Our work can be challenging at times. For some, it is like this all the time; the feeling like we cannot go on, we are done, hit our limit, pushed a little too far.
It is very easy to burn out; it is not easy to find your way back sometimes.
Physical and mental beings need our attention in all of this.
I have 40 years in the field this year. I still work the ladders, the water-fed technology daily, and at a fast pace. Not a rapid pace because I need to get ahead. A fast pace because I have the one thing that is needed in all of this to keep me or anyone was going…Passion!
I love what I do. In every part of window cleaning, I look for those things that drive my passion even further. Browsing the supply sites, mulling over all the tools and technology we have available—dreaming of owning every last one of those tools to make my work even easier and flow even better. When we flow well with our tools and technology, when we apply sound methods to those tools and technology, we become more efficient. When we stop fighting ourselves, sometimes even our tools, we let go, loosen up, and we start to flow in our work in a way that is a great deal less stressful on the mind and body. It can be intimidating and exhausting, physically and mentally.
When you do not have the proper tools or methods, you are working against yourself.
I have also found in 40 years that keeping the physical being balanced, in shape with proper diet and a nutrition plan that works for the type of physical labor we perform in the environments in which we perform helps tremendously, especially over the long haul. Physical strengthening, conditioning, stretching the body, and the way we shape our physical being can profoundly affect our mental state as window cleaners. When we are of a strong core, balanced and centered, our physical beings can handle so much more than we ever could imagine! For me, basic weight training and Yoga and Ballet have been highly beneficial to my physical well-being. These approaches have found me handling the labor in front of me and the pace I set at this stage in my career in window cleaning. Forty years is a long time to be out in the field cleaning windows! Grace has found it helpful to make herself do things she enjoys when burnout hits. She said, “It is important to allow yourself time for things you enjoy outside of work. I enjoy roller-skating and have found that when I feel burnt out and force myself to go skate, I feel so much better. I may be physically exhausted afterward, but doing an activity you enjoy, whatever that may be, really helps to give your brain that boost to keep you going”.
Rest is vital; no matter how much we try to avoid it, we need rest! We need physical and mental escapes!
Scheduling breaks into the day, a planned stop somewhere random and fun, an unplanned stop for the same reason? Maybe a long weekend, on one end or both? When we know we have a long hard day of work on the schedule, we schedule the day before and the day after as a lighter, easier workload. When we do plan this way, it helps because we are still being productive and getting work done, but we are allowing our bodies and minds to prepare for that long day and then recover.
Knowing when you have had enough and need to recharge is easy. Think about it; you are behind a bush, it keeps grabbing your towel, the spring Midges are buzzing around your face, you just got a rose bush stuck into the back of your leg, and your fingers are split at the tips from being so dried out from the soaps used that you can barely grab with these fingers. You turn around to come out of that bush and forget the screen you placed behind you; you step through the screen material and damage the unit. At this point, you want to walk away and go home?
It comes at us long before we realize it. Burnout sneaks up fast if we are not paying attention; sometimes, we can slow it down, stop it even. Changing the way we do some things, like the tools and methods, maybe something in the office is causing the stress of burnout? Perhaps the spring rush hits, and you are just not prepared, or perhaps the winter was dragging on way too long? Maybe you are on nights and weekends, and it is starting to get on your nerves? We need to keep going, keep producing, keep those checks coming in, the bills paid, and food on the table. We must keep going.
Relax! It can be okay!
Ask for help from those of us who have been there, get to know yourself in all of this. Your physical being, and learn and understand what you need to do to make yourself better! Finely tune your physical being to handle the flow you set, know your limitations, and set your path based on those limitations.
-By Craig Hendzel & Grace Gerengher