At the end of the year, I like to reflect on what I had learned in the past year. In 2016, for the first half of the year, it was particularly difficult for me as I suffered from a work burnout. I took a break, went home, did a one-month teaching intensive course before returning to Hong Kong to restart ten weeks later. It was the best decision I had made.
So here are the three lessons that I have learned in 2016:
Know Your Limits
One of the biggest lesson I have learned in 2016 is knowing my limit and knowing when to call ‘quit.’ In today’s society, we are taught to keep pushing beyond our own expectations, that nothing is impossible and that we have to keep trying. However, what society has not taught us is to recognise the signs to stop, breathe and restart. Pushing yourself beyond your own limitations is not always positive and can lead to long-lasting negative consequences such as increased stress and sleepless nights. Therefore, it is important to know when enough is enough.
Evaluate Your Health
It is such a cliche to say that your health is the most important thing in life, but this is the harsh reality. If you are not doing well physically, you would also struggle mentally and be incompetent in any tasks you wish to accomplish. Moreover, once we destroy our bodies, it will be much more difficult to recover.
For me, it took me a good one year before I realised my body can’t take it anymore. After numerous visits to the doctor’s office within a short amount of time, I realised that my body is begging for help and was asking me to slow down. The lifestyle that I was putting my body through was killing it and it was constantly sending me signals that it has enough. Thank god I finally let go of everything and went home before restarting.
The last and most valuable lesson I have learned last year is that everyone is different and everyone functions differently. Everyone has their own limits and what their health is able to cope with. We need to stop comparing and do what is best for ourselves. We need to prioritise ourselves and be aware of the signals our body is sending – both mentally and physically. In the end, if we continue to go on, we are the one who will suffer from the consequences so we need to know when to stop and to fix the problems.
I’ve always been someone who pushes myself no matter how difficult the challenges were but when I knew I was suffering from a work burnout, I knew that was it. It was time to make some changes.