Since February, I have been working on a hugely rewarding executive coaching project with an incredible team of people.

An intensive programme, both personally, and for the group, I am coaching. I use the word intensive because there has been a vast amount of learning shared, knowledge gained, and practice implemented. Together, we have delivered many hours of focused hard work, which has had a high level of personal impact, physically, cognitively, and emotionally. As the team progresses in their role, from week to week, the pressure has built up, and a personal limit has been reached. It is time to take a break.

I was inspired this month by a conversation with one of my team, about the dangers of burnout and the importance of self-care. Burnout can take on many disguises, from lethargy and sleeplessness to low self-esteem and irritability, and all in between. Burnout can lead to stress which is one of the main reasons why people feel worn out and fail to deliver, mentally and physically.

Burnout is Dangerous with a capital D.

We can all become overwhelmed in the work we do or the life we lead. It happens. Often, when you take on too much or fail to give yourself time to step away and recharge. Life can become super-fast paced, and at times, you believe that you need to keep up with the speed. It is like the accelerator pedal is stuck on maximum. Each day whizzes by in a flash and you become a casualty, as you burn the candle at both ends.

It is OK to take a break.

This is exactly what my team member did, along with several of their colleagues too. Being within striking distance of burnout was enough to say – “STOP, I need to take a break. It is important for me to step back from what I am doing and to allow the intensity of learning and practice to filter. I need to unwind, rest, and shift my focus inward, to take care of myself before I can help others.”

What did my team member discover at the end of a week’s rest?

Instead of saving up leave for one single big holiday, the idea of taking mini-breaks at regular intervals can be a better personal plan. By doing so, you learn to take notice of and limit any emerging burnout pattern. You can give yourself a chance to take care of your mind, body, and soul. It is about self-awareness and for you to realise, that unless you are on full battery power, you cannot perform well.

Building in a routine of self-care habits is positive and progressive.

It is OK to step away from time to time. When you do so, you will look, feel, and be better in yourself. When you take time to be mindful of overwhelm, burnout, and self-care, you can shift focus to give yourself permission to take a break, to recharge, and deliver your personal and professional best.

When will you make time to take a break?