My Reflection and Burning Out

In September, I visited Nigeria and I really enjoyed my time. In fact, the heart knows where the home is. I did a lot of work regarding my initiative at KLCI, met a couple of people, in between an important application that ended up in rejection, run a learn event and I didn't pay attention to my physical and mental health.

I came back to the UK and I jumped straight into work and I had a breakdown not just physically but mentally. I was receiving loads of text messages, and emails and every single message were one help or the other. Either someone wants me to look through something or jump into a call with them and I truly want to help and but I was not just in the right space. It seems my jobs and contracts I were on were also crumbling and I could not move forward.
I could recall going to bed one of the nights and saying that I had to get my acts together. Jordan Peterson said, “People only admire people who have gotten their act together.” So I had this honest conversation, uncomfortable and difficult conversation with myself and I am like what is causing this stress? I puzzled. I needed to know what the problem is and devise a solution. This is what it means to be self-aware. Then I found out I was taken on too much. Maybe too many jobs and contracts. Well, those contracts pay the bills. What if you can't drop them? Well maybe drop one of them. What if that affects your upkeep? Or maybe have in mind you will drop one, while you are searching for an alternative but you need to ensure you give your best if you choose to keep them. More so, you can't bail out totally because they also align with your vision and you love doing such work. So, I said to myself it seems I reached a mark there.
So asides from this what is causing you stress, well “Social Media” the number of messages you receive in your inbox, those asking every moment check your dm or the buzz that comes with it. Yes “Social Media” is needed to communicate my work and values but this time I would be in charge of it.
I also noticed I was sleeping really late and probably getting 4, 5 - 6 hours of sleep because I was busy responding to people and reviewing applications or taking some 1-2-1 calls. I found out this is one of the reasons why I am burnt out and probably reducing my productivity. I needed to change this. So immediately I put on my calendar sleep at 9:00 pm and wake up at least 5:30 am and get at least 7, 8 - 9 hours of sleep. This has changed my life. I also put my phone on airplane mode during these moments and it has saved me a ton of calls I would have received late in the night. If someone is angry that they have been trying to reach me. I communicate this to them and I am setting and teaching boundaries. Which has helped me a whole lot.
I also noticed what do I need to do to be more active and get my day started with a boost. I started adding exercise to my daily routine after my early morning prayers. So I started Jogging 2 Kilometers for at least 5 days a week. I don't also check my phone first or social media when I wake up, it was a bad habit and it was not a good way to start the day. So I kept it away. On my way to work, I listened to podcasts and nourish myself.
I also cut the number of hot chocolates I was having in the office. In fact, I have not had any in the past month and 2 weeks. Great progress.
Honestly, making some of these changes were difficult but they were needed and I am in better control of my physical and mental health now. In fact, exercise helps with the flow of oxygen to the brain which is needed to be productive and get the job done and I am seeing the results.
So for people who thought I was away in October, no I wasn't, I was just figuring out life and my restorative niches, finding myself, and getting myself back on track as I have always been.
Some key lessons from this experience
1. When you are stressed whether mentally, physically, or emotionally; you need to understand where the problem is. What is the problem? If you can't define the problem and critically analyze you can't find a way forward.
2. You need to learn to accept that you have a problem to solve them. One of the things I don't do in the past is that I tend to add stress to stress and when stress signs show up, I ignore them. I have learned to know that there can be physical and mental limits. There are limits to what you can take. More so, you can't lead with a broken body.
3. If you give room for Social Media, it would control your life. Balance is key. People would continue to live their life. Not responding immediately is not the end of the world when is not urgent or life-threatening. Urgent here is also relative because if you ask people their asks are always urgent.
4. Order your life. When you add ordering to your work and life, you become more productive.
5. When you do something good for yourself first thing in the morning. You are off to a great start.
6. Don't always assume that people know. They would continue to knock if you don't communicate your boundaries and act on them.
7. Find your restorative niches. Find ways to get back on track. For me, I now know that I need to take intermittent social media breaks and the inspiration I get from those breaks is the best ever. I have had more content to share or post than ever. In fact, I have content to share in the whole of November. This is one of them.
8. Do not be scared to make small changes to your life. Exercise, stopping hot chocolate, sleeping early, and spending less time on social media has been really instrumental to my growth in just one month.
There are many more lessons I wanted to share but I am glad that I am able to self-reflect and walk myself through this journey. I hope you would find the courage from these experiences to make smaller changes too.
Hammed Kayode Alabi (c) 2022

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