Burnout is a state where we lose some form of energy, zeal, or enthusiasm. We all encounter the state of being burnt out which can come from stress and being overworked. This state causes us to disengage from our pursuits, work, and other forms of responsibility we have in our lives.
Being burnt out can feel like a breakdown in some cases. A state where nothing excites you, life feels mundane, or everything is the same. I have my phases of feeling burnt out. It is okay to admit it, although it may present as some form of “laziness”, it may not always be the case. I think we should not put pressure and be so hard on ourselves when we are burnt out and overworked. It is not usually a state of “I can’t be bothered” or “it’s too much, I’ll do it later”, that’s how laziness presents itself. I know because I say those exact words to myself to excuse my lazy moments.
I believe we need to have some level of self-awareness to know when we are burnt out and stress. How it may play out for one person may not be the same for you, although similar in some ways. I will outline how I know when I’m feeling burnt out, then I will provide some practical things you can do when you feel burnt out and get your energy back again;
I know I’m burnt out;
– When I am not engaged with the things, I need to do
– Lacking a consistent level of focus and attention
– Constant exhaustion, feels of being tired all the time; mentally, emotionally, or physically
– Lack of motivation
– Not taking care of myself- usually by over-snacking or eating too much junk food or not eating enough or having the appetite
So, what do you do when you’re experiencing burnout to get out of the funk and get your energy back? The steps below can be easily applied. I understand not all will work for every individual based on your personality traits but at least one of them should;
Identify the cause of your stress
It is key to identify this because that is where it starts. There must be something that is triggering you mentally or emotionally that causes stress. It could be in your personal life and the relationships you have with certain people. Maybe there’s a crisis going on with your family or your health (God forbid), or it could be work or school-related. Maybe you’ve got projects or tasks that are hard to complete and, there is a lack of support or assistance from your colleagues or manager/s. The list is endless for the reasons behind our stresses, once you identify the cause you can take the next following steps to reduce your stress levels.
Make Relaxing a Priority
Whether we like it or not life is about balance. In all your pursuits and chasing you do in life, working hard constantly to achieve something or meet targets, you have to make time to relax. This can be hard to do sometimes, even I struggle to genuinely relax guilt-free. Do you ever feel guilty for relaxing? I often have moments where I know I have deadlines to meet but can’t find the drive to get tasks done. In such moments I take myself away from the load and relax but find myself thinking “hmm maybe I don’t deserve to be relaxed right now, there’s always something to do”. I’ll admit even after writing that I’m realising how unhealthy that sounds. But I am learning to relax genuinely. Few ways you can relax is by, listening to music, reading, taking walks, visiting family and friends, and engaging in personal hobbies.
Identify a hobby or find something you’re passionate about
Whether you’re a student, employee, a full-time parent, or carer for somebody, we all have something that we’re passionate about. Something that gets us excited, keeps us going, challenges us and keeps us stimulated. This may be a hobby such as writing or knitting. Another example may be sports so you could join a community team. If you’re passionate about people you could take up volunteering in community projects and causes. The reason for this is being able to switch off from the usual and doing something that is just for you. It’s not about money or pursuit.
Unplug from technology, constant communication, and social media
Communication and technology although productive can also allow stresses from work to interrupt quality time and social settings or even being on vacation. Set boundaries, have a time you unplug from stressors, learn to be present in certain moments. Personally, constant alerts, messages and phone calls in certain moments make me anxious, especially in times when I’m trying to unwind. Since realising that, I decided to mute notifications on my phone and even muted WhatsApp completely. I delegate times to check messages and alerts. The way I see it, it’s my phone so I can respond and engage with whatever and whoever when I chose. In some cases, if you’re somebody that’s depended on by certain people, involve them and let them know about your boundaries. Something simple as “between 6 pm-8 pm I’ll be unavailable as I have other commitments”. Learn to be present without a vibrate or message alert taking you away from that quality time. Taking social media breaks also helps because so much consumption of content, information and somewhat of an unreal world can demotivate you. Take a break when needed for as long as needed.
We often burn out because we worry there will never be enough time to do certain things or we may forget to do something urgently. Put together a list or plan your week or schedule. Have a calendar and learn to prioritise. I have a weekly planner that is like a whiteboard it’s a visual reminder I use daily to let me know what I need to do. It also helps to organise priorities for your work life and your personal life. It can be tricky, but it is possible, the list of tasks doesn’t have to be a lot and you don’t always have to be busy. You can schedule some free time for relaxation. It’s okay if you don’t get every task done, sometimes things happen. Not everything can be in your control. I tend to get frustrated when I don’t tick off every task but there’s always tomorrow. You can shift things around.
Though I have my fair share of struggles with sleep, the brain needs rest. Science suggests that averagely we need six hours of sleep and any less than that tends to affect us negatively. Lack of sleep causes poor performance at work and productivity. We can also become less motivated and highly stressed. Lack of sleep also makes it hard to manage competing demands.
I hope all this information helps if you struggle with burn out. Please share this with somebody who needs this. If you also have other ideas to overcome burn out or stress, feel free to comment below.
Thank You for Reading