5 Tips to Help You Get Your Spark Back!
Does life seem confusing to you right now? Is your daily life a fire drill? Are you burned out? Would you like to get your spark back?
From Naomi Osaka to Simone Biles, Covid-19 to the Delta Variant, and the decision to work from home or return to the office, burnout, stress, and wellness issues are making news.
Tennis player Osaka and Gymnast Biles are world renown athletes. Osaka’s stressful work is serving the tennis ball as close to the line as possible without the ball going out. Biles stress work is executing a backflip on a 4-inch beam.
You may have participated in athletic endeavors and understand competition and performing in stressful situations such as your team is down one point and you are at the free throw line with one second left in the game. If your athletic days are behind you, and you are working in a company, consider yourself a corporate athlete.
Corporate athletes don’t face one second at the free throw line, or executing backflips on a 4-inch beam, or serving an ace in a tennis match, but they face the stress of meeting project deadlines and getting daily work assignments completed.
Added to everyday stress are the worries that descended on all of us from Covid-19 and now the Delta Variant and the decision that seems to divide the country: Should we continue work from home policies or bring everyone back to the office.
If you are one of the millions of corporate athletes around the world experiencing burnout from your workload, indecisive corporate policies, and the pandemic and you would like to get your spark back, use these tips.
Get Your Spark Back Tip #1 – Analyze Your Workload and Act
An important place to start to get your spark back is to evaluate your assigned tasks. Dispose quickly of the ones that irritate you or you believe should have been assigned to someone else, anyone else, other than you. Then focus on the ones that are in your confident and competent wheelhouse.
When you come to the end of your workday, close out your day. This means you take 15-20 minutes to check off tasks you have completed and move unfinished items to tomorrow or to another day in the future. Then STOP work and focus on your personal life.
Burnout can happen when you are out of balance in your work/life equilibrium. Burnout also occurs when you constantly burn the candle at both ends and you are sleep deprived. After closing out your day and focusing on your personal life, GO TO BED and SLEEP.
If I have learned anything in life it is this: A good night’s sleep or a quick nap chases away the demons of pessimism, negativism, and hopelessness.
One last reminder: part of closing out your day is to make an action plan for the next day. Be proactive! Do the work of worrying. Plan your work and work your plan is the cliché.
Get Your Spark Back Tip #2 – Take a Time Out
Coaches call timeouts when the team is discombobulated and confused. Time outs work for normal humans trying to preserve their mental health and get their spark back.
If you are not sure what to do next or how to do it, call a time out to think and contemplate. As you have no doubt experienced, intense mental activity can result in physical exhaustion. Mental and physical exhaustion decreases decision-making and creative problem-solving abilities.
Get some sparks back by spending a few minutes chatting with a friend or reading a few jokes to make you chuckle. Take a walk to the nearest coffee shop for a drink, allowing your mind to break free from the intensity of your projects and roam anywhere it wants to go.
After a several minutes, you’ll be ready, even eager, to get back to work on your assignment.
Get Your Spark Back Tip #3 – Reconnect with Loved Ones and Friends
One of the lessons of Covid that I believe is being overlooked is the truth that we need physical contact with other people. We need loved ones to smile at, hug, snuggle and cuddle with.
Most of us could use a friend to give us an encouraging pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder or a sympathetic touch on your hand. We need to shake hands and give each other high-fives.
When we don’t have sufficient physical contact with others, an article on WebMD calls the condition touch starvation. “You crave contact but can’t interact with others for some reason. It’s also known as touch deprivation or skin hunger.” The article states that lack of physical touch makes you become “stressed, anxious or depressed.” (https://www.webmd.com/balance/touch-starvation)
The antidote? Sanitize, then reconnect and give a loved one a hug. Good relationships keep you healthier and happier.
Get Your Spark Back Tip #4 – Revisit Your Hobbies
Your spark will reignite if you can take some time for your favorite hobby. I love to play the piano. When I take time, sit down and play some Chopin, Schumann, or Beethoven, I get up from the piano relaxed. My psyche feels calm as I feel the delight of accomplishment. This improves my belief that I can handle my workload.
What do you like to do that engages part of your conscious mind but keeps boredom at bay? The Guitar? Jigsaw puzzles? Crosswords? Knitting? Crocheting? Swimming? Running? Jeopardy?
Even though we may not like to admit it, yard work counts as well as cleaning the house.
Hobbies are valuable in many ways. They stimulate your brain, relax you, help you decompress after a stressful day at work, and may lead you find new friends who share the same passion you have. In a nutshell, they enrich your life.
In our work from home world where personal and professional lives seem to be meshed together, hobbies can help you separate the two.
You may be surprised that your best ideas come to you while engaging in one of these activities that can rejuvenate you.
Get Your Spark Back Tip #5 – Appreciate What You Have
In my book, How to Earn the Gift of Discretionary Effort (available on Amazon), I address the power of Gratitude and what it can do for your mental and emotional health. I quote David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk who penned these words: “It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
Also quoted in my book is Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor at the University of California, Davis. In his book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, he states: “The emotion [of gratitude] seems simplistic, yet I discovered that gratitude is a deeper, more complex phenomenon that plays a critical role in human happiness. Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people’s lives.”
After enduring the past months of the pandemic, it is appropriate to turn our minds to what we can be grateful for and that includes the simple things of life found in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs such as air to breathe, food to eat, clothing to wear, and shelter from the elements.
I believe Dr. Emmons. Finding something to be grateful for every day will make you happier and help you get your spark for life back.
Use these self-care tips to catch burnout while the fire is small. You’ll get your focus, drive, energy, and your spark back. You’ll maintain some sanity in our world that seems to be insane.