In recent conversations with several executives, a common theme emerges — a relentless work environment marked by fewer employees, escalating demands, packed schedules, and incessant communication through texts, emails, and chat apps. The consequence? These executives are running on fumes, feeling utterly drained.

When you’re depleted, creativity, objectivity, and sound decision-making become elusive. You might notice a growing frustration with those around you and a sense of self-annoyance for not performing at your best. This situation can trap you in a never-ending loop of exhaustion.

So, how do you escape this cycle? The key is to replenish your own well-being, and it doesn’t require radical or dramatic changes. You can start with small, manageable shifts that you can experiment with and incorporate into your daily routine.

Here are a few practical ideas:

  1. Mindful Meals: Dedicate 15 to 30 minutes to savor your meals. Put away your devices and immerse yourself in the act of eating. Slowing down can make a significant difference.
  2. Take a Stroll: Go for a leisurely walk during your day. It’s a simple way to clear your mind and recharge your energy.
  3. Moments of Joy: Allocate a few minutes to engage in activities that bring you happiness. Whether it’s listening to music, dancing, singing, reading, playing with your child or pet, or chatting with a friend, these moments can rejuvenate your spirit.
  4. Set Intentions: Before meetings or tasks, set intentions for yourself. For instance, decide to ask clarifying questions that guide others in finding solutions, rather than shouldering everything yourself.
  5. Learn to Say No: Practice saying “no,” “not now,” and “not me” when necessary. This empowers you to manage your commitments and prioritize self-care.

In reality, to be the best version of yourself for those around you and effectively handle challenging situations, you must ensure your cup is full. As flight attendants instruct during safety briefings, “Put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” In other words, prioritize your well-being, so you can continue to excel both personally and professionally.