What is burnout?
Burnout is the state of mind people often attain after trying too hard for too long. When you’re suffering from burnout, even simple tasks feel infinitely harder because you’re already stretched to the limit. Burnout is more than just stress – it’s a chronic condition where someone is constantly being pushed beyond their ability to perform.
Ultimately, burnout can have a very negative impact on a person’s life and health. It increases stress and fatigue, lowers overall happiness, and makes it harder to complete vital tasks. Although 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, constantly high levels of stress, mental or physical exhaustion and low self-esteem. Burnout negatively impacts your physical well-being, your sense of self, your ability to remain present in everyday activities, and your ability to experience high-level positive emotions such as passion and joy.
When trying to figure out if you have burnout, think back to the last 30 days of your life. Use whatever scale feels natural to you and reflect on your energy levels, effectiveness, investment in external events, and happiness. If you find that all or most of these traits are rated as low or non-existent, you are probably suffering from some degree of burnout.
Understand your burnout
There is no one-size-fits-all guide to burnout recovery. Everyone experiences burnout differently, and so the healing process varies from person to person. Fortunately, there are a few principles that apply universally.
Since burnout usually occurs when the stressors you are subjected to consistently exceed your ability to deal with it in a healthy way, you may benefit from trying these three steps:
- Consider what is required of you: Are there tasks that you can delegate to someone else? Are there any that are unnecessary or that can be pushed back? Consider prioritizing the most important tasks and letting the others slide a bit to still get them done, but maybe not quite at the speed you’ve had before.
- Consider your resources: Is there someone you can turn to and ask for help? Investigate if there is a way for you to improve your access to resources that make your job easier.
- Consider your strengths and weaknesses: If you can find out which situations stress you out the most – and conversely, where you feel the least stress, you can consider allocating your resources differently. For example, you may know that your job constantly stresses you out, but chores around the house feel much more manageable. In this case, you could try to place your children with a babysitter for at least a few hours after a particularly long or stressful day at work. That way, even if you don’t have time to relax and do nothing, you can do laundry and fold in a less hectic environment, giving you space to relax.
Strategies to overcome burnout
Once you’ve addressed these key questions, move on to implementing some of these general strategies and tools:
- Go on vacation (if possible): Have you saved vacation days? You may not be able to afford to travel anywhere, but you can at least take a day or two off to give yourself some time. Get creative. Enjoy a little stay!
- Turn to your self-help toolbox: What calms you down? Can you visit a body of water (like a lake, river, or pond) and sit or walk next to it? Also, try taking a bath or napping. These things may sound small, but you’ll be surprised at how much impact they can have, especially if you make this a regular part of your daily routine.
- Spending time in nature: The calming effect that natural environments have on the nervous system cannot be overstated. If possible, take a walk or spend an afternoon enjoying the quiet beauty of the planet. Combine this with a little exercise and exercise if you want something more energetic.
- Slow it down: This is a more subtle, slower-acting solution. Under the motto “Go, go, go!” The nature of many late capitalist societies, people function at top speed in all aspects of life. When you try to cram work, social commitments, chores, and errands into every single day, you can feel like you have no room to breathe. Look at your schedule and see if you can cut at least one thing out of your itinerary each day. Give yourself time and space to relax instead of running from one thing to the next until you’re too exhausted to continue.
- Find out where you can relinquish control: It can be easy to convince yourself that things aren’t getting done right if you’re not doing them yourself. If you can let go of that belief and your desire for a perfect outcome in any situation, your workload can improve drastically. Learn to delegate tasks or responsibilities to other people. Trust that they will get the job done and that the result will be acceptable. Being able to seek and accept support will reduce your overall stress.
- Consider therapy: If you haven’t already consulted a psychotherapist, you should consider doing so – especially if you often struggle with burnout. There are many therapeutic styles out there, and chances are there is at least one that you can benefit from. Many people see noticeable improvements in their happiness and overall mental health once they begin therapy.
- Reach out to your loved ones: Connecting with the people you care about will remind you of who you are and what it’s like to love and be loved. This can be a very healing experience and builds you up with a network to support you in difficult times.
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep is incredibly important to your overall well-being. People’s bodies repair themselves while they sleep. This allows your mind to rest, your breathing to calm down, and your nervous system to regulate itself. Things seem a lot more intimidating and overwhelming when you’re exhausted, so make sleep a priority.
Prioritize your happiness
Burnout significantly affects your overall health and well-being. It’s important to recognize when you’re suffering so you can take time to recover and regain your strength. It is therefore important for your well-being to learn how you can prevent it proactively. Your energy, time, and happiness are too important to sacrifice in 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 provide you with the support and guidance you need.
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