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Relentless hours impact high performance

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

Many of us are on the brink of burnout…. close to exhaustion daily, no longer able to enjoy life and constantly overwhelmed.

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We know that exercise, good sleep, good food, time for our hobbies, time with friends, meditation, laughter, proper time off to name a few, are essential for a good life, good health and preventing burnout.

Since coming back out of lockdown I’ve noticed a trend. All those things we swore we’d never do again are back and worse than ever. We promised we’d make the time for each other. We swore that we’d take time out in nature and never ever take that stillness and calm for granted again.

What I am seeing more and more of in the past few months is people cramming things into the day.

Working longer hours, meeting up with people more often, going out more and essentially making up for lost time. This is all great and understandable, but what is obvious is that people are getting to a state of burnout, trying to do too much in shorter pieces of time. This is not sustainable.

As the well-trodden quote goes: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness”.

This isn’t to scaremonger, but it is about looking up and taking stock of what’s important, and making the time for yourself and your well-being.

Working harder, constantly “on”, checking emails, answering calls, running from meeting to meeting - does this sound like you right now? It's pretty joyless, right? The impact that this relentless style of living and working has on health, stress levels, energy, eating habits, relationships, in fact life in general, is enormous.

WORK LIFE BALANCE

Many of us are working like this and it seems that the new norm is to be working all through our waking hours. The concept of work/life/balance or the newer work life integration, was surely meant to reflect that we could do work anywhere thanks to technology, however for many of us, it has meant that we do our work everywhere for much of our waking hours, far longer than is healthy. Many of us are on the brink of burnout, skating a thin line between being always on and absolute body and mind exhaustion. I hold to account organisations which think that this is how ‘high performance’ translates itself, they have a huge gap of understanding to close, starting with how to reflect a more modern progressive true high performance culture which places people’s well-being as the most important strategic priority.

Relentless hours are not conducive to high performance, good leadership skills, being able to think clearly, being empathic or having good decision-making skills - working like this blunts all of our leadership characteristics and will eventually lead down the road to ill health and burnout.

Burnout is very hard to come back from. Mental and physical health can be seriously adversely effected when the body is burnt out, but even if it doesn’t get to that, that’s no way to live and work. So what you can do to find time for some personal strategies and habits to protect you from burnout and to have a more fulfilling engaged life with a decent work life balance?

Rather than dumping all the good habits to keep you healthy and well, find time every day for things which will help you to look after your health - physical and mental.

Breath work

My good friends at Nave Yoga often practice two-minute breath work. Perhaps you could take some classes to learn how to connect with your breath?

Outdoors

Take 10 minutes outdoors, away from the desk, this will help to rejuvenate the mind. Preferably longer but sometimes the deadlines are looming. We are blessed here in Killarney with trails to walk, use them!

​​​​​​​Lunch

Reclaim lunch and have a screen free eating break

Constantly working through lunch is a recipe for lacklustre job performance, low energy for life and work, plus is pretty damn depressing. Many of us eat in front of our computers during lunch. This keeps cortisol pushed up and will exacerbate feelings of stress. Take even 15 minutes to eat without keeping your screen open and you will help reduce stress in the body.

Exercise

Daily exercise is essential for our overall health and well-being. When it’s mad at work, try not to dump the exercise, perhaps get up 15 minutes earlier and do a short workout at home. Can you get out to exercise a few evenings a week?

Good sleep habits

Close your devices an hour before sleep and set them aside.

These are just short term strategies – in the end you need to have proper rest and down time, there is just no other way to be happy and healthy and ensure you can buffer the effects of stress in the body.

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30 years of Innisfallen Island MassThe annual special concelebrated Mass on Innisfallen Island takes place next week.

Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm. Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by […]

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Next Friday (June 21), members of the public are invited to attend the Mass taking place at 6.30pm.

Now in its 30th year, the Mass was originally an idea by Geoffrey O’Donoghue who sadly died four years after it began.

“There was an Augustinian Monastery on Innisfallen Island and the people, including priests and monks and they say Brian Boro, went out there to study. The lake, Lough Lein is called ‘The Lake of Learning’,” said his wife Mary who carries on the tradition in his memory.

“My husband Geoffrey was a descendent of the O’Donoghues and he wanted to have Mass on the island. The O’Donoghues built Ross Castle and owned the lands and the lake surrounding it which was later donated by John McShane to the people of Killarney. He [Geoffrey] asked one of the friars and one day he got a call from the OPW that there would be a plaque unveiled to John McShane and they asked if the Mass could coincide with it. It was attended by Sr Pauline, John McShane’s daughter.”

She added that all the public are welcome to attend. Boats, which will have a nominal fee to cover their costs, will be carrying passengers out from 4pm onwards.

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Photo of “hidden gem” wins Camera Club’s latest competition

A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition. Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the […]

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A photograph of one of Killarney’s hidden beauty spots was deemed the winner of Killarney Camera Club’s most recent competition.

Th standard was high throughout all categories but in the Novice category, Iryna Halaieva’s photograph of O’Sullivan’s Cascade was deemed the winner.

“A waterfall is my favourite waterbody and long exposure is my favourite photographic technique,” she said. “I do my best to have as many waterfalls as possible in my photo collection. I heard a lot about O’Sullivan’s Cascade and wanted to visit that hidden gem of Kerry. So, shortly before our club competition I went with a friend to Tomies Wood to photograph it. It was a dream come true for me.”

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