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5 Ways to Refuel During Stressful Times

The past weeks and months have been draining. Uncertainty, loss of control, and the unknown can lead to burnout and emotional exhaustion. Finding new ways to do business while dealing with other work/life stressors can push people to their breaking point.

It’s important for your work ethic and personal wellbeing that you find ways to refuel during these stressful times. Signs it may be time to refuel and recharge your batteries include nagging fatigue, lack of focus, frustration, and negative emotions. You’re no good to others if you can’t take care of yourself so here are five practical ways to avoid burnout during these crazy times.

     1. Sleep

 In order for our body to repair itself from the stressors we place it under each day, we need to ensure we’re getting adequate sleep. Having a solid sleep routine can make a world of difference in how you recover from the day.

You can start setting an alarm 30 minutes to an hour before bed to remind yourself to wind down and prepare for sleep. Stop checking your work email, unplug, and read a book or listen to music to allow your body to get into a relaxed state. Allowing your body to restore itself at night is one of the best things you can do to stay sharp and avoid feeling sluggish and overwhelmed the next morning. 

     2. Self-Care

This will look different for everyone but self-care is simply identifying something that nurtures you and makes you feel good and making it a priority to engage in these activities on a regular basis.

Pre-COVID, perhaps you enjoy going to a local coffee shop in the morning and reading the paper before tackling the day. Maybe a regular manicure or spa treatment keeps you feeling your best or going to a local art exhibit. These seemingly small indulgences can have a profound impact on our mental wellbeing as they allow us to recharge our batteries and spend time doing something that makes us feel good.

Depending on your geographical location right now, your ability to do some of these activities may be limited. Find other ways to take care of yourself. Remember that taking time for yourself and is critical.

     3. Exercise

Finding a form of exercise that you can partake in on a regular basis does so much more than just improve your physical health. Exercise reduces our body’s stress-causing hormones and also provides us with endorphins which in turn make us happier. Additionally, people who exercise regularly typically have more energy throughout the day.

You don’t have to participate in intense workout sessions to reap these benefits. Relaxing yoga, daily walking, hiking, or dance classes will all yield the desired outcome of less stress and those happy endorphins that follow when you’re done.

     4. Be Social

It can be so easy to use work and deadlines as an excuse to miss out on social gatherings but in reality, staying social can make you more productive. Whether it’s dinner, a movie, or Sunday brunch, staying connected helps us restore our emotional wellbeing which can make us more productive at work. It also allows us to see ourselves as a valued person outside of the office and connect with people outside of our work social circle.

At the time of this writing, COVID is curtailing many of these “typical” social activities. It is vital that you find a work-around to stay connected and social during this time. A Zoom call may not be your favourite thing, but after a few jokes between you and your best friend, I bet the effort will be well worth it.

     5. Don’t Say Yes to Everything

It can be really hard not to be a ‘yes’ person with your work or family or personal life. Saying yes to every single extra project or event can seem like a sure-fire way to impress those around you with your tenacity. Problem is, the more you take on, the more thinly you stretch yourself, and the less likely you are to perform all of your tasks to the level you are capable of. If your plate is already full - don’t add more just to look better. Say yes to the things that really matter and practice saying no when there are other avenues to complete those tasks. Take some time to learn about an effective boundary setting, it will do wonders to help improve your energy.

If you find yourself consistently feeling overwhelmed, unable to focus, and easily agitated, you may be close to a burnout. Taking the time to refuel, distress, and set some new boundaries and habits can make all the difference during these times. You can only do your best work when you are taking care of yourself.


Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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