We live in a society that praises working all the time; there’s this “go go go” mentality, you work hard to play hard, and in order to be successful, you have to put in the hard work. While it’s important that you put in the work in order to achieve your goals, no one really talks about the importance of taking breaks. In fact, some people might even view breaks as being “lazy,” or “undisciplined;” “you’re slacking off.” But if you ask me, taking breaks is just as important as working hard. If you don’t take the time to rest and recover, you’re bound to experience burnout eventually.
What is burnout
Burnout is that feeling of being physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. You feel like your brain is fried, you feel drained. And the thing is, it can happen to just about anyone. Some common signs of burnout include:
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed
Having a lack of interest in your work, and a loss of motivation
Feeling constantly exhausted, trapped, helpless
Having a negative mindset and/or attitude
Feeling detached, isolating yourself
Even physical symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, a change in sleeping and/or eating habits
So you’re burnt out, now what?
Once you’re experiencing burnout, it may feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. So now what? How do you recover from burnout?
Think about what led you to this burnout. Sometimes it’s easy to spot what isn’t working out, while other times it may require more time and thought. Do you have any feelings of resentment towards your work? Maybe you’re taking on more responsibilities you can handle? Consider making a list of what’s causing you stress, and why, each day. This can be helpful in identifying the cause of your burnout so that you can make the necessary changes to recover and prevent it in the future.
Reach out to someone
It could be a friend, a family member - someone you love and trust. Remember that confiding to someone about your struggles does not make you a burden. In fact, it could even be flattering for some people to know that you find them trustworthy enough to open up to them. Talking about the struggles you face is so much more beneficial than keeping them bottled in, just waiting to explode. Plus, other people might be able to offer you new insight and advice.
Pick up a hobby
It could be something you’ve always wanted to try, or something you previously loved to do. Whether it’s old or new, doing something you love and enjoy is a great way to counter the negative feelings from burnout.
Move your body
Whether it’s weightlifting, yoga, riding your bike, or just simply taking a walk, it’s so important to move your body. When we exercise, we release endorphins, which reduces our perception of pain and releases a positive feeling in our body and brain. Moving our body can boost our mood and reduce stress. Find an activity you enjoy, and work that into your routine. Doing so even just a few times a week can be super beneficial in recovering from burnout, and preventing it in the future.
Understand you’re not “doing nothing”
When experiencing burnout, it's important to hit pause. Yet, many of us may feel guilt or shame for taking breaks, because it means we’re not doing work. However, recognize that our brain and body need time to rest and recover. Prioritize self-care; in order to put out your best work, you have to care for yourself first.
Create a new schedule
As you're recovering from your burnout, it's also important to discover how you can prevent it in the future. Reevaluate how much work you’re doing, and how you spend your time each day. Find balance between work, friends, family, and your hobbies. Set aside time for your hobbies, time to relax, and even time away from technology.
Burnout can happen to just about anyone, even if you loved doing something at first - it might’ve even been your dream job. If you're experiencing burnout, hopefully these tips can aid in your recovery and help you put your best foot forward again.