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How to dress smart for a freezing cold office in the summer

How to dress smart for a freezing cold office in the summer

Summertime is great, as it allows you to wear all those silky, fluffy dresses and skirts, as you flash some bronzed skin. In the summertime you get to show off all that time you’ve spent sweating in the gym over the winter, It paid off and you have a toned body. Oh, the sun, the ice creams, the tanning sessions, the UGGs for office.

Oh, yes! In summer the office turns into a freezing environment where no one could possibly type without gloves and a thick, wool blanket on her knees. At least, this is the case for women, who happen to make up a lot of the current workforce stuck in cold offices, which were designed for men.

The AC as the symbol of the patriarchal force

If you ever thought the cold offices are fit for a penguin more than a working woman dressed for summertime, you are right. Somewhat…

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An actual study revealed that AC systems in the offices are using temperature settings and guidelines of the 1960s! Moreover, those were designed for middle-aged, 154 pound man, dressed in a complete suit, sometimes along with a vest. That’s right, your office is cold because the managers are sticking to old, patriarchal guidelines.

Apart from the fact modern women are far from wearing Don Draper’s outfits at the office, men and women are simply different when it comes to temperature. Joost Van Hoof explains that the physiology of women, who are smaller in size and have more body fat than a man, is making them lose more heat, quicker. Instead of addressing this problem, most CEOs just went with the flow and let the AC system numb their female worker’s fingers, even if this decreases their productivity.

A study found that raising the office temperature from 68 degrees to 77 degrees increases the productivity by 150% and decreases the number of the typos by 44%.

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Sadly, office manager are still to solve this common AC problem, but until they do it, you may want to stop shivering on your desk, so here are some solutions to keep you warm for the day.

The solutions to stop freezing

Now that you know why you are freezing at the office, let’s see what we can do about it. The simple solution would be to dress with warmer clothes, but summer prevents you from doing this. Luckily, there are some solutions for the AC problem.

1. Layering

Layering is the most accessible way to keep yourself warm in the freezing office. You can keep a cardigan at the office, on your chair, to have it close when your knees are in need of a warm fabric or you need to cover your shoulders with something.

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If you don’t want to leave your beloved cardigan or another clothing item at office, you can gamble on smart office combos which can be peeled off or layered on, depending on the conditions. For inspiration, I gathered four types of combos you can wear at the office on a hot summer day.

  1. A skirt with a sleeveless top and a cardigan. A circle skirt is going to be office appropriate and will provide you comfort on a hot day, but it will also help you keep your knees warm, as they are usually covered by the skirt. Pair it with a sleeveless top, preferably made from a breathable fabric and you are ready to hit the streets. Before you leave your home pack a cardigan and layer it on when you get at the AC blasting office.
  2. The second option you have is to keep the top and the cardigan and go with a pencil skirt. It may look more office appropriate, but it can be pretty hard to wear on hot days. To counteract this, look for pencil skirts made of light fabrics, in light colors.
  3. The third option here are pants. A skinny fit is not advisable on hot days, so go for a loose fitting, which allows the air to caress your skin when you walk. They can easily be paired with a flowy top and an open pullover, to allow you to stay warm inside your cold office.
  4. Dresses and blazers. If you are not into skirts, you can match a dress with a blazer. Pick a light, breezily dress, made of chiffon or another light fabric. Then, pair it with a blazer. To pull off this outfit you need to pay attention to color matching, as the dress might be too light for wearing it with a blazer. The best option is to gamble on light colors for both the dress and the blazer.

2. Closed shoes

Summer is the season when us girls like to show off our amazing legs, which means we often wear open shoes. Well, if you want to be warm at the office, opt for a pair of closed shoes, which can keep your feet warm. If you can, pick shoes that can be paired with socks, if your feet become numb over the day, due to the AC problem.

If you can keep a pair of shoes at work, buy summer boots and keep a pair of socks in them, so you can slip from your fashionable shoes into the boots when you arrive at the office. Suede summer boots in nude can be accessorized with pretty much any outfit without becoming an eye sore, which makes them a good investment.

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When you wear a skirt or a dress, stockings are going to help you keep your legs warm, so don’t skip them. If you choose really thin stockings, they will be invisible and will allow you to feel comfortable outside, in the hot weather.

3. Scarves

Apart from the feet, your neck is very sensitive to cold, so wearing a scarf is going to keep you warm in your cold office. A silk scarf is easy to keep in your bag and won’t destroy your outfit when you wrap it around your neck. Silk is especially great for wrapping your neck, because this fabric is thin and is able to trap the body heat.

