It’s no wonder that this time of year is known as the silly season. As we inch closer to Christmas, the silliness grows into a beast unto its own. The endless shopping for Christmas presents, completing the ever-scrolling to-do list at work and attending all the celebrations that this time of year brings demand our attention. It’s a crazed frenzy that only leeches on our energy levels. On a positive note, Christmas also brings a definitive finish line, where we can edge towards. The reward crossing that finish line is the promise of a few days off before the New Year starts.
Feelings of burnout and fatigue are only natural at this time of year and this is an important point to highlight. The pace of our current modern world applauds hard work, being busy and working to the bone. Undertaking multiple activities or tasks simultaneously is a state of mind that is revered in our world. Culturally speaking, to sit and do nothing, or even going slow, is perceived as weak and gluttonous, even self-indulgent. As the saying goes: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”
As our world experiences the pressures of owning a house and providing for our families, it’s ourselves who seem to be the most affected and the most pained. It’s a never-ending struggle to keep up with these demands, keep up with career progression and keep up with societal expectations. Keeping up is gruelling work.
Workplace burnout is an escalating epidemic here in Australia, one that shows no sign of letting up. According to the Australian Psychological Society, one in four Australians is experiencing alarming levels of anxiety symptoms. Mental forms of stress are the “most expensive type of workers’ compensation claim”. Stress and wellbeing are increasing, as 26% of Australians have reported to having moderate to extremely severe depression symptoms. What is more worrying is how Australians deal with the stress: 66% drink alcohol, 54% turn to gambling, 47% take recreational drugs and 45% smoke cigarettes.
It’s all well and good to use time over Christmas to take a break for wellness reasons. So, how can someone interpret their end of year tiredness as stepping scarily towards the burnout barrier? I don’t have a medical answer for that one, but going by my past experiences it’s a point where you feel you can’t keep going. Every little task seems like the size of an elephant. It’s at this point my body starts to say no, even to everyday routines. This is when I tell myself I need to stop what I’m doing immediately so I can take an extended break.
As you inch closer to the Christmas finish line yourself, try to take moments in your day to stop and self-scan. Is your body telling you to slow down? Is your body screaming for a break to breathe and rest? If it is, what can you do to help your body rest and re-set? Give yourself the time and space your body needs to revive. Burnout isn’t helpful for anyone, especially for you. Most importantly, you’re illustrating to your culture that we are all human, not martyrs, and going slow is not a sign of weakness or laziness.
Here are some of my best blog posts you can read so you can rustle up the courage to take that overdue – small or big – break. While some of these blog posts are Australia and Melbourne centric, you can still translate my tips to where you are right now, and where you want to go.
- Reap the Benefits of a Great Australian Bushwalk
- How to Fit More Green Time into Your Life
- Travel Your World to Keep Your Health in Check
- 5 Reasons Why Travel is Perfect for Our Wellbeing
- Mindfulness for Busy Travellers
- How to Visit Peninsula Hot Springs on a Wellness Escape
- Four Fun Wellness-Boosting Walks in and around Melbourne