6 Steps To Take When Feeling Burnout

Burnout

Burnout is more common that you think. In my previous article, I wrote about burnout and how to be aware of the signs that come with burn out. Burnout is not something to take lightly. Just because you are not physically sick with the flu or bronchitis, does not mean that you can just keep going on and on. When we are sick with the flu, we are told to rest, sleep a lot and take medication to help us get better. Burnout is exactly the same! There are a few practical steps you can take to overcome and heal from burnout.

Prioritize taking care of yourself

Prioritize good sleep habits, nutrition, exercise, connection with people you enjoy, and practices that promote calmness and well-being, like meditation, journaling, coaching, or simply quiet time alone doing an activity you enjoy. Self-care is essential in order to be successful in all facets of life: personal and professional. Self-care is more than an occasional treat, but a way of living each day that incorporates practices and behaviours that help you feel refreshed, re-energized, and rested.

Analyze your current situation

Perhaps you already know what is causing your burnout? If not, try this technique: track how you spend your time for a week – you can either do this on paper or in a spreadsheet. For each block of time, record what you are doing, whom you are with, how you feel (e.g., on a scale of 1-10 where 0=angry or depressed and 10=joyful or energized). Please include how valuable the activity is to you.

The above gives you a basis for deciding where to make changes that will have the greatest impact. Imagine that you have a fuel gauge that you can check to see what level your personal resources (physical, mental, and emotional) are at any moment. The basic principle is to limit your exposure to the tasks, people, and situations that drain you and increase your exposure to those that replenish you.

Take time off

If burnout seems inevitable, try to take a complete break from work for at least two to three weeks. Go on vacation and remove yourself from the situation. Use the time away to recharge your batteries and pursue other recovery steps. Did you know that it takes a minimum of 6 months of taking time off to recover from burnout? Many of us do not have the time work-wise or financially to take 6 months off of work. That is why it is very important that if you have signs of pre-burnout, you need to take action today!

Re-evaluate your priorities

Burnout is an undeniable sign that something important in your life is not working or that you are prioritizing the wrong things. Take time to think about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Are you neglecting something that is important to you? Are you focusing on activities that drain your energy? Take some time to rediscover what really makes you happy and to slow down and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Set boundaries

Do not over commit yourself or do things that you are not happy with doing. Learn to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.

Get creative

Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Do something new, start a fun project, or engage in your favourite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work or whatever is causing your stress. Choose something that will help rejuvenate your energy and fill your soul. Looking after yourself is a necessity and the first step in recovering and preventing burnout. By simply focusing on healthy sleep patterns, eating well, doing things that energize your soul, and getting a little exercise every day, it can help you avoid and prevent burnout in the future.

I leave you with this question: if I asked you to name all of the things you love, how long would it take you to name yourself?

Limitless living!

Are You On The Road To Burnout?

What is burnout and are you vulnerable to it? Burnout is a state of prolonged chronic stress that leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Overwhelming fatigue and loss of motivation, feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as feelings of ineffectiveness are also symptoms of burnout. When experiencing burnout, you are no longer able to function effectively on a personal or professional level. Remember that burnout doesn’t just happen one day out of the blue. It happens slowly and although one thinks one can handle everything in life, one gets to a point where we can no longer cope. Our bodies and minds do, however, give us warning signs, and if you know what to look out for, you can recognize it before it is too late.

Signs Of Burnout

  1. Chronic fatigue and exhaustion. In the early stages of burnout, you may have a lack of energy and feel tired most days. In the later stages, you feel physically and emotionally exhausted, drained, and depleted, and you may feel a sense of dread for what lies ahead on any given day. You will feel overwhelmed and as if you cannot pick your head up from your pillow.
  2. Increased illness and lowered immune system. As your body is depleted and exhausted, your immune system becomes weakened, making you more vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems. Start taking a good multivitamin that can help boost your immune system.
  3. Feeling anxious. In the pre-burnout phase, you may experience mild symptoms of tension, worry, and irritability. As you move closer to burnout, the anxiety may become quite serious that you begin to have panic attacks. This will interfere in your ability to work productively and may cause problems in your personal and professional life.
  4. Feelings of depression. You may feel mildly sad, occasionally hopeless, and you may experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness as a result. You may not even know why you are feeling down. As the burnout grows, you may feel trapped, severely depressed, and think the world would be better off without you. If you are having suicidal thoughts, please contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
  5. Loss of enjoyment in daily activities. At first, a loss of enjoyment may seem very mild, such as not wanting to go to work or being eager to leave, or feeling like driving to the shops is a burden. Without intervention, loss of enjoyment may extend to all areas of your life, including the time you spend with family and friends. At work, you may try to avoid projects and figure out ways to escape work all together.
  6. Isolation. Isolation may seem like mild resistance to socializing (i.e., not wanting to visit friends, finding reasons why you need to be alone). The need to isolate yourself becomes more and more evident as you experience burnout. You may become angry when someone speaks to you, or you may come into work early or leave late to avoid interactions.
  7. Lack of accomplishment and productivity. Chronic stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. At times, it seems that as hard as you try, you can’t seem to meet deadlines or effectively manage your work and time.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you need to be aware that you are on a dangerous path. Take some time to honestly assess the amount of stress in your life and find ways to reduce it before it’s too late. Burnout is not like the flu; it doesn’t go away after a few weeks unless you make some changes in your life. My next article will be about practical steps you can take to overcome burnout.

Limitless living!

Nicola Kassier

Master Life Coach, Counsellor and NLP Practitioner at Continuous Growth Life Coaching