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.
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.
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?