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Beat the Burn-Out and Work, Happy

Sunday, March 26, 2017

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Written by Katelyn Gilmore

The Centre for Business and Student Expertise (CBaSE) put on a free interactive panel discussion titled “Work Happy” on Thursday March 23rd about how to manage stress and avoiding physical/mental burnout. The panel included Jean Thompson, a wellness educator at the University of Guelph, Jonathan Knowles, a local and successful entrepreneur, and Donna Lero, a family relation and applied nutrition professor at the University of Guelph. Here is an overview of the wisdom the panel has shared about beating burnout, especially helpful now as the semester draws to a close and the deadlines are piling up.

1)       Prioritize Nutrition & Fitness

When busy, it’s easy to let nutrition and fitness slide. However, the panel emphasized that when you do so, you won’t have the energy needed to accomplish everything you set out to in a day. For healthy living tips, see our article here.

2)      Prioritize Financial Fitness

Money is one of the biggest causes of stress, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating and sticking to a realistic monthly budget is not as daunting as it sounds, promise! Once you form healthy financial habits, money is just one less thing to worry about.

3)      Learn to Say No

Sometimes it is just not possible to do everything asked of you, and that’s ok! For those who have a hard time saying no, suggest someone else that would be a great fit for the job, offer another time that works better for you, or offer taking a smaller role in the project.

4)      Surround Yourself with Positive People

The panel emphasized having an encouraging support system instead of toxic friends. Frankly, over-complainers will only bring you down and waste time that could have been used tackling the very jobs they were complaining about. The more you entertain them, the easier it is to be swept up in their distracting negativity.

5)      Try Changing Your Work Environment

Sometimes a change in scenery is all it takes to buckle down and focus. Exhibit A – the 6 study floors of McLaughlin Library. Make the switch from doing school work at home (i.e. watching Netflix with a nearby textbook open) to doing school work in the library. You’ll be amazed at how much more you will accomplish in a shorter amount of time. The panel also suggested taking it a step further and changing your line of work altogether if necessary! A tell-tale sign that you should make the change is that if something continually and negatively distracts you from being present in the moment. So, if you are not ultimately fulfilled in a job, career, or other lifestyle choice long-term, then it’s important to recognize it’s time to leave it behind and try something new.

6)      Work with Your Stress, Not Against It

Try shifting your mindset from stress as a negative response to stress being something that motivates you. It might sound easier said than done, but a change in mindset can really go a long way and help cut procrastination. Also, remember that stress is always temporary and change is the only constant.

7)      Find Your Own Way

Lastly, one of the greatest take-aways from the discussion was recognizing that everyone will find their own ways of dealing with stress, and that’s ok. For example, research has shown that multi-tasking is not usually successful, but some are better at it than others. People are generally divided into night-owls or morning birds, so are more productive at different times of the day. Some people might find it easier to do the most daunting thing off the to-do list first, while others may find motivation in accomplishing more smaller tasks first. The point is, play around with strategies that work for you, and stick with them.

Try out these tips and share any you have in the comment section below. Believe it or not, but work and happiness do not have to be antonyms. 

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