Here’s how to renew your energy this holiday season



Many South Africans are currently concerned about the energy crisis and the impact of load shedding on the economy. Of even greater concern is the global trend of burnout and low energy levels in the workforce.

When I talk to leaders and managers, there are a few words that keep coming up in conversations and they are: “fatigue / burnout / burnout”.

This is not surprising.

Many of us started 2022 in survival mode; still recovering from the challenges and changes brought about by the pandemic. This year we were expected to bring our best, but in reality… many were still recovering and adjusting to what the new world of work will be like.

Fast forward to now

Burnout is a global concern. It refers to feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion. It is an increase in mental distance from work, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to work and a reduction in professional efficiency.

A new study by Asana looked at more than 10,000 knowledge workers in seven countries and found that roughly 70% of people experienced burnout in the past year.

Burnout is hard on people and it hurts businesses too. According to Asana’s study, when people experience burnout, they are more likely to have lower morale (36% of people), be less engaged (30%), make more mistakes (27%) and communicate badly (25%). They are also more likely to leave the company (25%).

Another study by Deloitte, Workplace Intelligence research, found that 47% of employees have quit in the past when a job negatively affected their well-being, and 57% are considering quitting to find a role that better supports your well-being.

Preparing for the December holidays

As we look back on a year full of challenges and disappointments, you might expect this holiday season to be an essential opportunity to renew your energies. As a leadership coach, I call it high performance: Corporate athletes.

They understand the importance of balancing stress (energy expenditure) with recovery (energy renewal). They too need the time and energy to rest and, more importantly, rest well.

Also read: What is burnout and how to prevent it in the workplace: insights from the clinical psychologist

How you take care of your body has a huge impact on your ability to perform under pressure.

To be effective at work, we must first ensure that we have the energy to make an impact.

Here are some practical ideas to revive your spark and energy levels during the holidays.

  1. go outside

If you do go, make the most of the hiking trails in your destination. Stay at home? Get your hands dirty and work in your garden.

The holidays are a great time to naturally boost your brain’s neurotransmitters. Spending time in nature and getting a good dose of vitamin D can naturally increase these neurotransmitters.

  1. Make sleep a priority

It’s very tempting to burn the candle at both ends during the holiday season. Holiday schedules can be busy and nights in with family and friends are part of the fun. However, if you’re serious about your energy recovery, it’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to ensure your body can function optimally when you return to work.

Post-vacation fatigue is a real thing, so let’s make sure you “don’t need a vacation after your vacation.” So, take those naps!

  1. Laughter is still the best medicine

Nothing works faster to restore balance to mind and body than a good laugh. Be intentional about creating opportunities for laughter.

Organize a game night with friends, watch a funny movie or play with your pet. Remember that smiling is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it is contagious. So it could even just be to give a quick smile to a stranger in the grocery line in front of you.

  1. What is your time worth?

Time is the currency of your vacation (and your life), so spend it wisely. Be intentional about what you spend your time on.

An easy tool to determine if something is worth your time, start by getting a number (rand value) of what an hour of your time is worth. One tip is to make your value comfortable. Now, you can calculate how much it costs you to scroll through social media or watch a Netflix series.

You may find that taking care of your health, preparing nutritious meals, paying attention to your spouse, or doing things for others is a better return on your investment of time.

Slower and smoother

Yes, for some of us the holiday season is chaotic and can be stressful. It’s tempting to do it all, and the feeling of being out of control can feel overwhelming. We don’t have to rush everywhere.

We often overlook the importance of getting the basics in place. You can spend hours looking for, making or wrapping gifts. Create a few simple holiday rituals for your family. Be there for your loved one to find perfect things.

Also Read: Big Resignations from 4-Day Work Weeks: How Workplace Culture Changed in 2022

On another note, are you worried that you might struggle to deal with annoying energy-guzzling tourists, in-laws or neighbours? It is not the behavior of others that causes your discomfort, but the story you tell yourself about their behavior that leads to your feeling.

Do you want to regain your peace? Consider what story you tell yourself about their behavior and think about when you have also displayed a similar type of behavior. This will help you move from judgment to acting in a more civil manner.

When you get back to work…

  1. Search and create meaning

Research has shown the power of spending time away from work to increase job satisfaction. Ironically, people tend to perceive more joy at work when they are happier with their activities outside of work.

What does “work” mean to you? Is it that you can create a quality life so that you and your family can live and experience what life has to offer, or is it “living to work”?

It is important to note that no job is perfect. There will always be aspects of a job that you like more than others, and that’s okay. It’s normal to go through ups and downs in your level of job satisfaction.

Also Read: Big Resignations from 4-Day Work Weeks: How Workplace Culture Changed in 2022

Boundaries in your workplace may be easier to maintain once you’ve done some introspection about how you view work.

2. Find a thought partner or mentor

When you feel stuck or when your stress level rises, make sure you have a confidante you trust. Sometimes you need a fellow thinker who can hear your side without judgment, to give you the space to be heard.

You might even consider combining exercise with a “vent buddy” and organizing a hiking club to keep cortisol levels in check. Be sure to journal these activities to support the habit forming activity, otherwise months will go by without a session.

Mentoring can also be a powerful tool to enhance your career. Be sure to schedule monthly sessions with your coach or mentor to ensure consistency and follow through on your personal growth action plan.

  1. Book your next leave

Plan shorter, more meaningful breaks throughout the year to recover and regroup your energy levels. Studies show that people who take days off are more productive, engaged and more likely to be loyal.

What is your next planned event that you are excited about? Maybe you’ve always wanted to go camping with the family in the fall, or maybe you want to do the Otter Trail. It could also just be to be at home with the kids during the March school holidays.

Don’t wait until next December to book your permit.

Stress and burnout can’t be managed if you don’t prioritize your own rest. But most importantly, we should be able to take time off without suffering consequences or taking a leave with debt. According to a study, it takes an average of 14 days to prepare and recover from a week’s vacation!

  1. Do you feel like everything is getting too much? Talk to your manager

We need to be able to talk about mental health at work. We are entering 2023, and after the pandemic, exhaustion and throwing up your hand is not a sign of weakness. In the Microsoft Worktrends report, it was learned that the reasons why 41% of employees wanted to leave their jobs were unmanageable workloads and a lack of empathy from their employers.

Also read: A guideline to overcome stress caused by the workplace

Start by talking to your boss if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, talk to your HR department to see what kind of assistance is available.

In conclusion

One of my favorite quotes is from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, “People are like stained glass. They sparkle and shine when the sun rises, but when darkness sets in, their beauty is only revealed if there is a light from within.”

The holidays are an ideal opportunity for you to rest well and have energy to face 2023 head on. The key is to find what really lights you up. Be intentional about understanding what creates your flow, for example, any activity that causes you to lose track of time.

Being in the zone is a biological phenomenon that releases dopamine. I encourage you to allow yourself a well-deserved break without being in uninterrupted flow from work.

Anja van Beek is an agile talent strategist, leadership and human resources expert and executive coach.

  • This article originally appeared on Moneyweb and has been republished with permission. Read the original here.

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