How to get over burnout: your three part plan
Sometimes burnout can sneak up on you. A busy patch at work, or too many social occasions can send you over the edge. Perhaps you dismissed it as needing a lazy day on the couch? But then one day, turned into a week and suddenly you feel like you are losing control.
Sound familiar? Here's my three tips for coming back from burnout... for good!
1. Be gentle on yourself
So you've identified your burn out, got a few early nights, and now you are ready to throw yourself back into everything headfirst, right?
Stop right there!
It's easy to feel overwhelmed when you are coming back from burnout. If you dropped a few balls along the way, it’s easy to let the guilt sneak in.
Burnout can be cruel. And it's also unlikely to forgive and forget. I've learned that quickly getting back to all the things that you have neglected to do when you were burnt out is the fastest way to land yourself back in full burnout territory quick smart.
Take the time to fully recover and get things on track. Setting realistic goals is so important when you are coming back from burnout. You have to be gentle with yourself: writing an overwhelming list of things to do isn't going to do you any favours!
Create an action plan and break it into manageable tasks: set you priorities for the week, the following week and the month. Creating a timeline that you can realistically stick to is critical to getting over burnout, and not just throwing yourself head first into burnout 2.0.
Now you have removed the stress, it's time to move on to step two.
2. Create new habits
Creating new habits is critical to prevent relapse. Once you have set up your timeline to gently ease yourself back into things, it's also important to identify what caused your burnout in the first place.
Perhaps it was a one-off, or maybe you have been on the edge of burning out for a while, but it's still important to identify the triggers and what caused your burnout.
For me, there are some clear signs that I'm heading towards burnout. Whether it's work, or I'm consumed by a project slowly I start to neglect looking after myself. I’ll skip the gym for a week, then get so busy and caught up in my hustle it’s impossible to sleep at night. Queue bad food choices, more coffee and then everything spirals out of control.
Another sure-fire way to fast track your trip to burn out is putting everyone else’s needs before your own. Sound familiar? I thought so…
It's time to be a little selfish. If you spend the majority of your life trying to please everyone, and putting everyone else first, it's time to reassess things a little. In fact, by prioritising self-care, and working out your real priorities, you will have more energy to dedicate to the things you love… and the people you love.
And if you realise that you are doing a lot more giving than receiving, don’t be afraid to rid yourself of the energy vampires. If someone is draining you, your energy, your time, your emotions… whatever, it might be time to reassess. Clearing the bad juju is like cheap therapy!
And your body will thank you for looking after it better too. Now, for the big stuff.
3. Reassess your priorities
If you are being gentle on yourself, creating realistic goals and looking after your physical and mental wellbeing, but STILL getting burnt out, it might be time to reassess your priorities.
Earlier this year, I read Marie Kondo's cult book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up after so many people raved about it to me. While my clothes are not always perfectly folded, and I have not turned myself into an organised wonder woman, Kondo made some excellent points… not just about cleaning, but also about life.
When you are cleaning out your possessions, Kondo instructs to pick up a particular item, hold it in your hands, and ask yourself does this give me joy?
After cleaning out bags of rubbish using this technique, it became almost habitual to query if everything in my life was giving me joy. With this newfound introspection and perspective, I started to clean out my life… and not just the overflowing cupboard under the stairs.
If you keep returning to a state of burnout, it might be a sign from the universe that it's time to change things up a bit. You might make some big changes, or perhaps just pivot where you are right now.
Again, if you are a yes person, this will take some time… I certainly still get the guilts and find myself in situations that I know I should have said no to! But over time, standing up for yourself is liberating… and also very refreshing. Which is exactly what you need when you are coming back from burnout.
Have you ever experienced burnout? How did you get back on track? Comment below or get in touch, I'd love to add your tips to my game plan to keep burnout at bay!