Burnout does more than affect your productivity, it actually causes damage to your brain and body. This article dives deep into the physical changes that happen to your body when you burn out. I’m going to talk about ways you can prevent and recover from burnout.
There have been plenty of times in my life that I have suffered from burnout. It’s not fun and in a lot of cases it is unavoidable. So, how do you recover from burnout quickly and without losing your momentum?
Burnout happens when you have been living a stress filled life for an extended period of time. You may feel depressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and unmotivated. It can be difficult to decipher between emotions and burnout so let’s go over a few of the ways you can tell them apart.
How To Tell If You Are Burning Out
Have you been performing all your tasks at the same consistency for an extended period of time with no breaks or days where you can relax? Do you struggle to find the motivation to get up and handle your tasks? Are you bored, unamused, and not excited about your work?
If you answered yes to these questions you are most likely suffering from burnout or getting close to it. Avoiding burnout isn’t always an option because more times than not we have no choice but to continue to live and work at an expected pace.
We all have jobs to do in order to survive. It’s not ideal but until we find something more fulfilling we have to keep doing those jobs.
The only real way to avoid burnout is to find something you genuinely enjoy and do that everyday. That is almost always easier said than done.
For a long time I worked as a waitress. I realized I was burning out at this job when one day I came home from work and just started crying my eyes out.
I was working a lot of double shifts trying to carry the schedule and I was exhausted. On top of it there were incidents with coworkers in the kitchen that made the place absolutely miserable.
I hated my job and felt physically ill every time I had to work. I tried to make the best of it but still left work feeling completely defeated. Burnout was knocking at my door and I knew something had to change and fast.
Rob and I decided it’d be best for me to leave that job. Two hours later, through some amazing connections, I had a different job making more money doing something I loved.
The danger zone of burnout is when you don’t enjoy your work and you don’t have anything outside of work that you enjoy doing. If you hate your work but have an enjoyable life outside of work you’re less likely to burnout though it is still possible.
Ways To Avoid Burnout
If you are headed towards burnout and you need to find a way to avoid it there are some things you can do.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Humans are habitual in nature. We tend to do the same things repeatedly every day, week, month, and year. We find comfort in the habits that we have created for ourselves.
One surefire way to avoid burnout is to switch up our habits. These do not need to be extreme changes. It could be as simple as turning off the TV and reading a book instead. Or it could be an impromptu and unplanned vacation or staycation.
Check out my post How To Plan A Staycation.
Breaking up your daily habits and doing something different will break up the monotony of your everyday life. It will also help you to take a step back and find something more enjoyable in your life.
Start A Gratitude Log
As you get closer to a burnout your thoughts can turn extremely negative. One way to avoid this nasty part of burnout is to keep a log of things you are grateful for each day. Find a positive spin and be grateful for it.
I started looking for ways that I could be more positive in my daily life and the gratitude log absolutely helped me get there. I started finding good things that happened in each day. There was a mental switch that really helped me to separate a bad moments so I could have good days.
It’s even more effective if you find something to be thankful for in the negatives in your life. If you have a difficult or demanding boss, for instance, you might say “I am grateful that my boss trusts me with more difficult tasks because he understands that I can accomplish them.” While it sucks for you to have so many tasks on you, finding the positive spin on it will help you to take pride in the work you are doing.
The gratitude log is a fantastic way to keep your brain focused on the positive aspects of your life. Remaining positive during stressful times in your life can go a long way to avoiding burnout.
Schedule “X” Days
We all have this nasty habit of booking ourselves solid. Sometimes you need to put a big “X” through an entire day in your calendar. This X means you will plan nothing that day. You cannot fill the day in with tasks, you cannot schedule appointments, you cannot work. This is your day to wake up and do as you please.
The “X” day is a day where you will not adult at all. No adulting is allowed on these days. This means no cleaning, no work, no family functions. If it isn’t fun you do not do it on this day.
You can decide to get your family involved in it or not, that is up to you. You do need to inform those that live with you that on this “X” day you will be unavailable for any adulting tasks. It is your day to rest, rejuvenate, have fun, and break free from daily habits. Eat comfort food and do as you please.
If you schedule out your “X” days like I do it gives you something to look forward to and work towards.
Practice Self Care
Taking time daily for self care is important to keeping you from burnout. Take time each day to sit in silence, write in a journal, meditate, exercise, or take some time for yourself. Practicing self care daily can help to restore your mental health and avoid burnout.
Too often we get busy with our everyday lives that we stop taking time to enjoy our hobbies or find new hobbies to enjoy. It’s a lack of a personal life that can send you straight down burnout lane.
You must find things you enjoy and take time to engage in those activities. Your mental health depends on you finding and do things that you enjoy doing every single day. Even if it’s only for 20 minutes.
I found the more I started making sure that I was practicing self care I would find that I was actually able to identify stress triggers faster. Understanding your stress triggers goes a long way in helping to combat against burnout.
Check out my post 20 Self Care Ideas That Take 20 Minutes Or Less.
How To Recover From Burnout
Of course knowing how to avoid burnout is all well and good but what do you do if you have already burnt out? Well there are cures to that as well.
A Burnout Journal
Find a notebook or start a new document on your computer and start writing. Write about the burnout, your stress, work, family, feelings. Write about all of it.
You will find that once you start writing it all out, the words will just start to naturally flow out of you. Having somewhere to write an unfiltered, unedited account of your emotional state helps to clear your brain.
Additionally, you can look at what you’ve written and remove yourself from the writing to help identify where the problems actually are. You may find that you are burnt out not because of work but because you are the only person cleaning the house. You can find where the problem is and make a plan to solve it.
Mental Health Days
Take a week to focus purely on your mental health. You will write, read, practice a hobby, and do no adulting for at least 5 days. If you cannot take time off work or you need to care for kids take as much time as you can.
Shut off at 7 pm and take mental health time every day after 7 pm for a few weeks or until you feel refreshed. We all have responsibilities but you have a responsibility to yourself too. You need to make sure you take as much time as you can to rest and recover.
Go For A Long Hike
Exercise can have an almost immediate effect on your mood. Going for a long hike, either by yourself or with someone, will release loads of endorphins which will boost your mood naturally.
Google for hiking trails near you. Pack up a small bag or backpack with bottles of water, snacks, and sandwiches. Go spend an entire day on the trail hiking.
The combination of walking, fresh air, and silence can be extremely beneficial to relieving stress and curing your symptoms of burnout. This time away from your normal everyday activities will force your brain into a completely different from normal thought process.
This change in experience will allow you time to sift through the causes of your burnout. Additionally, it will help you to find effective ways to avoid burnout in the future.
Related Post: 10 Affordable At Home Exercise Equipment Options
It is important to burnout recovery that you do not slip back into the habits and actions that caused the burnout in the first place. Avoiding or ignoring the hobbies or random fun activities will throw you right back into burnout.
Stick to a schedule, make plans you can look forward to, and practice your self care daily. These steps will keep you from feeling the debilitating effects of burnout. Likewise, keep your brain on positive thought processes by keeping a gratitude log.
If you are already burnt out these three things will go a long way to helping. Exercise like an all day hike, a few weeks of rest and relaxation, and a burnout journal to get all your feelings and stresses out of your head will help. Burnout can be fixed, it can be avoided, you are in charge of controlling, stopping, and recovering from burnout.
What are some things you have done to stop burnout? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your mental health boards.
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