If you’re feeling exhausted and overworked, you’re not alone. According to a new study reported on BMJ Journals’ website, job burnout’s on the rise: 97 percent of participants reported nonrestorative sleep and 23 percent indicated high levels of job strain.
Plus, according to the CDC, up to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders. In fact, they call insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. Further to that point, sleep weakens the immune system, impairs memory, not to mention learning and can exasperate a variety of disorders from depression to diabetes, even cancer and early death.
As it relates to the world of work, last year RAND Corporation published a study revealing the business loss of poor sleep in America to the tune of $411 billion. (Yes, you read that right – billion). In addition to lost dollars, there’s a whole lot of lost shut eye as we keep technology in our back pocket (and sometimes under our pillows at night – if that’s you, we’re not judging).
Plus, think about the differences between going on a job interview well rested versus sleep deprived – productivity on a job interview plummets in the latter scenario, then of course it’s typically coupled with more caffeine than usual, followed by an abundance of sugar.
Well, the more you start incorporating slight changes on a daily basis, the easier it will be to follow through with implementing them the night before a big job interview or presentation at the office.
It’s never too late to change your habits to reduce burn out and become more mindful and restful – your health and your employer (future ones, too!) will thank you for it.
1. Charge your phone outside your bedroom. “It’s a portal to every distraction in your life,” says Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time, CEO of Thrive Global, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, at a recent New York Women in Communications’ event. If you have insomnia, roll over, don’t be tempted to check messages (and whatever you do, definitely don’t answer them and hit send!)
2. Only read books in bed. As in real ones. “They shouldn’t have screens,” Huffington points out. Plus, they shouldn’t be work-related. As you wind down from a busy day, much like children create a transition with a bath and then a bed time story, you too should create a ritual to unwind and commit to reading books with old school, you know, pages.
3. Start the day with a clear head. On the flip side, when each morning begins a new day, start it with a clean slate. During a recent trip to Quebec City, at Le Monastère des Augustines, a hotel and wellness spa, there was something unfamiliar and downright refreshing about eating breakfast in its restaurant full of local, organic, nourishing food. That is, pure silence. Although a few couples looked uneasy, clearly attempting to communicate with one another via eye contact, overall there was something pretty spectacular about this ritual when I kept it simple by thinking about the day ahead, methodically and un-rushed, ensconced in silence.
4. Do yoga or meditate. Another way to clear your head and reduce burnout? Stretch. During that quick getaway trip from New York City, I managed to get out of bed by 7 a.m. on a holiday to participate in one of the hotel’s movement and wellness activities. Doing light stretches among a bilingual instructed class meant I could happily zone out at that hour. Being in touch with the physical somehow makes room for mental space, thoughts, brainstorms and overall rebooting. The same holds true midday if you need to clear your head. Instead of grabbing a Snickers bar, go for a walk instead. That’s the key – being mindful before it reaches the point of an overt frazzled state when you need to abruptly exert energy by strutting away with gusto, rather than calm, peace and serenity. There’s more power in the latter, technically.
5. Schedule monthly mental health days (and truly log off!). As much as we like to think we’re indispensable, really we’re not. Your company will not implode during your eight or 10-hour absence (or more — yes you need to take vacations! Then, there’s the money factor, too. According to Project: Time Off, last year Americans wasted over $658 million vacation days! But alas, that’s a whole other blog post…)
Be diligent about taking at least one day out of the month for you. Ideally it would occur during the week but even if it’s on a weekend, take one day and go to a nearby park and read a book, take a nap, unplug.
Chances are, not only will you feel more relaxed as a result, when you return to work the next business day, you’ll feel more refreshed, engaged and creative. Hopefully your employer espouses wellness as part of their company culture as well – if not, you know what to do – find one that does.
This article originally appeared on huffingtonpost.com