We’ve all heard the stories about how important it is to sleep 7-9 hours a night, avoid work when we’re sick, eat healthily, etc. But what happens when you simply have to put in a 60-hour work week? How do you manage those tasks, especially when you have to take care of more than just yourself? Here are some suggestions to help you avoid burnout when an extra-busy work schedule seems to be part of the norm.
Wait, didn’t we just confirm that you frequently have 60-hour work weeks? Admittedly, it may sound contradictory, but taking regular, short breaks allow you to focus more completely when you do work. Set a timer for five minutes to take a break every 30-60 minutes, even if it’s simply getting up to walk down to the bathroom and do a few stretches.
This means drinking lots of water, which helps both body and mind. In fact, nutrition expert Shereen Lehman, author of When Do You Need to Drink More Water?, says taking a water break can help you concentrate. On the other end of that, avoid too much caffeine (which again seems contradictory when working long hours). Yet drinking excessive caffeine can cause gastrointestinal problems, so limit your intake.
Give yourself a day.
No matter how busy you may feel, how much pressure you’re under, you owe yourself at least one day a week work-free. You cannot, nor should you, attempt to work seven days of the week with no break without suffering both personally and professionally from burn-out. You need time to rest and get refreshed so you’re ready for the work week.
Contrary to what most of us manage, experts advise an average of eight hours of sleep a night. If that very statement has you snorting with laughter, do what you can to get as close to that as possible. Lack of sleep affects you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Also try to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every single day, throwing in a 15-20-minute naps as needed.
If you already have a routine in place, do what you can to stick to it. Exercise helps alleviate some of the stress of working all those hours, so get it in when you can, even in short bursts. If you can manage ten minutes before work, ten during lunch, and ten after work, you’ve got 30 minutes under your belt, helping you stay healthy.
While a 60-hour work week may make you feel that you simply don’t have time for anything but the basics of eating, working, and sleeping, you need to carve out a little time to spend time with loved ones, read a book, watch a show, etc. Otherwise you’ll never truly give yourself a break from the daily grind.
Avoid junk food.
A busy work week will make you feel as though you don’t have time for actual cooking, and we all know a vending machine or the gas station have quick options that will satisfy your sweet or salty stress cravings. But a little planning can help you eat more healthily. Most grocery stores carry rotisserie chicken, and as long as you don’t dress it, a big salad can last for a few days. Put the two together, and you’ve got a healthy meal. Hard boiled eggs make a quick and easy protein source, too.
Let your day/night preferences work for you.
If you’re a night owl, see if you can possibly schedule yourself for a later start and end to your work day, or vice-versa. If not, use your early or late time for yourself (like that exercise, down time, or meal prep).
Working long hours can seem like a slog, but you can make the best of it. If you want to find a job that still works for you but has you working fewer hours, visit the experts at PrideStaff.