What Is Burnout?
Burnout is the state of mind that people often reach after
pushing themselves too hard for too long. When you’re suffering from burnout, even
simple tasks feel infinitely harder because you are already completely tapped
out. Burnout is more than just stress — it is a chronic condition in which someone
is consistently stretched past their capacity to function.
Ultimately, burnout can have a strong negative effect on someone’s
life and health. It increases stress and exhaustion, lowers overall happiness, and
makes it difficult to do vital tasks. While it may seem like “no big deal,”
burnout is an insidious phenomenon that should be taken seriously.
How To Recognize Burnout
The main symptoms of burnout are chronic fatigue, apathy, cynicism, consistently high stress levels, mental or physical exhaustion, and low self-esteem. Burnout negatively impacts your physical wellbeing, your self-perception, your ability to remain present during day-to-day activities, and your ability to experience high-level positive emotions like passion and joy.
When you’re trying to discern whether you have burnout,
think back on the last 30 days of your life. Using whatever sort of scale feels
natural to you, reflect on your energy levels, your effectiveness, your
investment in outside events, and your happiness. If you find that all or most
of those traits measure as low or even nonexistent, you are probably suffering
from some degree of burnout.
Understanding Your Burnout
There is no universal guide to recovering from burnout. Everybody experiences burnout differently, and so the healing process changes from person to person. Luckily, there are a few principles that apply across the board.
Because burnout usually happens when the stressors upon you
consistently exceed your ability to handle healthily, you may benefit from trying
these three steps:
- Consider the demands upon you: Are there any tasks that you can pass off to someone else? Are there any that are unnecessary or that can be pushed back? Think about whether you can prioritize the most important duties and let the others slip a little, still completing them but perhaps not quite at the speed that you have been.
- Consider your resources: Is there anyone you can turn to and ask for help? Investigate whether there is any way for you to increase your access to resources that will make your work easier.
- Consider your strengths and weaknesses: If you can figure out what situations stress you out the most — and conversely, where you feel the least stress, you can consider allocating your resources differently. For example, maybe you know that your job consistently stresses you out, but household chores feel much more manageable. In this case, you could try to find a way for your kids to be with a babysitter for at least a few hours when you come home from a particularly long or stressful workday. That way, even if you don’t have time to relax and do nothing, you can wash and fold the laundry in a less hectic environment, giving you room to decompress.
Strategies for Overcoming Burnout
Once you’ve addressed these core questions, move on to implementing
some of these general strategies and tools as well:
- Take a vacation (if possible): Do you have any vacation days saved up? Maybe you can’t afford to travel somewhere, but you can at least use a vacation day or two to make some time for yourself. Get creative. Enjoy a little staycation!
- Turn to your self-care toolbox: What soothes you? Can you visit a body of water (like a lake, river, or pond) and sit or walk beside it? Try taking a bath or a nap as well. These things may sound small, but you might be surprised by how much of an impact they can have, especially if you make this a consistent part of your daily routine.
- Spend time in nature: The calming effect that natural settings have on the nervous system cannot be overstated. If possible, go for a walk or spend an afternoon taking in the planet’s quiet beauty. Pair this with a bit of exercise and movement if you want something a bit more energetic.
- Slow down: This is a subtler, slower-acting solution. Under the “go, go, go!” nature of many late capitalistic societies, people function at hyper-speed in all aspects of life. When you try to cram work, social engagements, chores, and errands into every single day, it can leave you feeling like you don’t have room to breathe. Look at your schedule and see if you can remove at least one thing from your itinerary each day. Give yourself time and space to relax instead of running from one thing to the next until you are too exhausted to continue.
- Figure out where you can relinquish control: It can be easy to convince yourself that things won’t get done right if you aren’t doing them yourself. If you can let go of that belief, as well as your desire for a perfect outcome in every situation, your workload may improve drastically. Learn to delegate tasks or responsibilities to other people. Trust that they will get the work done and that the outcome will be acceptable. When you can seek and accept support, it will reduce your stress overall.
- Consider therapy: If you aren’t already consulting a mental health professional, consider doing so — especially if you struggle with burnout a lot. There are many therapeutic styles out there, and chances are that there is at least one that you can benefit from. Many people see noticeable improvements in their happiness and general mental health once they begin therapy.
- Reach out to your loved ones: Connecting with the people you care for will remind you of who you are and what it is like to love and be loved. This can be a very healing experience, and it can set you up with a network that will support you during difficult times.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is incredibly important to your overall wellbeing. People’s bodies repair themselves while they’re asleep. This lets your mind rest, your breathing settle, and your nervous system regulate itself. Things seem a lot more intimidating and overwhelming when you’re exhausted, so make sleep a priority.
Prioritize Your Happiness
Burnout takes a serious toll on your overall health and wellbeing. It is important that you learn to recognize when you’re suffering from it so that you can make time to recover and regain your strength. From there, learning how to proactively prevent it is also important to your wellness. Your energy, time, and happiness are too important to sacrifice in the pursuit of success.
If you need a little extra help getting back on track after a bout of burnout, speaking to a professional Life Path Psychic can offer you the support and guidance you need.
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