Do you hit a wall this time of year and struggle to find motivation to get through the midway point of the year? For some people (the lucky ones), this time of year is no different from any other time of the year, but for others, the middle of the year can be hectic and stressful, especially for those dealing with end of financial year and the crazy, rushed lead up to 30 June.

I always seem to hit a wall midyear no matter what’s going on at work. I put it down to most likely being a combination of the continuous cold weather that seems to be never-ending, not seeing much of the warm sun and the very, very short days; it can sometimes feel like all you do in winter is go to work and come home, with not a lot of time or daylight for much else.

Is this a sign of burnout or just the winter blues?

To me, it seems like a lot of people push themselves through the year, each time just trying to make it to the next public holiday or annual leave. This is extremely apparent after Covid, especially with every industry struggling to find a full workforce, current employees are doing the jobs of 2 or 3 people and some managers are doing the jobs of more, just trying to fill the gaps in their teams. This kind of momentum can’t be maintained forever and is a sure way to lead down the road to burnout.

I was recently told by a doctor that some types of burnout can take 2 years to recover from, for a lot of us, that isn’t an option. So, we need to find activities and things that fuel our motivation and help to recharge us.

I have a bad habit of working and working until my body and brain just says no, enough, which means I need some quiet me time. I’m still practicing every day at work to make sure I take a break, get up and move or walk around the block and eat lunch at the right time (and that’s not 3pm). I still have to practice giving myself time to destress at home and practice self-care to ensure I’m reenergised for the next day or week of work.

Some things that give me energy and help me recharge are:

  • Going for a hike and being surrounded by bushland, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature
  • Watching trashy reality tv shows, which results in forcing my brain to tune out and rest
  • A good night’s sleep (some might say this is simple, but not for me…)
  • Listening to music and/or singing my lungs out and dancing like nobody’s watching (which I hope they never are)
  • Appreciating the beautiful things around me and being grateful for what I have
  • Cuddles with my pets – ranging from a dog and cat to a rabbit and a lamb and occasionally even ducklings

At Inspire HQ, I look after the marketing and communications area. Creativity takes energy and you can’t always be on, well for me anyway. Some days I struggle to access my creativity and other days I’ve got too many ideas to write down or action. I have good days and bad days, just as everyone else does to varying degrees.

On the bad days at work, motivation can be hard to find or access in yourself, but what do we do, we force ourselves to push through it and do our best to complete each task we have for that day until it’s time to go home. On days like this, I rack my brain for ways to grasp any kind of motivation I can or to increase my motivation by just a tiny bit that will help me get through the day. Most of the time it’s not an option to go home for the day, hit reset and return to work the next day refreshed.

I find these few ways help to pick up my motivation levels:

  • It doesn’t hurt to look at where you are and how far you’ve come and give yourself a pat on the back or have a little smile to yourself.
  • Focus on the things you’ve accomplished and celebrate your small wins, I’m proud of myself when I can get out of bed on time and be early or on time to work, sometimes I reward myself with a chai latte.
  • Try working for 5 minutes and then having a break, start on easy tasks and see what you can get done. Each time, increase the amount of time you work for and see what you can achieve.
  • Exercise, I know everyone says this. You don’t need to run a half marathon, just try a quick walk at lunchtime and enjoy the fresh air and pretty colours outside. When the sun’s shining, appreciate the way the sun warms your skin, highlights the colours of the leaves on the trees, and makes everything seem a bit lighter and happier.
  • If you’re working on a big task or project, focus on completing one step at a time, whatever the immediate goal is in front of you, you can achieve it.
  • Do something selfless, instead of focusing on yourself, do something for a colleague, try volunteering your time to a charity or something that’s meaningful to you.
  • BREATHE – it’s one of the simplest things you can do, but when you focus on your breathing, a big breath in and a deep breath out, you can let go of the stress and tension from your body and shake it all out. You may be surprised at how effective this is after doing it a few times.

It’s so important to frequently check in with our motivation levels and to ask ourselves ‘how do I feel?’ or ‘do I need a break?’. After experiencing 2 years of Covid and the stress that world events are creating for people; we need to make sure we’re looking after ourselves and not working ourselves to the bone or going past the point of no return from burnout.

Working at Inspire HQ has made me realise that amazing and supportive workplaces do actually exist. Finding a workplace that supports my neurodiversity and what I need in order to succeed in my role is a breath of fresh air. After 18 months here, I still find I have to pinch myself occasionally to make sure I’m not dreaming, and when people ask how my job is going, I happily tell them that I love what I do and can’t believe I lucked out to work in such a great workplace and alongside some truly inspiring people.

Everyone has their good days and bad days, but remember to keep checking in with yourself and if you notice that a colleague doesn’t seem 100%, check in with them. Just doing this simple act may improve their day or make them realise that you care.

Burnout and a lack of motivation do affect your physical and mental health, whether you notice it or not. Mental health is incredibly important in the workplace and in life, it takes courage to check in with yourself and others, and it takes a lot of courage to reach out and ask someone for help. It can seem like such a scary thing to do, but I promise there will be someone there to listen and they will want to help. From experience and in hindsight, my choice is to always reach out to someone for help, you are never alone.

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