The first rule: Be more introspective
Do you work to live or live to work? Perhaps you feel like you are in a high-pressure rat race where you must relentlessly strive to deliver a top performance. You thirst for professional recognition and you must be ever more efficient and perfect to be successful.
In the meantime, a lot of other things fall by the wayside. Your family life suffers under your excessive stress; your private life almost comes to a standstill. But mainly it is your health that suffers. It starts with sleep disorders and can lead all the way to full-blown insomnia. And, of course, this condition makes you feel drained the next day. You can’t concentrate, you suffer from unbearable headaches and your performance declines. Moreover, permanent mental and physical stress can lead to heart and vascular diseases and also to depression. Your life in the rat race eventually leads to burn-out. You’ve reached your limit.
What’s even worse: you often don’t notice that excessive demands are taking their toll on your health until it’s too late. In fact, you could have gotten out of the rat race in time had you not been entirely focused on yourself and your career. To get to the bottom of this predicament, thus, you should meticulously analyze your daily routine.
Do you get enough sleep? Or do you have trouble falling asleep because you’re tortured by thoughts revolving around your problems? – Thoughts that hound you into the night? Perhaps you are among those who are so tireless that you take your laptop to bed with you? And then you pop a few sleeping pills to finally fall asleep?
What role do regular meals play in your life? Do you eat a healthy meal – without time pressure – for lunch at the canteen or at a restaurant? Or do your listlessly devour a snack while staring into your PC? Do you consider breaks unnecessary because they disrupt the work flow? Do you usually get home much too late because you had to work overtime? Be honest with yourself: Are you able to unwind properly or does your work follow you all the way home? You probably turn on your computer as soon as you get home for fear of missing important emails that need to be answered immediately. And, obviously, you never shut your Smartphone off because you need to be reachable 24/7.
How about your leisure time? Do you allow yourself any time at all that is free of obligations, appointments and stress? When is the last time you went out and had fun with your friends? When is the last time you had some days off to relax? Do your thoughts revolve around work and your career when you are off work? Be honest: Are you able to shut off at all?
This merciless stock-taking of your daily routine may be painful – but it will show that change is urgently needed unless you accept that you are headed for burn-out. Opt out of the rat race and get some professional coaching.