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Health

'Burnout coach' shares how embracing boredom can help you recover from work stress

Repetition and consistency can create a mini miracle.

boredom, burnour, gabriela flax

Boredom, the cure for burnout.

If your job makes you feel burned out, you’re not alone. A recent poll of 10,243 workers in 6 countries found that 40% of respondents were burned out. The World Health Organization defines burnout as an “increased mental distance from one’s job,” feelings of depression and negativity.

The people most likely to be experiencing burnout are those ages 18 to 29, and women reported higher levels of burnout (46%) than men (37%).

Gabriela Flax, a self-described burnout coach, says the best prescription for people who feel like they’ve sacrificed their mental health for their job is a hefty dose of boredom. Flax was once a product manager who had to find a better work balance after suffering migraines, panic attacks and constant exhaustion from work.


Flax believes that people suffering from burnout often enter patterns of self-neglect, all in the name of career success. She adds that by creating new patterns that some would call boring or repetitive, people can regain their sense of self.

Burnt out? Be boring 🤗 

@gabriela_flax

Burnt out? Be boring 🤗 When we are burnt out, the decision making part of our brain is offline. This makes simple decisions like what to eat or wear near impossible & makes us feel even worse. The first thing I do with those I help overcome burnout & regain vitality for life is assess how to make their life BORING! This helps to lessen the immediate overwhelm and create space for deeper healing. #burnout #burnoutrecovery #burnoutrecoverycoach #burnoutcoach #chronicstressrecovery

“When we are experiencing burnout, the part of our brains that make decisions is offline," Flax says. "Even something as simple as deciding what to wear today, what to have for lunch, what movie to book at the weekend. All of that becomes really, really difficult for our brains to process."

To help her clients counter the feeling of being disconnected from their needs, Flax tells them to keep things simple. "What we do is we're like, ‘we're gonna get three of the same T-shirt, we're gonna get three of the same pairs of jeans,’" she says. “‘Therefore, you don't even have to really worry about laundry right now; we're doing laundry maybe once a week.’"

This “boring” approach to life also extends to people’s diets. She recommends that those who are burned out eat the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “That way, you're still getting your meals in. You're fueling yourself, but you don't have to think about what you're going to cook.”

​Then, what begins as a series of simple, predictable changes evolves into a new cycle of positivity.

“The repetition and consistency of doing things and proving to yourself that you can get dressed and proving to yourself that you can still feed yourself, it actually starts to build up a little bit of confidence that starts to pull you out of that burnout,” Flax says.

In a recent article published by SWNS, Flax expanded her “boring list” of small changes to make to kickstart a new cycle of confidence. They are designed to cut down on the number of decisions you have to make and tasks to accomplish for a much-needed mental break.

1. Purchase a 10-pack of identical pairs of socks.

2. Organize clothing into two baskets: one for clean items and another for dirty laundry

3. Take photos of things you commonly buy at the grocery store for future reference.

4. Use disposable plates and utensils to make mealtime simple

5. Put your phone on focus mode

6. Put your favorite dishes on delivery apps to make dinner easier

7. Create a group chat group with “need to know” people

8. Acquire an automatic feeder for your dog

9. Buy coordinated outfits to make it easier to get dressed

10. Remove the middle sheet on your bed for easier bed-making

Community

Decluttering top of mind for 2024? This Facebook group can help

This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

With the new year comes plenty of resolutions we all vow to keep up with the best of intentions. But by February 1, our resolve has often waned as life gets in the way and things go back to how they were. What we all need a little more of is motivation.

When we participate in something collectively, it’s easier to meet goals and maintain the enthusiasm to get things done. While the support of a friend or two is great, imagine having the power of an entire online community cheering you on and offering advice along the way.

This is where the Daily Decluttering Challenge Facebook group comes in. This online community offers easy-to-implement advice for decluttering, organizing, and cleaning up your home and your life with support from 125,000 members.

“By building a network of people who can support and encourage you along the way, you can make progress towards your goals faster and more effectively. Remember, no one achieves success alone, and having a strong support system can make the difference in a goal set versus a goal achieved,” says Kristin Burke, a goal achievement coach.

In addition to tips for tidying up around the house, members share advice on how to tackle one thing at a time, where to donate excess items, and what they do to exercise more willpower to avoid buying new things.

For anyone hoping to declutter their lives in the new year, this Facebook group has the perfect challenge to get you started.

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These are the rare faces of people who have lived through two world wars, a cavalcade of regimes, and the rush of advancements in modern life. These photos, and the stories of the lives lived by the people in them, show not only the beauty of aging, but how even as we age, we still remain essentially ourselves.

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