This blog is all about how to deal with burnout.
Burnout is real and we need to talk about it. We feel like we have to do it all, from taking care of the house to paying the bills with a job we might like to maintaining some type of social life. But, we don’t. We don’t have to do it all to live our best lives.
Let’s talk through some of the ways to deal with burnout, so you can get back to living a life you enjoy while making sure you can pay rent, afford to eat, and also have time for the people who matter to you.
This post is all about how to deal with burnout.
DEAL WITH BURNOUT:
1. Take breaks
Let yourself rest and try not to wait until you really need it. Once you’ve waited until you’re struggling on a daily basis and forcing yourself to go through the motions because you “have” to, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
You deserve to live a life full of joy and breaks and rest and fun no matter how much work or how many obligations you have to deal with. That’s why breaks should be a regular part of your schedule as much as work and other responsibilities are part of your schedule.
Keep in mind that, by break, you can take five minutes at lunch time to shake your body out or dance to your favorite song or even go for a brisk walk outside of the place where you work.
Breaks don’t have to be major commitments where you take a day off from working (although, depending on where you are with your mental health and what you need, they totally can be!).
Start with rest that feels manageable and move from there until you’re feeling alive, rejuvenated, and enjoying your life again.
Along with breaks comes self-care. Everyone has a different idea of what self-care means and some people think it could never be for them because they’re not the type of people to sit in a bubble bath with a face mask.
As much as that’s important for some people to really relax and forget about responsibilities for a little while, for others, self-care can be completely different.
It can be going out with the friends you haven’t seen in months or it can be going through your credit card statements to make sure everything matches. The bottom line is you define what self-care means to you.
However, self-care can also include the difficult stuff like saying no to a family member because you don’t have the energy to be around people. As much as you can enjoy your bubble bath, you also need to ask yourself “what can I do right now to help out my future self?”
Once you answer that question, you’ll get a better idea of what you and your future self need and how you can really prioritize self-care by taking action right now.
3. Set boundaries
Clear boundaries are the foundation for healthy relationships in every aspect of your life. These boundaries help you separate yourself from family, friends, partners, and work. They don’t have to be harsh or scary, but they do need to make it easier for you to deal with burnout.
For instance, think about the places in your life where you put a lot of energy and often feel tired because of that. Maybe your brother complains to you about Mom, so you try and talk to him, but you end up feeling pretty tired and sad after.
That’s a good place to draw a boundary like, “Hey, bro, I love you and I want to support you, but I can’t help you with your arguments with Mom. You can tell me how you feel, but I can’t give you any opinions because I love you both and it leaves me feeling pretty bad.”
In this case, you’re explaining how you’re going to react to something in the future for your own wellbeing. Hopefully, this will help you feel better, but, if it doesn’t, then maybe you shift from not sharing your thoughts to telling him you’ve got to hang up when he goes there.
This example applies to any part of your life where you need to tell someone that you’re pulling back a little for your own happiness.
Maybe you’ll tell your boss that you won’t answer any emails when you’re away from work or you’ll tell your friends that you can’t drink with them anymore, but you’d still love to hang out. Whatever it is, remember to value you!
4. Delegate tasks
Delegate the laundry, delegate taking the dog for a walk, delegate answering the phones at work so you can focus on a project. Get help with the small things that make the big things much more stressful for you.
As much as this will probably seem impossible, you can delegate to the people in your life and realize that you don’t have to do it all. There’s no badge of honor for stretching yourself so thin that you have to deal with burnout and probably not accomplishing every little task you assign to yourself.
No one person should be in charge of all tasks in the home. This includes parents who stay home to take care of the kids because, once the other partner gets home, they share the tasks. Maybe you live alone, so it’s not possible to get help on tasks in the home.
Fair enough, but you can delegate in other areas of your life. Maybe you think through a grocery delivery service or meal prep service, or you ask your sister to move your lunch date to a different day so you can rearrange your schedule.
It’s hard to ask for help, but, once you do, you’ll probably be surprised and amazed at how much people are willing to help you out.
5. Practice time management
At its core, time management just means that you get the stuff done that matters to you the most. You can also get the other stuff on your list done as long as you stay realistic about how long each of these tasks take and when they need to get done.
Time management is all about your scheduling your tasks into your schedule to make sure you carve out the time in your day to get important stuff done by the time it needs to be completed.
You start by overestimating how much time it takes to get a task done and put that time into your schedule for that task.
You can use task management at work and at home for stuff like doing the laundry or answering emails or bigger stuff like plan a birthday party and prepare for a work presentation. Once you’ve designated time for each task, you can choose what matters most and work on that first.
Try managing your time like this and you’ll realize how little stress you experience about impending deadlines or how much work you have to get done.
6. Disconnect from technology
Get off your phone for five minutes. Or an hour, or a day. It sounds like a lot and you might miss stuff, but you’ll be amazed at how free you feel once you put your phone away and allow yourself some time to focus on something else.
You can use this time to take a break and meditate or you can spend time with a loved one. You could even go for a walk and listen to the sounds around as opposed to music or a podcast (nothing wrong with music or a podcast, though).
Technology is a necessary part of life for pretty much everyone nowadays. We’re either on a computer or phone at some point during the day. This break from technology doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty about using it because technology is a tool.
We use it for work, school, and connection. But, we can all agree that technology can be too much sometimes. It sucks in our attention, it can make us feel bad about ourselves, and it can keep us from staying in the moment and experiencing everything around us.
So, find time to take a break from your phone, computer, or other form of technology whether it’s for five minutes or five hours.
7. Engage in enjoyable activities
Reconnect with the activities that bring you joy. One of the most important pats of finding “your” hobby is to keep yourself from family in the trap of “I have to produce something for this hobby to be worthy of my time.”
The whole point of finding a hobby you like is doing something only because you enjoy it. Read, write, listen to music, knit, dance, do yoga, or do something else that makes you happy.
When you do a hobby outside of work or the stuff you have to do at home or the people in your life, you are doing something for you. There’s no better way to deal with burnout than to remind yourself that you deserve time to be happy.
In every other area of your life, you have to be “productive” and “get stuff done,” but your hobby only needs to make you happy. Go enjoy something and remind yourself that doing something everyday for you is important and worthwhile.
8. Practice mindfulness
Stay in the moment and take time to focus on the small moments in your life. This is really all mindfulness is about.
When you’re burnt out and you’ve been going through the motions of work and sleep and eating for way too long, you might forget to take in the small moments of your day. For instance, the next time you eat, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, focus on how the food tastes.
Notice the textures of each food. Decide what you like and what you don’t. You could even think about what you could add to this meal to make it perfect.
You can practice mindfulness anytime and all the time. On your commute home, take time to notice the landscape around you. Take note of buildings, people, cars, mountains, trees, animals, and anything else you see.
This won’t stop you from feeling burnt out and it’s not a replacement for self-care, taking breaks, or spending time on you, but it is a chance to reclaim the small moments in your life that you let pass you by when you’re not feeling your best.
There’s joy in everything and this is what will make you feel alive again.