5 ways to avoid the burnout train
Burnout, are you experiencing it? If you’re feeling exhausted all the time, unmotivated, and even the smallest of tasks feels like you’ve got way too much in common with Sisyphus and this guy…
Then you probably are burned out.
It happens to the best of us. Hell, I am so guilty of it myself.
We live in a time where our culture puts a lot of pressure on us to not only have a family and social life but to also always be producing at 100%. We’re working longer hours and many of us are juggling side hustles to keep our heads afloat from our student loan debt and housing costs. This is especially true for freelancers, solopreneurs, creatives, and entrepreneurs who feel like they’re chasing the next big job.
For me, personally, when I’m not working I almost feel… guilty. I feel like I’m wasting time somehow. It’s tricky to just relax as I’m always thinking of what new task I should be crossing off my to-do list. But, here’s the thing, without giving ourselves the time for self-care we wind up becoming burned out and naturally, we lose our ability to be productive. That’s where I’ve found myself so many times. How about you?
So, in becoming quite familiar with burnout myself, I’ve learned a thing or two in ways we can avoid hopping on that burnout train.
1. HIT PAUSE
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, take a slight break from whatever it is you’re doing. Go out for a 15 minute walk. Pop on headphones and listen to some of your favorite songs. Pet your fur baby. Even the smallest of things can make such a difference. As for me, I made a Spotify playlist of my happy songs for me to enjoy when times get a bit overwhelming.
2. SET BOUNDARIES.
How many of us feel compelled to immediately hit reply when a client has emailed us? *raises hands* But, trust me, I urge you to set boundaries with your clients. Your life (not your work) should be the real priority and clients will respect you for it. After all, no one on their death bed wishes to have worked more.
So, with that said… with work email, set regular work hours and do your best not to check your inbox on the weekend. If you really feel like responding, go ahead and do so but schedule to send during work hours. Gmail’s great with this.
3. CHECK IN
Have regular check-ins with yourself. Does a particular part of your body feel tense? How’s your breathing? Are you holding your breath? Check in at least once a day with your body and listen to it. One of the things that completely changed my life was being able to identify that something was bothering me and then asking myself, “Why am I feeling this way?” I’d wait until the right answer showed itself which made it so much easier to let it go. It was the equivalent of saying, “I acknowledge you, but I don’t need you, girl.”
4. MARIE KONDO IT
By this I mean, surround yourself with what sparks joy. In other words: treat yo’self! Life is short and if you’re starting to feel burnout creeping up on you, do something you enjoy to balance the scales. Go to that pilates class, grab brunch with a friend, buy yourself an indoor plant that you know will liven up your bedroom, or play Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. This is your life we’re talking about. Injecting the things that give you joy is what makes it all worth it.
I feel so strongly about this that I made a printable of the things that give you joy so that you can fill it out and reference it when times get tough/when burnout is being a bit too much. Download it below.
5. THE LONE WOLF DIES, BUT THE PACK SURVIVES
Yes, this is a Game of Thrones reference but I think (even if you haven’t seen the show or read the books) that you get what I’m saying. None of us can do it alone. We all need a little help sometimes and that’s perfectly OK. It doesn’t make you weak it makes you a living, breathing human.
Whether at work or at home, we all need to feel like someone’s got our back. Do you have someone you know who won’t be at all judgy if you ask for help? Either way, don’t be afraid to be a little vulnerable and ask someone you know you can trust for a little assistance. Ask your hubby to take care of dinner one night, ask a friend to just be an ear to rant to, ask your work-wife to read over a difficult email and give you notes, or seek out a therapist you can confide in on the weekly. We all need to belong in a pack.
That’s about it!