Why It's Okay to Feel Burned Out - and 5 Ways to Recover

February 6, 2015
  • A version of this post first appeared on The Balancing Act.

Recently I haven’t had the energy to write anything. In the past I used to beat myself up over this and tell myself that I’m a terrible person, filling my mind with negative thoughts that would destruct my self-esteem.

While I’m not happy about the fact that I’ve haven’t been doing much blogging lately, I’ve learned to put things into perspective and know that it’s going to be okay. Feeling burned out is not the end of the world–it’s simply a chance to reflect and make sure your priorities are in check.

In the last month I’ve let a few things go that were no longer fulfilling me; I’ve started a new business, had family visit, hosted parties, organized tradesman to do work at our house, been working on some big projects at my full-time job, written client proposals, celebrated my birthday, started to plan an overseas holiday, accepted an invitation to be a guest blogger, tried to keep up with some bridesmaid duties, and dealt with some big family problems; and just the other day, I began volunteer work at Amnesty International.

So when I look back on the last month, I can cut myself some slack and acknowledge my efforts. Years ago I simply couldn’t accept this and would tell myself that I should be doing better. Today, I know that I am doing the best I can, and if I’m not, then tomorrow is a new day.

Why It's Okay to Feel Burned Out- and 5 Ways to Recover

Sometimes you feel like this…but that’s okay. Just remember, it’s not the end of the world.

In the past I’ve experienced burn out, anxiety and depression while studying, working three jobs and juggling a bucketful of other things. Now I realize the importance of looking after myself and making sure I’m giving myself time to recharge. No matter how giving you are, you can’t look after others if you are not looking after yourself. Here are some tips to recovering from a burnout and nourish your mind, body, and soul.

1. Nourish yourself from the inside.
Make sure that you’re eating good, nutritious food. I’m not saying to completely restrict yourself from having a naughty snack here and there or not treating yourself to that delicious dessert after a long, hard day at work. What I’m saying is to feed your body nourishing food whenever you can.

· Make yourself a green smoothie for breakfast or lunch when you can. I sometimes have a smooth for breakfast and if I don’t have the time to have it at home I’ll put it in my travel cup so I can have it on my drive to work. My favorite combo at the moment is frozen watermelon, frozen pineapple, banana, handful of baby spinach leave, one teaspoon of acai power and coconut water. Delicious!
· Have a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts to take for lunch. Cashews are full of zinc, which helps reduce stress. They’re also really yummy!
· Steam up a big plate of veggies or make a stir-fry for a quick, no fuss dinner. Whatever you do give your body the fuel it needs to get you through the busy times. Otherwise you’ll be running out of fuel before you know it and will be stuck in one spot not being able to function.

2. Look after your mind and body.
When I starting practicing yoga few years ago, I realized just how much I needed it. Find an activity that allows you to tune into your body and find mind-body connection, whether that is meditation, hiking, or Pilates.

3. Laugh and find time to be silly with those you love.

Life can be so damn serious sometimes: Trying to be the best we can at our jobs, dealing with the reality of bills and everyone’s problems and seeing all the horrible things happening in the world. Sometimes what we need is to consciously embrace being light-hearted, rather than waiting for something funny and delightful to come along. “Laughter is the best medicine,” so take some time out to catch up with a friend, give your mom a call, or go on a date with that special someone in your life. And if something isn’t going exactly how you’d planned (because it never usually does) then try to see the positive side. It’s so easy to focus on the negative, and it does take practice to let things go, but when you do it’s like the weight of the world has lifted of your shoulders. Every day I try and look at the lighter side of life after spending so long taking everything to heart and being so serious. This is the only life you get so have fun while you’re living it!

4. Exercise regularly and do a team sport.
If you love going to the gym, go for it–but there are plenty of other options for people who get bored by the gym. At the moment my weekly exercise includes netball, pole dancing and yoga. A team sport can really boost your self-confidence and it’s a good way to socialize and meet new people. Jump on Google and start searching. So many places offer free trials or cheap introductory passes so you can try before you buy. Exercise is not only good for your health, but also one of the best ways to reduce stress.

5. Take some time out.
Even if it seems like you don’t have the time, you really just need to make the time. I’ve started to make it a habit to leave my desk at lunchtime and I’ve found a seat near the lake where I take my lunch and book to get out of the office and get some fresh air. It’s a great way to break up the day and it really makes a difference to my day if I’m feeling a little stressed. There was a time where I wouldn’t leave the office and would eat my lunch at my desk. This is not a good habit so snap out of it now! Get your nails done, watch a movie, read a book, get a massage, have a bath, do whatever it is to give yourself a break. Even if it’s only for half an hour, take some time out.

Start small and don’t expect to make heaps of changes at once. It’s taken me years just to learn how to relax and I still have trouble doing it. Make small changes each day and eventually it won’t seem like such an effort.

I’m not perfect but no one really is. Some days I can feel the anxiety bubbly away in the pit of my stomach, threatening to overtake my body and mind. But I’ve found and I am finding different ways of taking care of myself and dealing with the daily grind and everything in between. So make sure you give yourself time out and be kind to yourself! Namaste x

What do you do to keep yourself sane during busy times?

Related: 4 Steps to Centering Yourself

6 Steps to Restoring Your Energy!

3 Self Healing Yoga Breaths

What It’s Okay to Fail Sometimes


Photo: Samantha T. via Flickr

Amelia Bidgood is a writer, communications professional and advocate for living a balanced lifestyle. She's from Australia and one of her many goals is to radiate positive vibes into the life of others. Check out her blog The Balancing Act and follow her on Instagram @_thebalancingact_ for travel, wellness and food inspo.


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