*This article was written by Udemy instructor Gregory Caremans.
Picture this: You’re putting on running shoes to blow off steam after a particularly stressful day. You haven’t exercised since the last time you felt stressed, about a month ago. After jogging a few miles, you feel refreshed and tell yourself, “I need to do this more often.”
This is called the firefighter approach to managing stress; you wait until you’re stressed out to do something about it. We’ve all been there or at least experienced some version of it. The more sustainable approach to combating stress is to follow through with the “I need to do this more often” mantra. Maintaining stress-relief habits even when you don’t feel stressed builds resilience so when you do face a stressful situation, you won’t be as affected as you would be otherwise.
Let’s face it: we all hit the wall sometimes. Our inboxes are overflowing, our calendars are packed, and the chat messages won’t stop. But burnout is not a sustainable state of being. Learning and teaching are both awesome ways to recharge because they engage your mind and motivate you to keep going. Sure, binging on Netflix and lying in the sun both have their merits, but if you want more than just a temporary respite from burnout, you’re better off keeping your brain active and fit.
Even though we know it’s bad for us, American workers can’t seem to give ourselves a break. Too many of us still buy into “hustle culture” and try to burn the candle at both ends. It’s no surprise we’re suffering from burnout at epidemic rates. My company’s research found nearly half (47%) of workers surveyed reported feeling burned out; the figure rose to 53% among millennials and Gen Z.
If you’re one of the many burnout sufferers, you might daydream about ditching it all to surf all day. Fortunately, there are more realistic approaches to combating burnout that don’t gobble up all your vacation time or risk your job security.