Are you a hyper-achiever? Do you sometimes feel like being on the edge of burnout? Or have you experienced it already and are afraid you will do it to yourself again? I understand that you strive for excellence and constantly push yourself to reach new heights. It brings satisfaction and proves your value. However, even hyper-achievers need to take a breath from time to time. You are not a machine. The rest is not a sign of weakness or laziness but a crucial component of your well-being and sustained productivity.
First, understand your exhaustion.
Saundra Dalton-Smith, in her book “Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity”, identifies seven types of fatigue: physical, mental, emotional, social, sensory, creative and spiritual.
- Physical Fatigue: This is the most common type of fatigue that people are familiar with. It refers to the feeling of bodily exhaustion, often resulting from a packed agenda, inadequate rest, and sleep deprivation.
- Mental Fatigue: Mental fatigue is related to cognitive exhaustion and the strain on the mind. It can occur due to prolonged periods of concentration, excessive multitasking, information overload, or mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
- Emotional Fatigue: Emotional fatigue stems from overwhelming emotional stress or constant exposure to emotionally challenging situations. Relationship issues, grief, trauma, or prolonged emotional demands at work or in personal life can cause it.
- Social/Relational Fatigue: This type of fatigue pertains to exhaustion from challenging social environments or dysfunctional relationships. Conflicts, poor communication, excessive caregiving responsibilities, or the lack of healthy boundaries can cause it.
- Sensory Fatigue: Sensory fatigue arises when our senses are constantly overwhelmed or overstimulated, leading to exhaustion. It can be due to exposure to loud noises, bright lights, chaotic environments, or excessive screen time.
- Creative Fatigue: Creative fatigue appears due to creative thinking and constant problem-solving at work and home.
- Spiritual Fatigue: This type of fatigue occurs when there is a disconnect or neglect in nurturing one’s spiritual well-being. It may arise from a lack of meaning or purpose, feeling disconnected from one’s values or beliefs, or neglecting activities that bring a sense of spiritual renewal.
Time to take a break
Your energy is not a neverending resource. Without charging your batteries, you cannot expect your body and mind to function correctly. Look at your phone or a car: they connect you powerfully with the outside world and allow you to expand your horizons, but they also ask (in a demanding way!) for a power recharge. So follow their example and do the same for yourself to stay strong and capable.
Few apparent hints to recharge yourself
You need to shift your attention from work to rest and focus on relaxation. You can do it once you have more time, for example during the weekend. Here you go with some inspirations to introduce more rest in your life and respond to different types of tiredness:
- Physical Rest: Engage yourself in activities that promote physical rest, such as getting adequate sleep, taking breaks, and practising relaxation techniques. They will allow your body to recover, regenerate, and perform at its best.
- Mental Rest: Take a break from cognitive tasks, allowing your mind to unwind and recharge. You can achieve it through meditation, mindfulness exercises, or simply taking quiet moments to relax and clear your mind.
- Emotional Rest: Intense drive and high expectations can lead to emotional exhaustion. Emotional rest entails acknowledging and addressing your feelings and allowing yourself to experience and process emotions healthily. It might involve seeking support from loved ones, practising self-compassion, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment.
- Social Rest: Hyper-achievers tend to be highly engaged in social interactions, which can be draining over time. Social rest involves setting boundaries, prioritizing quality over quantity in your relationships, and taking time for yourself. Embracing solitude, engaging in hobbies, or spending time with people with whom you can be genuine, can help you recharge socially.
- Sensory Rest: Hyper-achievers often operate in demanding environments with constant stimulation. Sensory rest involves finding moments of peace and tranquillity away from excessive noise, bright lights, phone notifications and other sensory inputs. It can be as simple as relaxing in nature, soothing baths, or enjoying a quiet space.
- Creative Rest: Creative rest recognizes that your mind needs downtime to generate fresh ideas and inspiration. Dalton-Smith advises to “build sabbaticals into your life”. Engaging in activities unrelated to your work, exploring new interests or simply allowing yourself to daydream in your favourite cafeteria around the corner can replenish and boost your creativity.
- Spiritual Rest: Regardless of your beliefs, spiritual rest encompasses finding meaning and purpose beyond your achievements. It involves nurturing your spiritual side, connecting with your values, and engaging in practices that bring peace, gratitude, and fulfilment. You can achieve it through meditation, engaging with nature, or participating in activities aligning with your beliefs.
By embracing these seven types of rest, you can enhance your overall well-being, maintain sustainable productivity, and prevent burnout. Remember, rest is not a slowdown on the road to success but a vital ingredient for long-term growth and fulfilment. So, take the time to prioritize your rest and allow yourself to take a break.
Have you already planned your weekend relaxation?