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One of the biggest dangers to your success is the feeling of being burnt out. You could do all of these things perfectly:
- Make plans.
- Set Goals.
- Methodically approach every situation.
- Think out and overcome obstacles.
- Network well.
- Even earn a bunch of money.
You could easily accomplish all of those things, and still fail by becoming burnt out. What good is it to accomplish all of the goals you’ve set before you just to come out completely burnt out, and completely unhappy? What is the answer to this: just relax.
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The Dangers of Workaholicism
Usually, I’m a pretty laid back person who just likes to laugh, but there are certain things, such as this website, where I’m a workaholic. Many Americans like to wear the workaholic designation as a badge of honor, but it can be extremely destructive if not controlled.
I can literally spend hours writing posts, researching topics, adding new plugins, and trying to make the experience the best it can be, but at a point it can be very bad as well. Do you think the top investors 24 hours a day stressing? I’m sure they spend a good portion of their time doing that, but they relax as well.
Even President Obama gets chided by the media for taking too many golfing trips and vacation getaways. Because of this, I have to force myself to stop. I have to set times for when I need to put everything down, even if I have just one more thing left to do.
This is still a work in progress, but I’m working on it actively! But enough of that for now, we’ll discuss methods later on in this article.
How Can Relaxation Help
The best way to tackle your tasks is with a fresh, worry-free mind. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my best when I’ve got a huge burden weighing on me. In fact, I seem to have trouble focusing on anything other than the burden. Many people who know me personally might be surprised to find out that I’m actually a workaholic when it comes to certain things.
Relaxation loosens you up. It clears your head, and allows you to untangle that mess of wires that are your brain. A clear mind helps you to prioritize things, because you aren’t as emotionally caught up in one or two of the items. Most importantly, relaxation allows you to realize what is actually important, and it helps you to enjoy the present rather than worry.
The hardest part about relaxation is to understand that you’re not wasting time. Whatever you do to relax, it is important to not spend the whole time thinking about how you’re “wasting your time” and don’t think about all the work you have to do after you’re done relaxing; it defeats the purpose.
Relaxation: How To Relax
I know this might seem silly, but when your nerves are all tangled up like the cables behind your TV, figuring out how to relax can seem like a daunting task. Which kind of makes relaxing, unrelaxing. Here are some ideas to get your relaxation juices flowing.
I know this is easier said than done, but to start relaxing, you have to stop working. Quit thinking of all of the stuff you have to do, stop writing to-do lists, stop trying to solve problems, and quit trying to save the world. If you don’t relax, you’ll do poorly at all of these other tasks.
Knives aren’t sharp because you use them all the time, they get dull with use. You have to stop at some point, and take the time to sharpen it. Your mind is the same way. You can’t just plow your way through all of your work and expect it to be of the highest quality. You have to relax a bit and come back to it.
Get More Sleep or Get Better Sleep
This one is so extremely obvious, but everyone seems to fail at it. Lack of sleep is detrimental to performance. If you don’t sleep well, or enough, then you won’t be at your peak the next day. There are many reasons for a lack of sleep, and we won’t go over many of them, but there are some very interesting studies that link our electronics to our lack of sleep. Read further to learn more.
Turn Off Screens
If it has a screen, turn it off. Some people love to “unwind” in front of the TV, but it keeps your brain thinking. There are more studies being performed that indicate a link between lack of good sleep and the glow from our electronic gadgets. It’s very possible that your iPad is making you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
Being outside lowers stress levels. Maybe it is being in sunlight, maybe it is the fresh air, maybe it is the sounds, or maybe it is a combination of them all, but being outside lowers stress. Lots of studies are still trying to figure out the connections, but it works. Look at the calendars that all of our cubicle dwelling friends have pinned up. They tend to be of beautiful scenic views from around the world.
If you want to relieve some stress, then go outside. Maybe it is the beach, or a breath-taking mountain view that you need, but I believe that being outside in any place is stress reliever when compared to the dull glow of fluorescent lights while sitting in a cubicell (yes, I did mean cubicell).
Listen To Relaxing Sounds and Relaxing Music
This might just be me, but I really enjoy listening to relaxing sounds and music. I love classical music, and I love sounds from nature. I also like those really neat mashups of classical music with sounds of nature super-imposed over it. Put this on the MP3 player and send me outside and I’ll be peachy for the next month!
There are a lot of resources out there for finding this music. You can either download MP3s from Amazon, Wal-mart, or if you’re not too ashamed, you can go to the home decor area of many stores and find those compilations. I know we’ve all thought “who buys these?” But it’s OK to be hypocritical, I was!
Spend Time With Family
Depending on your family, this could be a good or bad method. If you genuinely enjoy spending time with your family, then set your work aside and make a real commitment to quality time. No computers, no texting, really give your family your time and you’ll probably not regret it.
If you’re like many people, exercise sounds like the least relaxing thing ever, but you would be wrong. This article from the Mayo Clinic informs us of some of the stress relieving benefits of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins (feely-goody chemicals) which helps to relieve stress.
Exercise also helps us to feel better about our physical appearance and makes us feel better overall. If you’re carrying an undesirable amount of belly fat, this can cause or make you more susceptible to:
- Back Problems
- Heart disease
- and countless other health issues.
Doesn’t that sound stressful also? Then add on all of the medications you’ll have to remember, and the doctor visits and the stresses just snowball from there.
Relaxation Can Create Success
If you associate relaxation with being lazy, then you’re of the wrong mindset and headed for disaster. Without relaxation, you are only disadvantaging yourself, and the job you’re trying to do. You can’t be at your best, you can’t be as efficient, and you won’t be as happy if you’re stressed.
To be completely honest, you might even get burnt out to the point of failure. What is the point of accomplishing your goals if you end up being completely burnt out, uninspired, and unhappy? If that is the end result, then isn’t it better to just be unhappy with your current situation and not invest all of the time and effort to end up where you’re currently at?
Do Not Be A Sloth
The flip side to all of this is to ensure that relaxing isn’t all you do. It’s hard to be at our most productive when we spend all of our time laying on beaches. If you want to accomplish your goals, then you need to strike a balance between work and relaxation. Neither should have a monopoly on your time or the results will be disastrous.