Another great tip for keeping your neck warm is leaving your hair down your shoulders. If you have a long mane, style it in such way you can leave it down when you arrive at the office.

Featured photo credit: Nicola Albertini/RedLips via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

Burnout at work is an issue that most people who suffer from it, suffer unknowingly.

Have you ever felt that you can’t start an assignment, have an immense urge to Netflix binge, or couldn’t get yourself to wake up on time even though you have a lot on your plate? The cause for these might be burnout.

According to Deloitte’s report, “many companies may not be doing enough to minimize burnout.” This is to say that the responsibility is not only on the employee. According to that report, nearly 70 percent of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization, and they definitely should.[1]

Too many companies don’t invest enough in creating a positive environment. One out of five (21%) said that their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout. It is the culture, not the fancy well-being programs that would probably do the best work.

This is a significant problem for individuals and companies, and it’s also an issue on a macro level. A Stanford University research found that more than 120,000 deaths per year, and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs, are associated with the way U.S. companies manage their workforces.[2]

It is both the employee and the employer’s responsibility—and the latter can certainly take more responsibility.

In this article, I’ll guide you on how to know if you suffer from burnout and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Who Are Prone to Burning Out?

For starters, it is a good thing to know that you’re in good company. According to a Gallup poll, 23% (of 7,500 surveyed) expressed burnout more often than not. Additionally, 44% felt it sometimes. Nearly 50% of social entrepreneurs who attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2018 reported having struggled with burnout and depression at some point.[3]

According to Statista (2017), 13% of adults reported having problems unwinding in the evenings and weekends. According to a Deloitte survey (consisting of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees), 77% of respondents said that they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.[4]

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Burnout is not only an issue of the spoiled first-world. Rather, it is a serious matter that must be taken care of appropriately. It affects so many people, and its impacts are just too significant to be ignored.

Some occupations are more prone to burnout, such as people who deeply care about their jobs more than others. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses are some of the most susceptible to burnout.”

The consequences can have life or death ramifications as “suicide rates among caregivers are dramatically higher than that of the general public—40% higher for men and 130% higher for women”. It is also the case for teachers, non-profit workers, and leaders of all kinds.[5]

Deloitte’s survey also found that 91% say that they have an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration. Heck, 83% even say that it can negatively impact their relationships. Millennials are slightly more impacted by burnout (84% of Gen Y vs. 77% in other generations).

What Is Burnout Syndrome?

So, what is it, exactly? Burnout was officially included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and is an occupational phenomenon.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout includes three dimensions:[6]

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

The 5 Stages of Burnout

At this point, you must have a clue if you’re at risk of burnout. There are different methods for understanding where you are on the burnout syndrome scale, and one of the most common ones is the “five stages method.”

1. Honeymoon Phase

As you may remember If you’ve gotten married, there’s always the honeymoon phase. You’re so happy and feel almost invincible. You love your spouse and at this stage, you’re very excited about everything. It’s the same when it comes to taking on a new job or role or starting a new business.

At first, most of the time, you’re hyper-motivated. Although you might be able to notice signs of potential future burnout, in most cases, you might ignore them. You’re highly productive, super motivated, creative, and accept (and take) responsibility.

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The honeymoon phase is critical because if you plant the seeds of good mental health and coping strategies, you can stay at this phase for extended periods.

2. Onset of Stress

Let’s continue with the wedding metaphor. Now that you’re happily married for some time, you might start noticing certain issues with your spouse that you don’t like. You might have seen them before, but now they take up more space in your life.

You might be less optimistic and feel signs of stress or minor symptoms of physical or emotional fatigue at work. Your productivity reduces, and you think that your motivation is lower.

3. Chronic Stress

Let’s hope you don’t get there in your marriage, but unfortunately, some people get there. At this stage, your stress level is consistently high, and the other symptoms of stage 2 persist.

At this point, you start missing deadlines, your sleep quality is low, and you’re resentful and cynical. Your caffeine consumption might be higher, and you’re increasingly unsatisfied.

4. Burnout

This is the point where you can’t go on unless there is a significant change in your workspace environment. You have a strong desire to move to another place, and clinical intervention is sometimes required.

You feel neglected, your physical symptoms are increasing, and you get to a place where your stomach hurts daily. You might obsess over problems in your life or work and, generally speaking, you should treat yourself.

