Leaving work right now? No, there’s still too much to do. Eating in peace? Maybe I’ll do that at the weekend. Sufficient sleep? No time, coffee works just as well. Meditating or exercising in the morning? Sounds good, but currently I’m too tense for that. Reducing stress rather than just building up more? Yes, okay, maybe little more chocolate would help? Spending a relaxing day with your loved one? No, that won’t work, we argue a lot at the moment. Turning the phone on in the morning but only from 8 o’clock onwards? Unthinkable, especially as the time in the bathroom and at breakfast is essential for clearing backlogs. Time just for me? No, that’s just not possible right now.

Do you recognise yourself?

Have you had that lifestyle once, or even more, in your life when everything that is good for you faded away and you tried to push your body and mind beyond their limits? When you are just running so fast through your life that you even turned your back on the things that are important to you, such as your ayurvedic lifestyle or your meditation or yoga time? Because a goal that at this very moment seems to be the most important thing in the world?

The ego trap

In this situation, your ego has most likely identified with and is entangled in everything that is done in and is relevant to the material world. You see the potential for expansion on this earth tends to the infinite. Thus, there is always a lot to do. Do you really think you are responsible for ALL the work that needs to be done? Exaggerated self-sacrifice and overworking yourself do not help, neither you nor the world. On the contrary, at its worst, it is the direct path to a classic burnout. And if you get burnt out, it’s a loss to your surroundings. Because that thirst for action is replaced by listlessness, purpose with meaninglessness, feeling powerful by exhaustion and fatigue, loving work by fear of work, creativity by mental blocks, quick-wittedness and constructive thinking by feeling inadequate and not up to the challenge, motivation by despair and drive by depression.

If you’re about to burn out, it means you’ve gone full tilt, far beyond the target and put yourself out of action. Getting out of this state is no picnic and often it’s very difficult to shift into a lower gear from an advanced stage. At that stage, most of the time, only emergency braking will help. So act in time!

Rajas sits on the throne

Who or what is actually responsible when one is constantly overwhelmed by not acting in moderation? According to ayurveda, there are three dominant qualities on the mental level. They are weighted differently in everyone and always work together dynamically. Sattva cares about the purity, clarity, awareness, ethics, positivity and peace in the mind. Rajas regulates the activity, motivation, goal pursuit, passions and fighting nature of the mind. Tamas manages the inactivity, ignorance, inertia and unconsciousness of the mind.

Javier-Pardina/ Stocksy United

If the focus of your life shifts too much towards your intentions and activities and even puts your inner urges on a kind of throne, rajas will chase you from corner to corner like a manic, relentless and restless king, until at some point you drop from exhaustion.

The right amount of rajas

Don’t get me wrong, having rajas is wonderful and extremely beneficial, as a rule, for a human being. Professional success would be almost impossible without rajas and we all like a bit of attitude and passion. But it doesn’t help anyone if you make great plans, set everything in motion full of vigour and then topple down on the home straight! Even away from work, in your private life, it does not matter if you sacrifice yourself for your fellow human beings, because ultimately you deprive them of important support should you become sick and unable to help!

Mindfulness as a first preventative measure

Mindfulness is the most basic way to prevent constant over-exertion, to keep your strength and vitality and stay in the midst of life. Without carefully observing your own actions and your state of mind and body, you will not notice that you are starting on a dangerous path.

And then comes the hardest part! When you have noticed that rajas is running riot and leads you to believe that, come hell or high water, you need to work even faster and progress even further, then it’s very hard, but essential (!) , to pull a couple of small ripcords. Otherwise rajas will very quickly pull the big ripcord.

Javier-Pardina/ Stocksy United

Seven strategies to knock rajas off the throne

You will probably have to force yourself to put any one of these seven strategies into action but there’s no other way of outsmarting your ego and letting your intellect take over. If you find it too difficult at first, ask a loved one or your colleagues to help you implement these seven strategies. Guaranteed, they will appreciate you downshifting a gear and be happy to support you.

1) Foremost, plan a fixed appointment with yourself of at least one hour every day. Lean back, try to get into a relaxed or meditative state (this needs to happen before the burnout) and seriously ask yourself the following question: what, for me, is really essential?

Also, try to look at your life from a bird’s-eye point of view and relate your current state and current situation to a) what your life really needs of you; b) your de facto desired quality of life; c) the entirety of your life, next to which the current project situation in the company or the family problem will, in comparison, look much smaller than they feel to you right now. This way you achieve the necessary distance from your current situation and can ease some of the pressure built up in your mind.

2) Minimise your coffee and black tea consumption or give it up completely. Yes, even if you feel tired for a while as a result. Let’s be honest. Despite coffee, tea & co you’ve surely been tired lately anyway. This self-denial gives your nervous system some relief and may possibly help you finally to sleep more soundly and for longer.

3) Consult an ayurvedic expert to find out which dietary supplement is most suitable for you. It can help to calm your mind a little so you don’t drive yourself beyond healthy levels.

4) Give yourself a foot massage in the evening to soothe your mind, to fall asleep faster and achieve sound sleep. Move away from strategy-thinking in the evening and working in your dreams. Instead move towards charging your inner batteries through a quiet and regenerative sleep, which should not, under any circumstances, be disturbed, severely shortened or even omitted during times of stress.

Once a week book an ayurvedic oil massage. Preferably in a practice with strict cancellation rules. Your to-do list will be moaning about what you could do in that time but this is about the burnout that will otherwise finish you off, and soon.

5) And while we’re on the subject of diaries, only deal with what is essential for your work or your private life, everything else can wait. Create “time islands” for yourself. Also, be sure to take two days off every week, without exception. Working through is no longer an option, even when the workload increases.

6) Also reduce your over-stimulation by enforcing mobile phone bans. The best strategy is to set strict times. For example, do not look at your phone before 8am. The same applies from 8pm onwards. This is the only way to make it possible to fill your “time islands” with something calming and balancing, to switch off and come back to yourself. Literally.

7) Schedule hot lunches and dinners into your daily work routine to bring maximum regularity. The more structured the framework in which you operate throughout the day, the less you will drain your body’s energies.

Start the deceleration – now!