around the neighbourhood. If you are unable to get outside (due to restrictions, weather, or other reasons), consider bringing the outside in! Indoor plants are linked to increased positive emotions and reduced negative feelings. People working in offices with natural elements like plants and sunlight reported being more productive and more creative.
And if you are really stuck inside four walls, even photographs of nature may be helpful. One study found that compared to looking at urban pictures, seeing nature photos may help improve brain functions.
Within the next hour share with someone one thing that you are going to start doing today to maintain your amazing brain.
About the author
A choice means to carefully select something. To carefully select something, takes time and effort, have you ever watched a child carefully selecting a sweet from a bag of different sweets? They select carefully – sometimes putting one back to choose another!
How much time do you take with your choices? How carefully do you choose? Do you sometimes re-think your choice?
Why don’t we take a bit more time to think about the choices that we are making daily that will influence the rest of our lives, and our health and the lives of our loved-one?
Yes, it’s true that there are a few things in life that we can’t choose e.g. where we are born, who your parents are etc. For the rest, most of our lives are influenced by the choices we make.
There are moments when you just know the choice that I am making now will have a lasting impact on my life and the people around me…
We are all bearing consequences of not-well-thought-through decisions. As we all know, ‘Wrong decisions are clear in hindsight’.
Let use this opportunity to reflect on how to make better choices today and tomorrow.
Be brave – choose well!
Suggestions of a few good choices…
Choose to talk kindly to yourself
“Thinking” and “self-talk” are intertwined. To find out what is on your mind, figure out what you are saying to yourself. Do you worry about the same things again and again? Do you talk to yourself in an encouraging or a hurtful way? Do you see a pattern? Do you believe in yourself?
Noticing your recurring choices is the first step toward changing destructive habits.
Choose to learn new things
What new skill did you learn the past few months?
Learn new things, practice old and new skills, and know that your work will pay off.
Choose to train your brain to be happier
Neurons that fire together, wire together. In other words, “…directed, willed mental activity can clearly and systematically alter brain function.”
For example, if you tend to wallow in frustration and anger when you make mistakes, practice telling yourself, “Mistakes are just part of life. I will make a conscious effort to learn from my mistakes.”
Of course, everything has two sides. You have a choice to keep that a secret, and live a lie. You can stay in that toxic relationship. You can choose not to contact the loved one that you are thinking of for weeks now...
The term “negativity bias” refers to the brain’s tendency to react more strongly to bad things—dangers, threats, mistakes, or problems—than to good things, such as pleasure, opportunity, and joy. Although the negativity bias has helped humans survive by alerting us to possible threats, it makes it harder for us to relax, enjoy life, and be happy.
Luckily, you can train your brain to be happier. Focusing on the positive aspects of life builds new neural structures in the brain. Become aware of pleasant or happy experiences. Bring them to the foreground of your mind. Linger on these experiences for 5 seconds or more. By doing so, you will rewire your brain, making it more likely that you will notice other positive things around you in the future.
Dr. Caroline Leaf says this in her book ‘Switch on Your Brain’
Be aware of the choices you have and make good choices!
About the author
Your mindset strongly influences your quality of life, living with the right mindset is critical to being happy and gaining a sense of fulfilment. To have the best mindset, you have to focus on strategies to help you get into the right mindset and optimize your potential.
Your mindset is the sum of your thoughts and beliefs that determine how you make sense of yourself, your immediate environment, and the world.
According to Carol Dweck, a researcher and Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, there are two types of mindsets that people can have: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
Lets look at what she explains:
Someone with a “fixed mindset” assumes that their temperament, intelligence, and level of creativity are innate characteristics that cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset only believe that they have been successful when their performance or intelligence measures higher than the standard. They constantly strive for success and avoid failure at all costs.
Having a fixed mindset leads to a belief that intelligence and talent are limited, so there is no use in working to develop or learn. And, because they believe they were born with a restriction on their talent, those with a fixed mindset put this same restriction on their effort–and subsequently, their success.
