5-Day Burnout Challenge (Archive Page)

I help drained health care providers double their energy & develop balance so they can rebuild resilience.

Dr. Darowan Akajagbor

Pharmacist | Health and Wellness Coach 

Challenge Day #5

Day 5 Task: Schedule in ONE reflection activity 

Manage reflection to build resilience

For today’s task, you will complete a simple task from pillar 3 – Manage reflection to rebuild resilience.

First, I want to take a moment to talk about building resilience. 

So far, we have talked about managing time and energy. Those two pillars had to be addressed early on because it gives you the physical and mental space to begin building personal resilience. 

Personal resilience is your ability to bounce back from the stressors of life. It’s not about avoiding stress but learning to thrive within the stress.

Resilience is associated with inner strength, flexibility, and the ability to cope effectively when faced with adversity and minimizing the impact of risk factors or stressors.

The good news is that resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

There are a million things that you can do to rebuild resilience and I recommend that you carry around a variety of resilience-building tools in your toolbox. It should also be noted that building resilience is not an overnight or a “one-off” process, it is a lifelong practice.

Day #5 Task: Reflection to Rebuild Resilience

The goal of this task is to help you devise a personal resilience plan based on your existing resources (what has helped you bounce back from difficulties in the past). This helps you draw on your resilience resources to build a personal resilience plan, which you can use to help you combat any future challenges.

This one is a long one, but you have the weekend to complete it 🙂

Complete the resilience reflection below

  1. Reflect on a time recently when you overcame a challenge or set back in your life. Perhaps you received some negative feedback at work or had an argument with a coworker, friend, or family member.
  2. Complete the table below in your journal or on a blank sheet of paper.
  3. In what other areas of your life could you use your resilience plan? How might things improve for you?

Resilience Plan

The support that kept you upright

  1. ___________________________________
  2. ___________________________________
  3. ___________________________________

Strategies that kept you moving

  1. ___________________________________
  2. ___________________________________
  3. ___________________________________

The Sagacity that gave you comfort & hope

  1. ___________________________________
  2. ___________________________________
  3. ___________________________________

Solution-seeking behaviors you showed

  1. ___________________________________
  2. ___________________________________
  3. ___________________________________

Example of a completed reflection

 

If you want a strategy for beating burnout and building personal resilience, I am here to help, book a session with me here.

 

Challenge Day #4

Day 4 Task: Plan One Energy Meal or Snack (magic plate)

Manage Meals to Recharge Energy

I recently did a challenge on how to double your energy. In this challenge, we covered six areas in life that can be improved in order to recharge your energy. Those six areas are meals, movement, sleep, drink, supplement, and destress.

In today’s task, you will focus on meals and how you nourish your body.

When it comes to the relationship between food, stress, and burnout, there are two points to be made.

  • Eating certain foods will not directly cause burnout, but there are energy-draining foods (see list below) that can cause fatigue and worsen mood swings, which in turn exacerbates the stress cycle. All calories are not equal. There are foods that boost your energy and others that drain your energy.
  • In addition, stress can sometimes directly cause emotional eating, leading to a myriad of health issues that can exacerbate the stress cycle.

Energy-draining foods

  1. Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, and rice)
  2. Fried and fast foods
  3. Breakfast cereals, and other foods or snacks with added sugar
  4. Energy drinks, sugary sodas, and alcohol

Substitute with these instead…

Energy-boosting foods

  1. Complex carbs (rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pasta) + High-quality fats (olive oil, avocado) + High-quality protein sources
  2. Fresh or frozen fruits (blueberries, bananas, apples, blackberries)
  3. Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almond nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds)
  4. Drinks (water, green tea, yerba mate, matcha tea)

“Instead of stress eating, eat for energy to reduce stress – unknown”

So, today’s challenge is very simple. All you have to do is to plan ONE energy-boosting meal.

To complete this task, do one of the three options below

  1. Make a power breakfast (complex carb + healthy protein + healthy fat + fruit)
  2. Magic Lunch or dinner (complex carb + healthy protein + healthy fat + vegetable)
  3. Magic snacks (fruits, nuts, and seeds)

Check out this free resource Magic Plate Guide_Final.pdf for a definition of magic plates and creating them.

Challenge Day #3

Day 3 Task: Schedule in ONE mini-reset activity.

Manage Reset to Recharge Energy


How were the first two days for you? easy? hard? indifferent?….the truth is, there is no shortcut or hack to prevent and/or manage burnout. A strategy needs to be in place, and that’s what I am here to help you with.

Recall that there are three pillars that make up the framework for burnout management

  1. Reclaim time (pillar 1)
  2. Recharge energy (pillar 2)
  3. Rebuild resilience (pillar 3)

Watch the introductory video to learn more about the framework for burnout management (‘7:20)


For today’ task, you will Manage Reset to Recharge Energy by completing a simple task from pillar 2

“Recharge your batteries to update your spirit – Refresh your perspectives to upgrade your soul.” – G. Boston

With everything going on in the world, from the COVID-19 pandemic, the US elections, protests in the US, to the looming uncertainty in the US and the rest of the world, PLUS all of your personal work, home, and life responsibilities. You could be left with little or no time to recharge your internal battery. It’s not your fault. It is just a part of living in today’s society.


