About a month ago, I was on the verge of a burnout. I just kept feeling very fatigued – physically, mentally, emotionally. It just felt overwhelming. Everyone was quick to point out that it was my triathlon training that was wearing me down, but I realised it wasn’t so much of the physical. It was really more emotional/mental/psychological and even the things that I used to look forward to, disinterested me. I just felt very sian and blah all the time.
After I wrote that post, I went to Phuket for a week to train and I felt much, much better. All I did was just train, eat, sleep, shit, repeat. I didn’t have to deal with drama from people here, no cursing and swearing in city traffic, and I got to sleep about 10 hours each day.
That’s what I mean by – it’s not about the physical.
Back in Singapore now, I still don’t have the answers to some of my questions in life, but it’s ok. You don’t always have to have answers to everything. Most importantly, I managed to take a step back and now I can feel my energy coming back. I’m getting back the motivation in training again and I feel renewed! Also, I’m READY TO ROCK THE WORLD – are you ready for me, World? LOL.
So, how do you avoid getting into a near-burnout situation? How can you maintain your sanity while living in a crazy urban city like Singapore? Here are some methods I tried which worked for me:
1) Get enough sleep
I know we read this all the time and it’s also quite impossible to get enough sleep sometimes, with all the shit that you have to do. But I really mean it when I say – GET ENOUGH REST. I know sleep is a luxury and some people have problems even getting 4 hours of sleep a day. BUT…
Try sleeping by 10pm every night for a week and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night – you will feel amazing after that I swear.
It might mean becoming an anti-social and going home straight after work, it might mean having to re-negotiate with your superiors that you cannot take on extra work… but just for one week, try it. Just be selfish for a week and restore your sanity; it’s better than crashing and burning and being out for weeks.
2) Cut out negativity and unnecessary drama
If there’s something or someone in your life that’s creating a lot of drama which you don’t need at all (eg. picking a fight with you over a trivial matter), don’t be afraid to cut that person off. You know, most people tend to remember that one mistake yo made and forget about all the things you have done for them before.
You don’t need to have a reaction to everything. Even if they are saying something you didn’t do, or saying something that you’re not, just let it go. The most powerful thing sometimes, is just to say nothing at all. I used to hate being misunderstood and I will fight in my defence to make sure I explain myself, but I’ve since learnt that it’s ok. It’s gonna be tough to feel wronged, but it’s fine, really.
I always ask myself these 3 questions – Will you lose sleep? Will you lose money? Will your health be affected? If the answer is no to all 3 questions, then move on.
3) Learn not to invest too much emotions into things/people
The reason why we tend to feel like shit at times, is because we attach too much emotion to something or someone. We hold expectations, of the friendship for example, so when it doesn’t quite go the way we thought it should, we get major upset. I don’t know how to say this without sounding too cold-blooded, but just look out for yourself. Of course, I will do anything for good friends… but what I’m saying is, don’t spread yourself too thin over too many “good friends”.
4) Take a solo trip/staycation
It’s always best to get away alone, by yourself. You might get bored here and there, but you will feel better…even if you’re on Whatsapp the whole time bitching with everyone. LOL. If you can’t get away from work or home for too long, try a staycation? Just go book a hotel at Sentosa or Changi or somewhere not near your office/home and CHILL.
5) Give yourself 10-15 min (or more) every day to DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Sometimes, the day can get so crazy that you can’t even find these 10 minutes for yourself. But TRY. Maybe take a longer shower? Sit on the toilet bowl longer while having your dump? Don’t talk to anyone during this pocket of Me time, don’t reply emails… just scroll Instagram/Facebook or just stare at the ceiling. Peace out basically.
6) Watch a bimbo show
We use our brains so much during the day to think and think and think, so don’t go and give yourself another headache by watching some cheem (Hokkien for profound) show that requires some thinking. For me, watching Drop Dead Diva on Netflix was what I needed. It’s so bimbotic and many things didn’t make sense, but it worked for me.
7) Keep a little bit of exercise in your routine
When you become stressed or overwhelmed, exercise may be one of the last things you wanna do. You rather just take a hot shower and then flop on the bed and disappear under the covers. Yes, you might not be able to find time to keep to your usual 3-times-a-week runs or gym sessions, but getting a sweat session in just once a week will help. Even if it’s just 10 min of burpees in the living room.
Conversely, don’t go crazy and work out everyday when you’re stressed. Overdoing it will kill you too.
8) Allow yourself to indulge in comfort food
A bit of chocolate or ice cream won’t hurt. Forget the diet for now ok? You’re fighting to keep sane, so just take that bar of chocolate. But that’s it ok? Just one bar, not one box 😉
9) Step back a little from your responsibilities (only if you can)
Yes, only if you can. Get someone to look after your kid for a day, get someone at work to cover for you… just for a short time so you can be you for a while. Getting lost in your daily responsibilities can be very frustrating, as you just go through the routines like a robot. Take time off and find yourself.
10) Go buy something for yourself
It doesn’t have to be a big-ticket item, but make yourself happy. It could be a new pair of shoes, a book or that crazy pair of Hello Kitty cycling socks that cost $30. Just pamper yourself for once ok?