Feeling chronically fatigued, overwhelmed, irritable and can barely find the motivation to tackle the rest of your to-do list this month of the year? That sounds like a classic case of end-of-year burnout. We speak to Yong from Ora about how to manage burnout as we move into December.
End-of-year burnout can creep up on you quickly! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this is an occupational phenomenon “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." It’s the sense of so near, yet so far – the same feeling you might get as a hobble towards the finish line of a 12-month long marathon…
Whether you're a student preparing for exams, an entrepreneur striving to meet year-end targets or someone juggling the many social commitments are popping up every day, burnout can cast a shadow on the festive mood. However, with a mindful approach and the right tools, it's possible to emerge on the other side feeling refreshed and ready for the new year.
Self-care is not a luxury but a necessity, especially during high-stress periods – and this does not always mean splurging on a visit to an expensive spa (although if you can, why not?).
The most crucial form of self-care involves going right back to the foundations of health and wellbeing. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, nourish your body with a balanced diet and do some form of physical exercise daily.
But most importantly, set healthy boundaries between work and life. Even if it’s only a few minutes, take some time each day for yourself, whether it’s a 20-minute bath or a walk around the neighbourhood after dinner.
Use Time Management Techniques
The enormity of year-end tasks can be overwhelming, so managing your time effectively is a skill that can significantly reduce the sense of overwhelm around your to-do list.
Try the Pomodoro Technique, which involves breaking your work into 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by 5-minute breaks, and a longer 30-minute break after 4 rounds of this. Not only will this make your tasks less daunting, it will also prevent mental exhaustion and improve the quality of your work.
Embrace Mindfulness Practices
Incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine helps to cultivate a sense of calm and clarity. Meditation, deep breathing exercises and mindful walks can help you stay grounded amidst the year-end frenzy.
These practices help to reduce stress and enhance your ability to focus on the present moment – a concept known as mindfulness. This is powerful tool for managing stress in the long-run and preventing burnout by fostering a resilient and balanced mindset.
Eat the Right Foods
Food is medicine. The right foods can support your immune system, boost your mood and improve gut health – all of which take a beating when you’re experiencing chronic stress and burnout.
Eat a whole food diet, aiming to hit 5 servings of vegetables a day. Vegetables contain lots of important antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that support your immune system during times of stress.
Make sure to also include lots of healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and seeds in your diet which are known to boost mood and cognition, as well as fermented foods like coconut yoghurt and sauerkraut to improve digestion and gut health.
If you find it difficult to get enough vegetables in your diet, a greens powder like Organic Greens Superpowder+ is an easy way to boost your vegetable intake. It also contains pre- and probiotics to improve digestion and even adaptogens that help with managing stress.
Support Your Stress with Adaptogens
While a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition are key, you may sometimes need additional help to manage your stress levels. Adaptogens are a class of plants that are known to help the body adapt to stress by bringing the various hormones (including cortisol, the stress hormone) back to a balanced state. By improving how your body responds to stress, you not only improve your mood but also many other aspects of health, including immunity and sleep.
My favourite adaptogenic herbs are Lemon balm and Ashwagandha which promote relaxation and help reduce stress levels. That’s why we created our delicious stress-relieving Mag3 Mood, which combines both these herbs with three bioavailable forms of magnesium and Cordyceps mushroom in a zesty, refreshing drink.
Reflect and Reset
As the year comes to a close, set aside some the time to reflect on the past year. Acknowledge your successes, regardless of their scale, identify areas for growth and use this reflection as a foundation for setting realistic goals and intentions for the upcoming year. This process not only provides closure but also propels you forward with a sense of purpose and direction.
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