I’ve been hearing a lot about burnout lately. That place you get to where you can’t handle it anymore. Where you can’t take it. When you feel as if you don’t even care. And you’re over it all.
I find that burnout happens to me when there’s too much on my plate. When I feel scattered. Like I’m being pulled in too many directions. Or when I’ve hit a low.
Burnout can sneak up on you too. Without even knowing it, you could be burning out. Crashing at night and on the weekends. Unable to think straight. Sometimes unable to even physically move.
When you’re feeling like you can’t handle it anymore, like you don’t even care, here are some things you can do:
- Carve out time in your day to take breaks. If you’re going at full speed, it’s time to stop and take breaks. No one will give them to you but you. And you need to take them for your mental health.
- Start saying “no.” It’s easy to get caught up in the yes game—where you say “yes” to everything everyone asks of you. It may not even occur to you that you have the right to say “no.” To prioritize your time. To take your time back. So try it, say “no” to something you don’t really want to do. You can do it gracefully, but be clear.
- Stop being so hard on yourself. No one can do everything. Even if we’re expected to. Along with saying “no” to others, start saying “no” to yourself. Consider what you can take off your own plate. What pressures and expectations are there that don’t need to be. Give yourself a break. And only do what you absolutely have to.
- Set boundaries. Along with starting to say “no” and stopping to put so much pressure on yourself is setting boundaries. Identifying what you will and won’t do. What you will and won’t share. How much of your time you’ll allot to tasks. When you’ll check your email and when you won’t. Setting boundaries is so important for our mental health in general, but it’s especially important when we’re burnt out.
- Journal. Journaling can bring you back to yourself. The self that knows what you need. When journaling, do what comes naturally. Vent, make lists, capture your dreams, draw, color, etc. Get it out of your head and onto the page.
- Go for walks outside. I live in Michigan where the weather is different every day, but no matter the weather, I walk outside. I find that connecting to nature this way helps ground me in a way that few other things can. And walking is a good way to get your body moving. If you don’t enjoy walking, then make sure to move your body in some way.
- Connect with others. Whether it’s your spouse or your therapist or a friend, talk to someone who will support how you’re feeling. I used to shy away from people when I was feeling burnout, and for the first few days, I still do. But I find that in order to come out of it, connecting to others helps.
- Notice the ways you heal from burnout. Maybe write them down so you can refer back to them the next time it happens. Sometimes, I even leave lists around the house of things I should do to help guide myself. When you notice it’s starting, practice as much self-care as possible. And connect back to yourself.
Whatever it is you do to heal from burnout, find what works for you, and remember, no one can prevent you from burning out but you.
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Photo by Mizuno