By Georgina El Morshdy
Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. It’s the result of prolonged, overwhelming stress and it’s miserable. Burnout zaps your joy for life by leaving you feeling permanently exhausted and overwhelmed. In turn, you lose motivation and enthusiasm - sometimes in all areas of your life.
Burnout is a big problem.
Indeed’s recent survey found that 52% of the US workforce feel burned out.
The good news is that burnout needn’t be inevitable.
Keep reading to explore FIVE things you can try today to help fend off burnout in your life.
#1. Listen to your body
Your body will tell you when you’re pushing and hustling too hard. You might feel physically tired and emotionally drained - even if you’ve had enough sleep. You might have headaches or muscle pain. You might feel demotivated, uninspired, and completely overwhelmed.
Your body has your back! It will always send you information about what’s ‘real’ for you in the moment. When we choose to listen, we won’t miss the signs.
We need to get better at respecting the body’s communication so that we don’t burn out. It’s not ‘weak’ to say that you’ve had enough and choose to take things a bit easier. It’s not quitting to take your foot off the gas and redirect your energy to something that will replenish and refresh you.
Working all the hours doesn’t have to be the badge of honor that you choose to wear.
Remember, the quicker you respond to signs of burnout, the faster you can reclaim your balance. You don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom before making changes to your life and routine.
You can choose to act now.
#2. NO is a complete sentence
Burnout is often a symptom of overwhelm and overload. One way this happens is when we forget to instil and protect boundaries in our lives.
You have a finite amount of energy and attention to use every day.
Demand too much, and your energy gets diluted.
Take note of the things you agree to - especially if you’re a people pleaser or an over-giver. Too many yeses, and either your life will have no breathing room, or you’ll start dumping the things you wanted to do in favor of the demands that others placed on you.
It’s worth remembering that NO is a complete sentence. What’s more, you don’t have to justify your decision or make excuses either.
If you don’t have the time and energy available, you don’t have to overwhelm yourself with more.
Take back your time from unreasonable requests and demands. Give yourself the freedom to take back control over your valuable minutes and priceless energy.
When more of your life is taken up by the things you care about, the likelihood of burnout begins to decrease.
#3. Don’t wait for a vacation!
When your life is crazy busy, it’s tempting to push off the reality by relying on vacations for rest and replenishment.
The question is, are you living to work - or are you working to live?
Do you really want your precious free time to be taken over with recharging your battery because everyday life is overwhelming and exhausting? That’s not what vacations and weekends are for!
Instead, choose to make space for rest, relaxation, and replenishment in your everyday life.
• Make self-care a routine instead of a once-in-a-blue-moon treat.
• Carve out space for exercise - choosing the activity that feels best for you, whether that’s walks in nature, yoga, running, cycling, or the gym.
• Get in the habit of having enough sleep every day. It’s a productivity hack, I guarantee!
• Make it a priority to eat nourishing, nutritional foods.
• Invest in mindfulness - whether that’s meditation, breathwork, or journaling.
If there’s protected space in your everyday life when you can come back to yourself, you’ll find it easier to keep overwhelm under control.
#4. Feel supported
We’re not supposed to do life alone.
We’re better together, and we’re stronger when we have friends and family that we can lean on during times of challenge.
Cultivate your support team now. Find those people with who you can be honest and vulnerable. That way, when you do feel the heat rising in your life, you have somewhere safe to go.
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved - and it’s true.
Talking to someone about what’s really happening can take the edge off.
Knowing you’re not alone can help reduce feelings of isolation.
Getting it off your chest and having a bit of a moan can help free up the space and perspective you need to reclaim your power and autonomy.
You’ve got this.
#5. Check-in on your priorities
Finally, check in on your priorities.
Reviewing your calendar/planner is an excellent way to work through this. For example, if you say that your relationship is your top priority, yet there’s no space on your calendar for quality time together, it’s probably worth looking at how you schedule your life.
We live in a world of infinite possibilities and limited time.
We can do ANYTHING, but we can’t do everything.
The more we understand ourselves, the more we can realign with the truth of who we are. The more we know what matters most, the more intentional we can be about organising our day and creating our lives.
Take some time to get clear on what’s most important to you.
Then be radically honest…
What are you prepared to do to ensure your life reflects the things you say matter most?
Your life seen through this lens can sometimes be just enough to spark the organizational changes that put you back into the driver’s seat.
Buddha said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Embrace this philosophy in your life.
Give yourself permission to protect your time and energy; allocating these precious resources in the direction YOU want. In the process, you might steer clear of the misery and pain of burnout.
You’ve got this.