Published on Nov 15, 2023 at 1:53 p.m.
35-50 year olds are the age group most subject to professional mental strain, according to a study published by Mooncard/Ifop in 2021. And this is particularly true for young executives under 35, who have to difficult to answer once the door to their office is closed. 58% still think “often” about their work in the evening and 54% on weekends. This overload is felt even more by young mothers who combine family and professional constraints.
Several signs allow you to know if you are subject to “this psychological clutter” whose impact varies depending on each person’s personality. “You had a very good memory and for no apparent reason, you had gaps. You forget appointments and arrive late. You had great ability to concentrate and now your thoughts wander more often than usual. Your spelling was impeccable and suddenly you have more mistakes in your presentations or your emails”lists Margaux Gelin, director of the research and psychology division of the start-up Moodwork.
And to alert on other markers such as the difficulty in organizing oneself or finding new ideas, the fact of losing patience more quickly even though one was of a rather calm nature, of getting angry because a colleague or superior does not respond to your email within a minute. “Mental overload also almost inevitably causes physical disorders, adds the expert, such as tension in the muscles or joints, migraines, sleep disorders…”
Fortunately, there are several techniques and tools to manage these cognitive, emotional and physical difficulties. Here are some taken from the recent book “Mental load: get better organized and avoid overheating” (published by Vuibert) and commented on by its author, Margaux Gelin.
1 – Prioritize your tasks
The to-do list is a very effective tool to combat mental overload, “provided thatto be well organized, hierarchical and compartmentalized“, insists Margaux Gelin. To do this, use color codes to categorize tasks and classify them according to their importance and urgency, like in the Eisenhower matrix.
Another way to gain peace of mind is to do things one after the other using the Pomodoro method. which dividesworking in 25-minute intervals followed by a five-minute break “. Or ” to make things progressso that they no longer clutter our minds » using the GTD (getting things done) method.
2 – Free yourself from perfectionism
Fighting against mental load means above all knowing how to take your time. “ However, if you are a perfectionist, you probably tend towaste a lot of energy on details and exhaust yourself in a frantic pace»writes the author.
To protect yourself, she offers three tips (among others): knowing how to put an end to your tasks “even if things don't seem perfect to you»dare to ask for feedback on your work “to situate your progress and not waste time on details that are not expected» and finally, consider your work as if it were that of a friend: “Would you tell him that his work is bad, that he still has to spend hours on it ? Or would you try to reassure him? »
3 – Practice social breaks
When you can no longer think, you are tired or you make mistakes, the best way is not to work even harder, but to stop and start again. But if for you, taking a break between two files means checking your emails, stop this habit immediately. “They are way too unpredictables, warns Margaux Gelin. You may receive a new request that will increase your workload, or a negative response to an important project that will dampen your morale. In short, we avoid.»
The ideal? Get away from your computer, get moving “if only to go to the break room for a coffee» suggests the specialist. Practice “social break » , chatting with a colleague, making a call to a friend or family member. A good way “to express what we feel, to soothe our emotions. »
4 – Let go
Practice breathing exercises like cardiac coherence “ effective in calming your breathing and therefore your mind », sophrology or visualization “like imagining yourself in a place that soothes you». And why not take your favorite book to the office and read a chapter to escape mentally, suggests the author.
You can also indulge in mindfulness meditation. “A few minutes are enough to relax », assures the expert. Or even adopt the micro-nap, “ arms crossed on his desk, in his car, on public transport. » Nothing like it to recharge the batteries.
5 – Get moving with or without your colleagues
Stretching, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, parking 500 meters away to walk, getting off a metro station first, walking around the neighborhood after your lunch break, are all habits to adopt and beneficial for your life. mental load.
“THEsport allows you to evacuate excess energy generated by stress, it secretes endorphin, the hormone of well-being. Don't deprive yourself of it ! », insists the director of Moodwork’s research and psychology division. And if your company has showers, take the opportunity to go for a jog or a brisk walk with colleagues.
6 – Take care of your sleep
If you can't sleep because you're thinking too much about your work, don't toss and turn in bed fighting your thoughts. “Have a notebook and pen on your nightstand and write down what's on your mind. It reassures your brain and you will fall asleep with a lighter mind », Recommends the expert.
If the ruminations persist, are irrational or unpleasant, write them down in a notebook as well. “It will serve as your mental basket. Once placed on paper, scribble your notes or tear up the page to signify getting rid of them “.
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