Feeling burned out?
You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. At any given time, the statistics showing the number of burned out professionals in the U.S. are shockingly high. Our culture has long promoted this as the standard vision of adulthood: functional adult = stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
Why does it happen?
It starts with seemingly never-ending responsibilities like work, kids, bills, and chores. This is where burnout begins, the overwhelming thought of all we have to do.
Then, it's aggravated by not being able to balance it all. Fitting in all we have to do in a day is intense, and there's simply not enough time. We have to prioritize and cut some of it, which leaves us feeling dissatisfied. It can be a no-win situation.
When these two things continue for long periods of time, we are pushed past the limit and find ourselves uninspired, losing excitement and passion for the career or activities we once cared about. Enter Burnout.
What to do about it
Depending on how long and severely you’ve been feeling this way, using any or all the strategies below can help.
- Break It Up - One of the tricks of burnout is that we feel overwhelmed. That overwhelm can be managed by thinking and planning differently. Instead of thinking about all the tasks that need to be done in an entire month or week, break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. For some people, it helps to schedule every little detail to the minute, while for others it helps to schedule concrete goals. The idea is to figure out how to make it manageable for you by breaking it up. Then, it can be put out of mind until it’s time to focus on that specific task.
- Self-Care is Essential - This is an important topic, especially when we’re talking about burnout. Self-care can include healthy sleep, healthy meals, minimizing caffeine and alcohol, exercise, mindfulness, laughing with friends, playing with children, date nights, hobbies, and anything else that helps to support, sustain, and encourage you to be your healthiest self. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.
- Take a (mini) vacation - We all need a break sometimes, and by sometimes, I mean regularly. Whether you have the ability to take a few hours, a week, or a month away, I suggest you do it soon. If you can, schedule a “mental health day” every month or two. Stay home, go out with a friend or spouse, or do whatever you need to recharge. I encourage you to look at your long-term calendar to tentatively plan breaks/vacations for the year. Knowing you have a few days or a week off every so often can really help ease the feelings associated with burnout.
- Ask for Help - We all need a little help at times. Whether it’s a babysitter so you can get a break from the kids, or a co-worker to help finalize a project, asking for help takes confidence and strength. Being willing to ask for assistance reveals an inner self-confidence, because asking for help can be hard to do.
I’m here if you want to talk. Take care!