If you are a person who does anything that requires any type of focus, the chances are that you will experience burnout at some point.
So what exactly is burnout?
According to Help guide, “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.” The difficulty with burnout is that you often don’t see it coming until it’s there because you are too busy trying to do whatever is causing the burnout to begin with. Burnout feels a lot like falling into a rabbit hole. The problem is that once you fall in too deep, it’s hard to climb out of it.
Some symptoms of burnout may include:
- Becoming cynical or critical at work
- Feeling that you have to drag yourself to work and having trouble getting started
- Feelings of irritation and impatience with co-workers, customers or clients
- Lack of energy to be consistently productive
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Feeling a lack satisfaction from your achievement
- Feeling disillusioned about your job
- Using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel
- Change in sleep habits
- Unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints
From the Mayo Clinic
Managing your time is essential to getting out of burnout. However, once the burnout sets in, you probably don’t feel like doing much.
Here are some ways you can manage your time while still giving yourself the space to recover from burnout:
- Make a list of 3 absolute musts that you are going to accomplish for the day ahead. Do not go over 3. This will help you simplify what needs to be done and recognize what takes priority. Everything that can wait, should wait.
- Plan to do nothing. Set out a time in the day where you plan to be lazy and do nothing. By planning this time, you remove the guilt of feeling unproductive and you end up tricking your mind to feeling productive - because technically you are marking something off of your to-do list!
- Write some affirmations for the day that outline those three things you are going to do for the day. Wake up and say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write that paper, do the dishes, and submit the proposal.” Keep repeating it. By doing this, you are setting the intention in your mind and training your brain to prepare for the tasks ahead.
For the record, the antidote for burnout is not to be more productive.
It’s...wait for it… REST.
The only way to truly overcome burnout is to allow your body to catch up. It is hard and you may feel that you’re being irresponsible by putting off some tasks, but it would actually be irresponsible not to. Burnout isn’t fun, but it is necessary. It reminds us to pause and rest. Remember no matter what, whether you’re being you’re most productive or partaking in rest, you are made to win!