Let me paint you a picture of how the last couple weeks have been for me: I wake up in the morning with a desire to do absolutely nothing except fall back asleep. I go through my day feeling exhausted, no matter how many cups of coffee or hours of sleep I’ve gotten throughout the night. I’m irritable, moody, and just waiting to crawl back into bed when I get home from work. This my friends, is burn out.
The concept of burn out never really clicked with me until recently. I understood how people could get overworked but I never thought I was one of those people. I would mistake my burn out for depression. Though my burn outs would usually lead to a depressive state, I think if I understood the difference I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself for reaching rock bottom.
A few weeks back a friend of mine referred to me as a workaholic. What? Me? No way. Sure I clocked more hours than required and traveled a lot, but it was all part of the job. And I loved it. Why should I slow down?
What I’ve come to learn is that your down time is just as important as your up time. If you’re in a constant state of ‘go go go’, you will inevitably burn out.
A few ways to tell if you’re experiencing burn out:
- You’re exhausted. It doesn’t matter how much sleep you get, you can’t seem to wake up and get going in a productive way. You’re brain foggy and just not fully with it. Your body is smart and knows things before you do, listen to it.
- You’re taking less care of yourself. When you get burnt out or overworked, little things are the first to fall off the radar. Maybe you’re waking up later only to rush to work. Or you’re coming home with the only desire of crawling back into bed.
- Your relationships are suffering. When you’re burnt out, it’s easy to take that frustration out on others. When you’re finding yourself getting worked up over unfair or unnecessary things, it might be time to reevaluate.
When you don’t make space for what truly matters in your life, you’re going to reach a point where you’re no longer productive, helpful or motivated. Balance is important. Making room for yourself and rest is just as important as making room for work.
Now that we understand burn out a little more, how do we fix it?
- Prioritize your routines. Every morning and every evening, you should set aside time for yourself. Whether this is 15 minutes or 2 hours, it is a meeting with yourself that you do not break. Keeping this structure in the beginning and end of your day will allow you to stay on top of your rest.
- Unplug. One of the major indicators of burn out for me is foggy brain. Once I begin to feel less present in my everyday routines, I know it’s time to unplug. I put my phone away for a few hours, and sometimes a few days. i will leave it in my car or on a separate floor in the building.
- Push for patience. When you’re finding yourself getting irritable with others in an unhealthy way, this is the perfect time to practice patience. If you’re struggling to practice patience, practice letting go of your ego. Why are you so drawn to anger with this person or situation? What do you need to let go of to become more self aware?
The easiest thing to do is to avoid burn out all together. But we aren’t perfect, and you’ll probably find yourself in times of burn out without realizing. Be patient with yourself and with others, look inward and remember it will pass.
Have you struggled with burn out? If so, what are your coping mechanisms? Would love to hear your techniques! Thank you for reading xx.