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Posted David Brown, CEO Hays US on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
It’s easy to fall into new job burnout by pushing too hard trying to impress others and pick up the specifics of a new role at speed. Many new hires fall into bad habits where their diet and lifestyle are concerned. Feeling completely exhausted isn’t exactly conducive to success in a new role, or your long term well-being, so it’s essential that you aim for work-life balance when starting a new job. How do you manage it when the pressure starts mounting and you feel like you can’t divorce your home life from the job? We’ve got some tips and tricks to help keep your head above water:
Get enough sleep
It seems almost too simple, but it’s crucial to your long term well-being. Multiple studies have shown how much sleep can impact our physical and mental health, and this research conducted by the RAND research group demonstrates how sleep deprivation negatively affects our immune systems, our emotions, and our cognitive functions. From processing new information, to problem solving, to decision making, depriving yourself of sleep is the worst thing you can do at a new job.
By not getting enough sleep, you also increase your chances to fall ill, increase your irritability and stress, and take longer to retain new information. The average person needs eight hours sleep, so if you’re having trouble managing it, try the following tricks:
• Write your next day’s ‘to-do’ list at each day’s end. And ask your boss to help prioritize tasks if you’re struggling. Organizing your workload so it’s more manageable enables you to leave the office at a reasonable time and get much needed downtime during those hectic first few weeks.
• If you absolutely must check work emails in the evening, set yourself a reasonable deadline for when you’ll stop. For example, 8pm is a more reasonable deadline than 11pm. Then make sure you go offline for the evening. You can’t feel ready to face the day at work if you’re up all night sending emails or working from home.
• On the subject of switching off – turn off your electronics at least fifteen to twenty minutes before bedtime to allow your brain to wind down. Restorative sleep helps you process new information, and research has found that the blue light emitted by electronic devices hinders the quality of our sleep. Put down the Candy Crush and get some shut eye.
• If you’re still struggling to get some sleep, play some easy listening music in bed, or read a book. There are also many sleep-inducing meditative podcasts available on iTunes you can try.
Use exercise to relieve stress
Starting a new job can mess with your normal routine. This can apply to physical exercise as well, but exercise is one of the best scientifically proven ways to improve your mental health. It relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.
Getting up early to work out first thing help some people, while others benefit more from exercising in the evening as a way of coming down from the day. Whatever’s best for you, here are some suggestions on how to maintain a healthy exercise routine:
• Find a gym close to work so you can go on the way to or from home. You’ll find fewer excuses not to go if it’s close by, and you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
• If going to the gym after work, take your gym kit with you to the office. If you have to go home and change beforehand, you’ll be less likely to head back out again.
• Find a gym partner so you’ll have someone to motivate you and ensure you’re actually going.
• Try different classes or find an exercise type that you enjoy enough to keep you coming back. You want to find a way to look forward to going to the gym, rather than thinking of it as a burden.
• Music is a powerful motivator, so create a playlist full of your favorite high-energy songs to get you pumped and ready to exercise. Or alternatively find something soothing if you prefer yoga or other more relaxed exercise.
It’s easy to settle for fast food or vending machine fare when you’re trying to make a great impression on the new boss in those important first few weeks of a new job. But an unhealthy diet filled with refined sugars, saturated fats, and low vitamin and mineral counts can soon leave you sluggish and enervated, not to mention damage your ability to concentrate. So see our suggestions below for how to balance your diet and stay healthy, focused, and productive:
• Make your lunch for the week ahead of time – freeze leftovers, make filling and nutritious meals, and bring plenty of fresh salad ingredients that you can keep in the office fridge.
• Avoid sugary treats and things whose ingredients go unlabelled. It can be hard in an office where it feels like every day there’s cake to celebrate something, but learn to say no gracefully, or take a smaller slice.
• Watch out for too many cups of sugared tea or coffee during the day – opt instead for water, green tea, or lemon and hot water. At least limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee/tea a day, as caffeine can largely affect your concentration and upset your sleep cycles.
All the tips and tricks discussed here are, of course, basic strategies for managing your health and well-being in general terms. But they’re even more important when starting a new role and you need to establish work-life balance to avoid burnout. And now that you know how to handle new job stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle while acclimating to a new job, it’s time to start looking for that dream job with Hays.