Welcome to part one of my Overcoming Burnout series! When I first started writing this post my plan was to outline tips for overcoming burnout and have them all live in one place. Well…that made for a super long blog post. Overcoming burnout is an in-depth process, one I’m passionate about, and I don’t want to leave out any details. So, rather than overwhelm you with a bunch of information, I’m breaking it out into smaller, more digestible chunks.
If you read my post about identifying burnout, you may have realized that signs of burnout aren’t necessarily one-time symptoms. Burnout is a cycle. I like to think of it as a vortex that can suck you in. It’s easy to fall into the vortex, but it can be pretty difficult to pull yourself out. You have to be willing to make some changes to your current lifestyle and approach to work.
My first tip for overcoming burnout is simple:
Take Time Off
Whatever it is that has you feeling burnt out, take some time off from it. Put a little time and space between you and work (or whatever you’re burnt out by). It’s all about relaxing and clearing your head.
Yes, it may be easier said than done, especially if you’re in the middle of a big project. If there’s a deadline in sight, schedule time off for as soon as possible following that particular date. Unfortunately, if that deadline is further out on the calendar, you’re going to have to suck it up for a little while longer. However, having planned time off to look forward to can help you push through. In the meantime, maybe it’s possible for you to take a mental health day to relax and reenergize in the interim.
I believe in taking time off because that is really the only way for you to remove yourself from the vortex, at least temporarily; And I think separating yourself from the cause of your burn out is critical in figuring out how to overcome it longer term.
It’s Kind of Like Dating
Have you ever dated someone and perhaps you kept arguing about the same thing over and over again? But no matter how times you had this exact same fight or tried to frame your side of the argument differently, you just could not get through to your partner?
In this situation, y’all probably called it quits and broke off the relationship. Or, you agreed to take some time apart to cool off and mentally sort things out individually. During that time, you either realize A) the issue is a deal-breaker and the relationship isn’t salvageable or B) this issue isn’t that big of a deal and you are willing to compromise on it.
Same kind of thought process applies to overcoming burnout. If you’re face down in the problem and fighting it every single day, you can’t gain the perspective you need to examine what’s really bothering you and how you can change it.
My Week Off
Taking time off to re-center myself helped immensely when I was feeling burnt out. I took an entire week off. No travel plans. No agenda. I just wanted time for myself. It was so nice to to wake up every day without a full schedule and do whatever I wanted. I called it “my sabbatical.” I turned off all notifications on my phone and even turned it off completely some days. Giving myself time to disconnect was probably the best thing I could have done at the time.
I had been so busy previously, I wasn’t even sure what to do with myself at first! Once I finally relaxed into “vacation mode,” I started doing yoga, cuddled with my cats while reading, went hiking, took myself out to lunch – whatever sounded good to me each day.
Sidebar: I saw a snake on my hike so that was a one-time activity, subsequently followed by a drinking lunch. Haven’t been on a hike since.
Terrifying reptiles aside, the time away allowed me to relax and clear my head. In doing so, I figured out what was burning me out and what I needed to break the cycle.
Overcoming Burnout: Part Two
It’s amazing how a little time and space can help you put things into perspective. And that’s part one of my overcoming burnout series! Easy enough, right? Next up, we’re going to talk about digging deep within yourself and crafting an overcoming burnout gameplan. This is where the fun really begins!