You know when you feel that nothing you're doing has purpose...passionless, without direction or merit? When you become so busy doing everything that nothing really matters anymore?
Like a boat adrift at sea, slowly sinking from the weight of the commitments and responsibilities you've piled onto your vessel.
If you are chronically stressed, feeling depressed, sick of your job, physically or emotionally drained, easily angered, or cry at the slightest thing (that isn't one of those cute dog videos...you get a pass for those,) you may be dealing with burnout.
Burnout doesn't happen over night. It creeps up on us like a slow leak, which makes it extremely hard to recognize. Great thing our bodies and minds are made to give us fair warning, we just need to listen every once in a while.
So, what are some signs?
- Lack of energy
- Loss of appetite
I've definitely slipped into burnout because I ignored the red flags my body was trying to give me. I thought I just had a lot on my plate & this is just what stress felt like...but I snapped when little things annoyed me, never slept through the night and you could FORGET about being nice to my husband (sorry babe, I didn't know how bad it was...)
Burnout left unchecked can lead to more serious conditions, like deeper depression and isolation, so how do you deal if you are loosing your drive & headed towards extinguishing your inner flame?
These are a few things that helped drag me from the ashes:
Don't ignore your basic needs.
Food, sleep & water. You probably aren't getting enough sleep, or choosing healthy foods to fuel your body, and you probably think that since coffee is made with water it is an equal substitute. HELLO! Go take a nap, eat some broccoli and drain that water bottle. You'll be amazed at how good you start to feel almost immediately.
Just say no.
Cancel plans (gasp! Say WHAAA!?) Calm yourself. You cannot do everything with excellence. By saying no, you allow yourself to be great at few things. Mic Drop. Learn to say no to things that do not feed your soul. It's completely ok to stay in when everyone else is going out because you really need some couch/Netflix time.
Create margin for peace - a "personal development time."
Get off Social Media.
Instagram and Snap Chat are my favorite. If there's ever a free moment, I am always scrolling or watching Chrissy Teigen's funny snap videos. Absolutely nothing is gained by shoving my face into my phone for those few precious free minutes.
Take those minutes as a gift to excuse yourself from your phone or computer & take a walk, get some fresh air, make and drink some hot tea, cuddle with your dog or read a book.
Yeah, right! Like I have time for that?! Actually, you do. Re-prioritize your calendar to include taking care of yo-self, honey! You are worth it.
I started a short 15 minute yoga routine 2 times a day (during my work breaks) and started running right after work. The extra dose of endorphins has helped my stress level TREMENDOUSLY. Endorphins spur positivity and happiness, and like the great Elle Woods once said, "happy people don't shoot their husbands."
Take a "mental health day" or actually use those vacation days.
My employer had the option to cash out vacation time, which I thought was amazing. Like, hello, an extra paycheck every once in a while? Heck yes! HECK NO! Those precious vacation days are meant for you to GET AWAY. Escape the emails and conference calls and take a long weekend to do nothing at home. Go to a movie in the middle of a Tuesday. Plan that vacation you have on your bucket list. Explore something new or do something you are really good at...
Give yourself some time to reset & recharge.
We were not meant to be just busy, but to live colorful, meaningful lives.
What ways do you avoid Burnout?
Take a step back, breathe and know you are not alone in your struggle. Remind yourself you are doing a great job and you can totally SLAY this, but be mindful that you only have so much room in your boat - know your limits and recognize when your vessel is taking on water.
Photo Cred - Ian Espinosa