Growth Mindset: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
Alternatively, people who have a “growth mindset” seek out challenges and view failure as a chance to learn and build upon their abilities. With time and effort, their intelligence and knowledge can grow because they recognize that their effort influences their success, so they spend more time practicing or learning, which leads to higher levels of achievement. What kind of mindset do you have?
Do you want to thrive? Start your BrightStar journey today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or whatsapp us at 082 924 6401.
About the author
Although personal finance is 80% behaviour or Habits and only 20% Head knowledge or Thoughts , we still need to change the way we think about financial wellness, to be able to have a stress free life. We need to know the HOW, of making our finances work.
Let’s start with the first and foremost mind-set change: “I have enough money!”
When you live in a mind-set that you never have enough money, you’re going to act that out in real life. You will always be wanting for more money. If you think to yourself that you have enough, that you’re able to make ends meet and that you will be able to live off of what you make, you’ll find this starts to become true for you.
Believe you can and you’re halfway there
Never believe you don’t have enough money. That’s like starting in the hole and never recovering, no matter how hard you work.
Changing your mind-set will be the first step in working towards your abundance. You still have to do the hard work, but do it with the mind-set that you’ll have enough.
This is probably the hardest mind-set to change, but it will make the most difference.
If you’re able to change this one thought, you’ll be able to open yourself up to changing the way you deal with and manage your money.
Your positive relationship with money starts by believing that you have enough, that you are enough.
Marie Forleo says:
Anytime you part with money, bless it and say – There’s always more where that came from.
Read more about BrightStar Finance, or join the next online Workshop by sending an email to email@example.com or call or whatsapp us at 082 924 6401
About the author
Today we are going to visit a new concept! Toxic Positivity.
Maybe you’ve heard of toxic positivity? It is the culture of portaying yourself as being happy no matter what. You are basically switched off to anything which might be viewed as negative. It is also the idea of encouraging people to always see the bright side, and not open up about anything bad.
That is not a helpful thought pattern – it is actually harming.
What would you say? Are you ready to be honest about your emotions? Even if in you view it is not as “good” as you would want people to think your thoughts or your attitude is?
Do not pretend to be positive if you are not – you will be able to be more positive, complain less if you can first be honest about what you really feel!
How to avoid Toxic Positivity:
You can be sad, angry, upset, drained, anxious, overwhelmed, unsure, afraid and still be positive! Rather be honest, then you can be real and deal with what really is happening.
That will get you to move forward. Every time.
Do you want to thrive? Start your BrightStar journey today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or whatsapp us at 082 924 6401
About the author
What does thrive mean? To prosper; to be fortunate or successful. to grow or develop vigorously, to flourish.
Would you want to THRIVE?
I am sure we all want to say YES to that! Who does not want to prosper, flourish and grow? Surviving is no fun, it is just that, surviving.
Grow is to become larger or greater over a period of time, to increase.
Grow is good, we want to grow, but even more – we want to THRIVE!
What would you describe as the THRIVE factors in your life?
What do you need to have in place to be successful, to grow or to develop? Our answers might differ, but it is certain that we all need to consciously work at it.
Thriving doesn’t just happen – it takes focus, dedication and perseverance. Otherwise you will slip back into surviving, or just grow which doesn’t bring you the deep joy of a fulfilled life.
What is the first step to a Thriving life? I would want to say it is a choice. The choice to start. Start making better choices. You can start with one – one choice that is better that the one you made yesterday.
We have discovered that it is a LIFESTYLE. It is a journey. It does not happen overnight. Do-able? Yes! Easy? Not always. Rewarding? For sure.
You need to have an understanding of different areas in your life. You need to know what your life’s purpose is, what your values are, have your self-worth statements at the tip of your fingers, clear statements towards your wellness, your finances. You need to spy on your thoughts, change it, improve it.
You need to believe in you! So that you can THRIVE!!
Do you want to thrive, start your BrightStar journey today by emailing us at email@example.com or call or whatsapp us at 082 924 6401
About the author