Often stress and burnout are words that we use to describe our current life and we can even associate or blame our work for these conditions. That certainly might be true because work demands are more likely to exceed what is actually possible, for example a client demanding the impossible at very short notice, a new product being launched, or your colleague is on leave and you’re covering for them. It honestly isn’t difficult in this day and age to feel overwhelmed, anxious and out of control in balancing life’s demands. We know it isn’t good for us because our health suffers, our emotions are all over the show, our productivity is not great and not to mention our relationships take strain. We are all fully aware of what the costs of stress and burnout are, but we cross our fingers and hope that one day it will all work out somehow. But it doesn’t and it won’t until you decide to take control of your life!

We need to say “STOP, that is enough”. We need to draw the boundaries, learn to say NO and to manage our life. If we don’t others will manage it for us and that’s precisely why we end up being burnt out. It is easier said than done and you may think that I don’t understand, but trust me I do and I had to learn the very hard way. There comes a point where either your body resigns and forces you to your knees, or a cherished relationship ends. I know we all think we are immortal and that we will be spared!

So, what is the way forward? Well, firstly you have to decide what to scale down on, pass onto others or start to re-negotiate deadlines. You know best and will know what takes away from your time and drains you. Gently begin to change that. Reduce your work demands by say 10% which might equate to two hours, but hey it’s two hours more to do things that you value and that are good for you.

Secondly, learn to say NO and understand that NO is not towards a particular person but rather the given task. It could be “NO, not now but next week” or “NO, this work is better done by Moses, because he is naturally good at it”. No, means you need to question if this is actually your job and responsibility. We often don’t question, we just accept like law-abiding citizens

Thirdly, think about the role model you are setting for you colleagues, peers, friends and children. Are you demonstrating that life and especially work life is difficult, draining and exhausting? How motivating is that and how can you effectively lead and inspire others if you can’t lead yourself?

Trust me I know how difficult this journey is, but if you put your mind to it, get focused and start by taking baby steps, you will lead a healthier, more abundant and happier life!