Recently, I was knocked on my tushie.
I mean it, I was constantly on the go, working full time on top of trying to achieve my hopes and dreams. To quote that Caged the Elephant song, “There ain’t no rest for the wicked.” Then one day I hit a brick wall. Hard. I just couldn’t get up and stay motivated. I dreaded work and after a long day, I didn’t have any energy left to do what I love. I felt like my life was out of control and I was helpless and unmotivated to fix it. Yes, I was burned out.
What exactly is burnout? It is typically brought on by too much prolonged stress and it can happen to anyone. In fact, it’s so common that burned out employees outnumber engaged employees 2 to 1. Surprised that number is so high? I’m not. It takes a lot of work to make your dreams come true which often leaves little time to recoup and get grounded.
Burnout isn’t just something that happens when you are busy or overloaded. It’s also compounded by a lack of fulfillment or when your passion doesn’t quite give you the result you were looking for.
If you aren’t careful, burnout will creep up on you, causing you to self-medicate with alcohol, junk food and soap operas. If you don’t know how to handle burnout it can take a long time to recover, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs and try to avoid it altogether.
You might be on your way to burnout if:
-If your flame for your passion has faded
-You have a lack of motivation
-You dread going to work
-You are irritable with your coworkers
-You are feeling disengaged from your work and losing your passion
Now that we know the symptoms, how do we avoid it?
1. Take care of yourself- Eat right, exercise, meditate. The three essentials to well-being. Good food equals good fuel to keep you going, while exercise and meditation help clear your head and prepare you for what’s to come.
2. Establish a morning routine- This goes along with taking care of yourself. By establishing a morning ritual, you guarantee some “you time.” For example, get up an hour earlier, do some yoga, sip some warm lemon water, and get some reading done before you start your day.
3. Socialize- Get connected with the people don’t see everyday. This will help you keep in touch with the world outside of your head.
4. Develop creative habits- Doing a creative hobby gives your mind a break from work. Try doing some art, picking up an instrument, or even knitting. Learning a new skill helps develop other areas of your brain and can even help you learn better problem solving skills.
5. Write a manifesto- Take a few days and write your manifesto. Declare what you want from life and how you are going to achieve it. When you start to lose sight of your goals, you can pull out your manifesto to remind you of why you are doing what you are doing.
6. Ask for help- When you start to feel like you are slowing down, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart and helps you get the job done faster.
7. Schedule downtime- Downtime is so important. It gives your brain a chance to relax. Schedule time with your pals or get lost in that novel you’ve been reading for a bit. Snuggle with your loved one or furry friend for a movie night. Whatever it is, you should make sure to schedule this into your busy routine weekly.
Use these tips to avoid burnout but it really helps to get to the root of what the cause. Try to figure out what part of your routine is the most unstable and take steps to fix it.
What do you do to avoid burnout?
Also see: Are You in Danger of a Burnout?
Photo: Jazbeck via Flickr