“New year, new me”. New year's resolutions normally refer to places we want to go, people we want to hang out with, movies we’d like to watch, degrees we’re going to finish, degrees we’re going to start – and the list goes on and on and on. It’s a new year, and there is so much we want to do. But maybe this year, we should simply do less.
With Covid-19, restrictions and periods of strict lockdowns, we have found ourselves doing nearly nothing for weeks on end, to restrictions easing and then doing loads. Filling our schedules afraid we might not be able to go to the cinema, have a pint down at the pub or visit our grandparents next week.
With all this uncertainty, it might not come as a surprise that employee burnout has gotten worse since the pandemic hit. In March last year Indeed published a report about employee burnout. Based on their survey data, they found out that more than half of respondents are feeling burned out, and more than two-thirds believe that feeling has worsened over the course of the pandemic.
A burnout happens to people who feel overwhelmed, stressed, emotionally drained with constant pressure. It is caused by stress over a long period, and it’s a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion. Finding ourselves in an already stressed situation in regard to the pandemic and with a constant reminder that nothing is certain, we should then be mindful about our new year's resolutions. Maybe, this year, we should say bye to more and hi to less.
Less doesn’t mean ‘nothing’. We still have to go to work, school or university, but instead of staring at our computer screen for ten hours or doing extra shifts, we should take time to ourselves and relax. Relaxing is not limited to having a nap. It means different things for everyone: it could be going for a walk, reading a book, playing video games or knitting.
While this can feel like a waste of time to some people, resting is actually going to benefit your life. Doing less stressful, all-consuming activities will benefit your mental health, which is equally important as your physical one.
Various studies have shown the importance of relaxing in regard to problem-solving. So, when you are doing simple things you enjoy like walking, yoga or reading, your brain will try to solve a certain task or problem without you focusing on it. An example is when you see someone on TV and you just can’t remember who they are, but then when you are playing Mario Kart two hours later it just pops into your head.
As a new resolution for this new year, try not to spend every day in the library. Go home early some days and make sure to take days off for you. Watch the show on Netflix you’d wanted to watch for weeks. Go for a cold swim in the sea. Take a long bubble bath. Explore the nature around you. Pick up a book or a new video game. Make a cake or bread or both. And most importantly, learn to say no.
Written by Amalie Andersen