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Emotional outbursts are a sign of exhaustion and even burnout… Take the time to recharge your batteries before you hit a wall.
Being resilient enables people to respond to unexpected challenges thoughtfully, with calm, grace, and poise. But when we’re exhausted – physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually – we’re more likely to react or even lash out when things go wrong. Challenges don’t necessarily need to be life changing to elicit a response when burnout is our reality. Something as simple as a comment, traffic, or ruined plans can quickly seem like a disaster.
We saw an example of this level of serious exhaustion earlier this year at the Oscars when actor Will Smith lost his temper, storming onto the stage to slap comedian Chris Rock after Rock cracked a joke. on Smith’s wife.
Smith’s wife, Jada, was resilient enough to face it in the moment with little more than a pained expression on her face. Rock showed resilience by not getting angry, choosing instead to express his surprise and move on with another joke. But Smith’s lack of resilience is evident in his responsiveness. And more often than not, reactivity is the result of exhaustion.
Related: 7 ways to stay resilient in uncertain times
When exhaustion leads to bad behavior
Burnout is very real, however, it can be avoided with simple self-care rituals. We are all human and we need to rebuild our resilience so that we can best face the difficulties that come our way. However, many of us don’t pay attention to our level of resilience until we are already operating on empty.
About 49% of U.S. employees say they feel burnt out from their jobs, according to a new survey from Eagle Hill Consulting, LLC. Rates are higher for women (54%) and younger workers aged 18 to 34 (53%), says the report, which blames staff shortages and heavy workloads as causes.
Burnout is a root cause of burnout. When you are exhausted, you are less able to cope with adversity, uncertainty, and unexpected challenges. You are in a reduced state of readiness. Unfortunately, often we don’t notice we’re exhausted until something happens to test us.
The signs of burnout are all around us. Road rage, online rage and general incivility are all indicators that people are tense, reactive and fired up – like Will Smith at the Oscars. We haven’t woken up a day after losing our ability to be patient, civil, and compassionate. We are the same people we were before being stressed out; we are simply less patient, less thoughtful, less considerate, and less able to manage our emotions.
So what’s the answer? Do we all need to take civility classes? Maybe, but it’s really not about that. It’s about the fact that people are exhausted. In this state, you are more likely to be short with your children, your spouse, your co-workers – and certainly with strangers.
Our human tendency is to face uncertainty or adversity from a place of fear. When our primitive fight or flight response is activated, our ability to think critically is diminished, overcome with defensiveness and even anger. We are much less worried about offending someone with our words, actions, or tone of voice. This is where smart people can make bad decisions.
We’ve always been tribal, so why does it seem like we can’t be civil to each other anymore? I don’t think people have forgotten how to be civil. I think a lot of people feel exhausted. A key indicator of burnout is overwhelming fatigue that threatens to overwhelm body, mind, heart, and spirit.
It takes energy to be patient. It takes energy to be empathetic, compassionate, and understanding. To have the energy we need to perform at our best, we need to build our resilience and restore our energy before we need it.
Related: 3 Rituals to Help You Build Resilience and Beat Stress
4 rituals for more resilience and less exhaustion
In order to succeed in building our resilience and restoring our energy before we need it, we can establish rituals to renew and recharge ourselves in the four zones of resilience: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. These are the daily habits we engage in to replenish ourselves.
Movement heals. Simple acts, such as stretching and exercise, can do a lot for the four zones of resilience. They are also a great way to interrupt a negative spiral or emotions that could lead to bad behavior.
Fresh air is revitalizing. Getting outside, taking a brisk walk, or indulging in an activity you enjoy outdoors stimulates those feel-good chemicals in your brain that we need to fight exhaustion. Daily doses of fresh air, outside the cubicle or office walls, also create space for a mental break, which builds your resilience.
Silence is truly golden. Meditating and taking short but meaningful breaks throughout our workday interrupts the constant noise and information overload that we are all subjected to on a daily basis. Rather than waiting to be overwhelmed to take a break, intentionally schedule these times throughout your day. If it’s on your schedule, you’re much more likely to follow through, which is half the battle when it comes to self-care.
It is important to feed your brain. We don’t give enough credit to how new perspectives and growth can create a calming effect throughout our lives. When we read, invest time in learning, or spend time focused on personal growth, it also creates more space in our lives to deal with difficult situations more effectively.
With practice, we can change how we respond to stressful and unexpected situations. By creating and practicing recovery rituals throughout your day, you’re less likely to become burnt out and better equipped to be patient, kind, and compassionate — and, of course, to make better decisions.
Related: Want to Prevent Burnout? Start building resilience now.
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