Credit: Greg Perry for The Toronto Star

Stress is a normal part of life, but not taking time to reset, recharge and reboot can leave you feeling constantly drained…eventually leading to… you guessed it, BURNOUT.

Dedicating some time to recharge yourself is not optional, lazy, or selfish, it is essential to preventing complete burnout.

To recharge your energy this week, schedule a short break dedicated to a mind-body mini reset. Set a reminder on your phone to do one or more of the mini-reset activities suggested below. All of the activities below will turn the switch from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic system.

Day 3 Task: Schedule in ONE mini-reset activity

  1. 5-minute breathing using mylife app
  2. 10-minute meditation (Headspace or mylife app)
  3. 15 minutes mindful walk (ideally after lunch)
  4. 30 minutes of music (on your walk or drive home)

Additional Tips

  1. Schedule your mini-reset in your calendar or phone reminder
    Use smartwatches and/or phone apps (headspace, calm, mylife)
  2. Don’t forget to track your progress and celebrate your “small wins” using the challenge checklist

Additional Information

  • It’s not too late to invite others by sharing the challenge here.
  • If you missed anything, it’s available on the archive page

Challenge Day #2

Day 2 Task: Take ONE item off your to-do-list using the 4 D’s strategy

Manage Obligations to Reclaim Time

Recall that there are three pillars that make up the framework for burnout management

  1. Reclaim time (pillar 1)
  2. Recharge energy (pillar 2)
  3. Rebuild resilience (pillar 3)

Watch the introductory video to learn more about the framework for burnout management (‘7:20)

In today’ task, you will complete a simple task from pillar 1

Time is a finite currency (like money & energy) and you only have 24 hours a day, no more, no less.

“We all know our money isn’t infinite, yet we end up treating our time and energy and attention as if they are.” – Shane Parrish

There are many time-management/productivity hacks and tricks available, but none of them can literally increase the number of hours you have in a day.

So, to reclaim some of your time this week, commit to taking one item off your to-do list using the modified four D’s strategy

  1. Delegate – Delegate this task to someone else or ask for help if you are not in a position to delegate.
  2. Defer – If you absolutely cannot delegate this task, I want you to defer it to some time in the future. Remember, you are purposefully taking some time this week to allow our body to recover/break the stress response cycle.
  3. Delete – Remove one or more unnecessary time-wasters from your schedule, such as unproductive meetings and constant email checking.
  4. Don’t say yes – If possible, don’t commit to new projects, tasks, and responsibilities this week. 

Use the tips below

  1. Start with a small task
  2. Block schedule email checking and responding.
  3. Say no to additional commitments and obligations this week
  4. Apply the same principle for home chores/tasks

In summary, apply the 4-D’s technique to reclaim some time this week. Don’t forget to track your progress and celebrate your “small wins” using the challenge checklist

Additional Information

  1. Join me on FB live for a discussion session on Nov. 2 2020 @ 12:30 pm CT/1:30 pm ET
  2. It’s not too late to invite others by sharing the challenge here

Challenge Day #1

Day #1 Task: Go to bed one-hour early tonight


Manage Sleep to Recharge Energy

Recall that there are three pillars that make up the framework for burnout management

  1. Reclaim time (pillar 1)

  2. Recharge energy (pillar 2)

  3. Rebuild resilience (pillar 3)

Watch the introductory video to learn more about the framework for burnout management (‘7:20)

In today’ task, you will complete a simple task from pillar 2

Yes, I said it, manage sleep.

but what has sleep got to do with burnout?

Unfortunately, chronic sleep deprivation is BOTH a cause and consequence of burnout. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleeping less than six hours each night is one of the best predictors of on-the-job burnout.”

The general recommendation is between 7-9 hours of sleep. I am not only focused on the QUANTITY of sleep, but also on the QUALITY of sleep, which is the unfragmented or uninterrupted sleep and sleep depth. If you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep but waking up feeling tired, the quality of your sleep is negatively affected.

If you still have any doubts about the science and evidence backing this up, check out the books (1) Why we sleep by Matthew Walker (a neuroscientist) and (2) The Promise of Sleep by William Dement (the Godfather of sleep medicine)

So, for the first day of the challenge, you are going to start here. Manage Sleep to Recharge Energy

…and this task is very simple. Go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier tonight. The goal here is to improve the quantity and also the quality of your sleep.

Use the tips below

  1. Set a go “Go bed alarm” (mine is set for ~10:30 pm)
  2. If possible, avoid screens (phone, computer, TV) 1-2 hours before bedtime (helps with deep sleep)
  3. Take a shower before bed
  4. Seep in a cool, dark room
  5. Avoid alcohol or coffee close to bedtime

And if you’re already getting enough zzz’s. Congratulations! you are done with today’s task. Feel free to check it off on your challenge checklist.

In summary, in order to recharge your energy this week, optimize both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Don’t forget to track your progress and celebrate your “small wins” using the challenge checklist

Additional Information

  1. Join me on FB live for a discussion session on Nov. 1 2020 @ 12:30 pm CT/1:30 pm ET

  2. It’s not too late to invite others by sharing the challenge here

Challenge day #0

I am excited to be kicking off this challenge taking place on November 1st – 6th 2020. 

This is an opportunity to take just a few minutes a day for five consecutive days focusing on YOU and your wellness.

Here is today’s mini task

  1. Watch the intro video
  2. Download the challenge checklist
Play Video