Most of the time, it’s very easy to sense a burnout coming. Suddenly, everything feels urgent. You feel tired, exhausted, burned out- both mentally and physically.
Unanticipated lack of control and emotional overload hit hard and all you feel like doing is giving up.
Burnout can very easily lead to resentment toward the very thing you work on or try to accomplish. It’s almost as if your body forces you to slow down and you slowly begin to shut down.
It’s not a good feeling.
Burnout is often associated with “career” or “business” people, but it isn’t only our jobs or careers where it happens. Burnout can touch anyone: stay at home parents, caregivers, people who are just beginning to try to figure their lives out and even to those who already do seem to have it all figured out.
So how do you go about overcoming burnout?
OVERCOMING A BURNOUT
BE KIND TO YOURSELF + ADDRESS YOUR EMOTIONS
Addressing your emotional stress without blaming yourself is often very difficult. So, yes, first thing’s first: do not blame yourself. Don’t blame yourself for your lack of action, for goals that weren’t achieved, for your feeling uninspired, stuck, or feeling burned out. I’m quite the master at this and it’s something that I know takes work to get over.
When you’re feeling emotionally and physically drained and you know that you have things to get done, the last thing you should do is put yourself down by telling yourself that you’re just lazy or that you suck.
It’s okay to admit that you feel lost, tired and exhausted. If you feel like you need to have a good cry in order to express your frustration, do it. Write it all out and cry it all out, if that’s what you feel like doing. Avoid addressing your emotions, and they will eventually come back and hit you twice as hard. Trust me on this one: do not allow your emotions to build up- take the time to address them.
Don’t have anyone to talk to? Grab a journal. Allow yourself to feel, without any judgment. Express your frustration, stress, sadness or fears. Journaling (along with meditation) isn’t just great ways of addressing your emotional stress, but they’re also tools that will help you over time when it comes to overcoming burnout. Keep at it regularly, and you will notice that your response to stress will eventually change, thus reducing your chances of having another burnout.
One of the best and probably one of the most important things you can do when feeling exhausted and burned out is… taking a break. Quiet your mind.
Even when one of the first instincts you feel is to power through that dark path, remember that it’s okay to stop. If you can’t do that, then at least try to slow down. For a second, stop trying to reach for things you’ve been trying to achieve or overcome, and take some time out to decompress. Take some time out to reset; once you’re ready to go ahead and ease back into your routine, do so slowly.
REORGANIZE + SWITCH THINGS UP
Simplify, declutter. Get rid of any junk or useless bits of paper, old magazines- anything that you don’t need but for some reason, you keep it around.
Overcoming a burnout is twice as hard when you’re surrounded by junk when you’re sitting in a messy office or room where there’s so much to do, you don’t even know where you should start. If every single one of your days looks the same, don’t be afraid to switch things up a little; try something new. To give you an example, most of the time I write at my desk, but whenever I have difficulty finding words or expressing my thoughts, I pick up my laptop and sit in the kitchen and look out the huge window into our yard, while gathering my thoughts. This works almost 100% of the time- don’t underestimate the power of changing your environment or switching up your routine.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH INSPIRATION
Read books that make you happy, listen to music that makes you feel relaxed, do things that bring you joy, create a vision board for yourself. Try to find that spark again. The more you remind yourself of your “why” the easier overcoming a burnout will be.
REMEMBER THIS: MOTIVATION CAN ONLY COME FROM WITHIN
Sure, sometimes you come across an inspiring video or an article, a quote, that makes you feel all fired up inside. You’re thinking “yes, yes, yes! This is it, it’s time for me to get out of this slump and turn things around.” The truth is, there are also times and days where you can watch ten or twenty motivational speeches, yet nothing will change.
Think about it. If accomplishing goals and dreams and fulfilling your big plans, or staying disciplined were easy, we’d all be living out our dream lives. We’d all have nothing to complain and cry about. A lot of people will tell you to “just stay positive and happy” and “raise your vibes” and it’ll all work out. While those things are important, they will get you nowhere unless you’re prepared to do the work.
I’m not saying this to discourage you, I’m saying this to prepare you. When you put yourself in that mindset and realize that things won’t always come easy, that it actually takes work to get to where you want to go, you prepare yourself for potential obstacles, setbacks or small failures and, well… the hard work. Once you’ve lost that motivation, you and you alone are the only person that can find it once again.
Even though I’m not a huge fan of the whole “finding a balance” thing (because wtf does that even mean?) I do think that there really isn’t a better word for what I’m trying to say here. You have to be able to divide your time, and attention between all the things you work on, equally. It doesn’t mean that everything will always go perfectly. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have bad days, or that you won’t struggle with finding inspiration and a will to keep going.
Finding that “balance” isn’t about things seamlessly blending in together. It’s about not losing your sanity when the shit hits the fan. It’s about equipping yourself with tools, habits, and routines that will help you restock and restore that mental and physical energy.