5. Habitual Burnout

This is the phase in which burnout is embedded in your life. You might experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, outbursts of anger or apathy, and physical symptoms of chronic fatigue.

The Causes of Burnout

So, now that we know how to identify our stage of burnout, we can move on to tackling its leading causes. According to the Gallup survey, the top burnout reasons are:[7]

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  1. Getting unfair treatment at work – This is not always something that you can fully control. At the same time, you should remember that even if you’re not calling the shots, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept unfair treatment. The consequences mentioned above are just not worth it in most cases.
  2. Workload – Another leading cause of stress according to dozens of interviews conducted before writing the article. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress. We live in a busy work environment, and we will share some tips on how to manage that.
  3. Not knowing your role – While not something you can fully control, you can, and probably should, take action to better define it with your boss.
  4. Inadequate communication and support from your manager – Like the others above, you can’t fully control that, but as we’ll soon share, you can take action to be in better control.
  5. Time pressure – As mentioned, motivated, passionate workers are more in danger of experiencing burnout. One of the reasons is that they’re pressuring themselves to do more, sometimes at the expense of their mental health. We’ll address how to work on that as well.

How to Overcome a Burnout

After going over the stages of burnout and the leading causes of becoming burned out, it might be a good time to let you know that there is a lot you can do to fight it head-on.

However, let’s start with what you should not do. Burnout cannot be fixed by going on a vacation. It should be a long-term solution, implemented daily.

According to Clockify (2019), these are the popular ways to avoid burnout:

  1. Focus on your family life – 60% of adults said that stable family life is key to avoiding burnout. Maintaining meaningful relationships in your life is proven to reduce stress (instead of having many unmeaningful relationships).
  2. Exercising comes in second, with 58% reporting that jogging, running, or doing any exercise significantly relieves stress. Even a relatively short walk might improve your body’s resilience to stress.
  3. Seek professional advice – 55% say they would turn to a professional. There are online websites where you can speak with professionals at reduced costs.

Aside from the three most popular ways of avoiding burnout, you can also try the following:

1. Improve Time Management

Try understanding how you can use your time better and leave more time for relaxation. That’s easy to say (or write) but more challenging to implement. It would help if you started by prioritizing yourself. Understanding the connection between your values and your everyday tasks is a tremendous help. You can use proven methods to improve the relationship between your vision and goals to your daily life tasks’ lists. Check out the Horizons of Focus or V2MOM methods to get started.

2. Use the P.L.E.A.S.E. Method

The P.L.E.A.S.E. is a combination of things you should do to be at your best physically. It means Physical Illness (P.L.) prevention, Eat healthy (E), Avoid mood-altering drugs (A), Sleep well (S), and Exercise (E).

3. Prioritize

You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes across your way at work (or in other aspects of life). You’d be surprised how easy it can become once you start saying no. Some might even describe it as exhilarating.

4. Let Your Brain rest

Culturally, most of us are already wired to think that hard work is essential, and while that’s true in most cases, we sometimes forget that our brain needs to rest for it to recharge. Seven hours of sleep are essential (depending on your age). Meditation might be helpful, too.

5. Pay Attention to Positive Events

According to Therapistaid.com, we tend to focus on the bad things in our lives. However, by focusing on positive things, we can change our mindset. One way to practice this daily is by writing three good things about your life every morning or evening. It’s been scientifically proven that doing so for a few months can help rewire your brain.

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6. Take Some “You” Time

A Netflix binge is not always good for you, but it might be in some cases. The better the leisure time is, the better you’ll feel in the long term. It’s usually better to read a book or start a new hobby that requires more cognitive skills than just lying on the couch. But as long as you feel good watching a movie, that might be a good start.

7. New Technologies Might Be Helpful

There are tons of self-help apps such as Fabulous, Headspace (meditation), Noom (diet and exercise), and others. They’re good to use, but you should also be careful not to run away from your problems only to watch social media for hours. It’s not real, and no one’s life is perfect (even if their Facebook or Instagram feeds might seem so). You should also be aware not to be in an “always-on” mindset.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re at the first or the fifth stage of the burnout phases, the goal of this article is to show you that there are always ways to fight it. The first thing is self-awareness—knowing that there’s a problem. The second step is to decide what to do about it.

You can also consider using Lifehack’s community. You’re more than welcome to share your burnout story on our Facebook page.

Bonus: Rebound from Burnout in 8 Hours

Watch what you can do to rebound from burnout quickly in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

https://youtu.be/MNnyqQWK_zg

Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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