Burnt out. Tipped over. Exhausted. (Press Pause Now)
Arianna Huffington became a firm believer of the importance of sleep and wellness after she collapsed from too much hard work without a care for her own wellbeing. She then gave up her position as editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post after realizing that she was juggling too many things at one time and that her passion was to encourage self-care.
“It’s important to remember that trying to do everything, mostly, means doing nothing very well.”
– Arianna Huffington
Do you suffer from one or more of the below symptoms? If you do, you’re like us, because we too have suffered from burnout.
(Disclaimer: This is not a diagnostic exercise; Please seek medical attention if you feel unwell. We’re sharing personal symptoms from past experiences.)
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Take the first step to combat burnout by feasting on The Healthy Mind Platter.
Two distinguished doctors of neurology and medical science came up with the Healthy Mind Platter for Optimal Brain Matter. Basically, there are seven essential mental activities that can optimise brain matter and in turn promote wellbeing. Likened to your balanced diet, a healthy mix of these seven activities will provide you with “mental nutrients” that will enable your brain to balance and coordinate its activities.
1. Focus time
Focusing on tasks in a goal-oriented way allows for sustained attention, where our brains would filter important information for deeper processing while suppressing interruptions from the irrelevant bits. This process allows the brain to make deeper connections.A good example could be coming up with daily short-term goals like, “completing one budget sheet before work ends today”.
We help our brains to make new connections when we are spontaneous and creative and open ourselves to new experiences that we enjoy. It can range from spontaneously going for a horseback riding class, or even fiddling with Lego pieces. You do not have to know how to do something before trying them out.
Go down the slides with your children, jump into the pool at a party, have fun!
3. Connecting time
When we connect with other people, ideally in person, and when we take time to appreciate our connection to the natural world around us, we activate and reinforce the brain’s relational circuitry.
Something that is as easy as heading out to a nearby park to take in the fresh air and appreciate bird songs can be extremely helpful to our bodies.
4. Physical time
When we move our bodies, aerobically if physically possible, we strengthen the brain in many ways. Try different kinds of exercises and find something that you would enjoy doing for double the benefit.
If running does not appeal to you, activities, like weeding your herb garden or walking around the block to check out your neighbours’ gardens, can also help you clock in that physical time to strengthen your brain!
5. Time in
Quietly reflecting internally, and focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts can help to better integrate the brain. This way, you are in touch with yourself and how certain stimulus makes you feel, and learn how to avoid bad stimulus while increasing the frequency of the good ones.
Writing a journal is a good way to keep track of your thoughts while reflecting and spending quality time alone. Journaling in itself is an exploration of language, and because of that, our natural urge to seek new words and increase our vocabulary will help to stretch our intelligence. From Einstein to Da Vinci, journaling has proven itself to be a useful tool for visionaries to keep their many thoughts in check. Why not yours?
When we are not focused on any specific goal and let our mind wander or simply relax, we help the brain recharge. Who said daydreaming was bad? Give your brain free reign and build some sandcastles in the air sometimes. Otherwise, if you’re not the kind to daydream without a reason, try meditation instead. You can see our blog post on meditation apps that can help you to reach that state of zen.
Or if you’re someone who has found no success in conventional methods of meditation, you can see how our founder, Cynthea, ‘meditates’ using her own methods in this blog post about Finding Joy.
“I try to maintain a healthy dose of daydreaming to remain sane.”
-Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine
7. Sleep Time
When we give the brain the rest it needs, we consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day. This is essential for our wellbeing and productivity because we often fall into burnout and exhaustion primarily because of the lack of sleep.
Our concentration and thinking get affected when we don’t get enough sleep, negatively impacting both our long- and short-term memories. The probability of getting into accidents increases as the degree of your sleep deprivation increases. That is why it is always important to get our hours of shut-eye!
Again, our last blog post features an insomniac’s past experiences and how she successfully cured herself of chronic insomnia. Read it here.
Your body and heart know better (than your mind does) when you are on the verge of burnout. So, listen inward always, and pause before it spirals out of control.
“If you are on the verge of burnout, slow down, make changes and prioritize your wellbeing.”
Written by Ange Chua
Edited by Cynthea Lam
Ange Chua is an aspiring bird-watcher trying to fix her black thumbs. When she is not writing, you'd find her drinking tea out of teacups or reading in bed with her dog. She thinks her spirit animal is an alpaca.