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12 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Jet Lag

12 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Jet Lag

The world we live in is getting smaller, with more and more people travelling by air than ever before. If you’ve ever travelled long haul, you’ll know one of the major downsides to jet setting is the groggy, half-awake feeling that can ruin your first few days upon arrival, and set you back a day or two when you get back home. But what can be done? Here are 12 of the top tips and tricks that help frequent fliers beat the jet-lag blur.

Plan Ahead

1. Trick your body clock

If you know your dates of travel some days in advance, try to shift your sleep schedule ahead or behind by a few hours, depending on your destination. If you’re travelling east, go to bed a little earlier, even if you don’t sleep. If you’re travelling west, resist going to bed for a little longer. Even an hour’s adjustment can make the difference between falling asleep in the middle of dinner or feeling a bit drowsy by the end of drinks.

2. Adapt your diet

Digestion requires a lot of energy, so eating a heavy meal can tire you out when you’re body is already trying to cope with keeping itself awake. When professional athletes travel internationally to compete in global events, they follow a strict diet that alternates vegetarian, lean protein and fasting in the days leading up to their departure. This ensures that they are fit and ready to perform as soon as they arrive at their destination.

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On Board

3. Skip the in-flight meal

This will come as good news to food purists everywhere: don’t eat anything on board. Food plays a key role in the regulation of our circadian rhythm: our bodies know what time of day it is in relation to the meals we eat. By holding off on the food until the next local mealtime, your body will more quickly adjust to the local time. If you arrive mid-afternoon or morning and absolutely must eat, grab a quick snack but don’t sit down for a big meal unless it’s time for that at your destination.

4. Stay Hydrated.

Although not eating might prove beneficial, don’t skimp on the drink! The air on board is very treated, and very drying, so it’s important that you drink at least double the amount of fluids you would when on the ground. Some theories suggest that a large number of the symptoms of jet-lag are merely signs of dehydration (e.g. nausea, fatigue, pallor etc.) Water is generally best, although herbal teas are also very hydrating. Stay away from fizzy drinks, sugar-laden juices and alcohol, which has a more drastic effect on-board due to altitude and air pressure.

5. Move around.

Until I became a frequent flier, I firmly believed that moving around the cabin was a nuisance to the already busy and overworked cabin crew. Newsflash: it’s not! It’s very much recommended. To avoid the feeling of heaviness in your legs, improve circulation and just generally feel more refreshed, try get up and walk around every couple of hours or so. If the plane is packed, or you are uncomfortable, try some simple stretches in your seat. And don’t stay in the same position for too long, unless you’re sleeping of course!

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6. Stay active.

If you can, try to engage in some sort of stimulating activity for at least part of the flight. Read a book, do a Sudoku or crossword, get some work done on that big project you’ve got coming up. Chat to your neighbor, if you’re so inclined. Watching films for 12 hours on that tiny screen will only leave your body and mind feeling sluggish upon arrival.

7. Switch to local time

Mid-flight or as soon as you get on board, set your watch to the local time at destination. You can do the same with your gadgets if they do not automatically update upon arrival. This will get you into the local time mindset, and help you plan your activities at destination more efficiently.

8. Sleep at local time

This can be tough once the cabin crew have dimmed the cabin lights and covered you in a toasty blanket, but it really works. Work out your ideal bedtime at destination, and whatever is going on on-board at that time, try at least to take a nap. This is your body’s first introduction to its new time zone. If you can’t manage to fall asleep, putting on a mask and some earplugs can help you to at least tune out the noise and get some rest.

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9. Wake up at local time

Same idea as above, but could prove just as difficult. Here’s a neat trick to perking yourself up when you’re feeling drowsy: Brush your teeth with strong, minty toothpaste and cold water (ask for a bottle as airplane tap water is full of germs), and change your socks. For some reason, doing this makes your brain think that it’s starting a new day. Add to that tying your hair back tightly if you have long hair, and splashing your face with cold water.

At Destination

10. Don’t nap!

Resist! Resist! Resist! Be strong! If you really are walking into walls and have a full day ahead of you, then limit your nap time. Airline pilots who land in the early hours of the morning often limit their naps to a couple of hours – just enough to keep them going for the rest of the day. Sleeping any more than this can make you feel majorly groggy and out of place.

11. Get moving!

Get outside, expose yourself to natural sunlight, fresh air and a stimulating environment. Do some light exercise like going for a walk or doing some stretches. Talk to people, watch or read something funny to make you laugh or just generally do something stimulating that you enjoy.

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12. When in rome…

…eat when the Romans do. Resist the urge to eat a full meal when it isn’t the correct local time. By all means snack if you must, and drink plenty of water, but try force yourself into the eating schedule of your destination. Your body will have an easier time adapting to its new environment with mealtimes as a point of reference.

With a little planning and a little more willpower, jet-lag can be a thing of the past!

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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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