Take Time Out to Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet!

Our 24/7 culture of overwork has completely blurred the boundaries between work and leisure time. Many people feel too pressured by their work commitments to take their full leave allocation and when they actually manage to take a holiday they still feel obliged to check on emails and remain contactable by their boss.

By constantly running our engines without taking time to refuel we put ourselves at high risk of burnout. As we race through our working day our bodies release adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstream to help us keep up the pace and cope with the commuter traffic, never-ending chores and flooded inboxes. We may have accepted this level of overstimulation as a normal part of modern life, but our adrenal glands still struggle to keep up and are constantly sending us signals to slow down.

Prolonged stress and poor lifestyle choices can lead to severe depletion of the autoimmune system and adrenal glands. But, if we pay attention to our headaches, back aches, lingering colds, low libido, depression and disturbed sleep, rather than popping pills to override our complaints we can save ourselves from more serious outcomes such as a stroke, heart attack or cancer.

The break between Christmas and New Year offers the perfect opportunity to take some time out to recharge on a deeper level than is usually attainable at any other time of the year.

Because most businesses completely wind down at this time it is possible to rest and recuperate safely knowing that nobody is in the office – not even the nagging boss!

It can be challenging to try and gain clarity on our personal and professional lives when we are stuck in everyday busy mode, but by shutting the door and stepping back from everything during the festive downtime we can truly take stock, reflect, reprioritize and powerfully plan for the year ahead.

Many people start off with good intentions at the start of the New Year, but quickly get derailed by the dreary winter weather or the pressure of new projects sends them straight back to burnout.

To set yourself up for sustainable success instead of feeling dispirited it is vital to identify your key stressors so that you can create a different approach to the things that typically trigger your fight or flight response. It is also important to notice where you have accumulated possessions, commitments and connections that are no longer serving you and can be cleared out.

Jayne Morris, life coach and leading authority on stress management shares a transformational three-stage system to help you power-up your year ahead in her book Burnout to Brilliance: Strategies for Sustainable Success (Changemakers Books).

Here are her top 5 tips to help set yourself up for your best year yet!

1. Create your own mini-retreat. Set aside a space in your home where you can close the door and spend some uninterrupted contemplation time. Light some candles, play some calming music. Make it a sanctuary for rest and renewal.

2. Get Creative with some paper and coloured pens. Your creative brain is the connection to an inner power source that transcends the logical mind and shares flashes of inspiration, insight, and wisdom. Give yourself permission to draw, doodle or jot down thoughts without editing or trying to make it perfect.

3. Reflect on the past by representing what went well and what you found challenging during 2015 with words and illustrations. Notice both your strengths and your weaknesses. What do you need to build on? What could you benefit from doing less of/more of? Is there anything you need to cut completely? Where do you most need to focus?

4. Map out your future by envisioning yourself having your best year yet. Fast-forward one year. How does your life feel different? What has gone well? What has stayed the same? What do you most need to change to make these things happen?

5. Stay motivated for success with a collage of words and images that represent the person you most want to be and the things you most want to have or achieve. Grab a selection of magazines, rip out pictures and phrases that inspire you, stick them on a large piece of card or canvas and create a vision board. Take a photo of it. Save it on your phone and computer so you can look at it regularly to stay on track for success.

Photo credit: Samjhana Moon www.samjhanamoon.com

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