If you’ve ever sat at your desk, overwhelmed and stressed, and just sobbed, I know how you feel. It happened to me, and it can happen to the best of us. The cause? Burnout. Created by overwhelm, stress, and toxic work environments.
In fact, the best of us, the driven, the high achievers, are more likely to suffer from burnout precisely because of our driven. Our drive lead us to keep pushing, keep juggling, and keep trying to do everything, until we hit the crisis point.
Of course it’s better to prevent yourself from reaching burnout, so if you recognize any of these signs – physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and / or feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment – take note and find ways to reduce the stress in your life NOW.
If it’s too late for small changes and you have hit full force burnout, what can you do to recover?
Here are 10 ways to overcome the stuck, sobbing, state of burnout:
- Self-care is a must. You’ve probably been neglecting yourself and your needs while you try to conquer the world, but now is the time that you must step back and put the care of your body, mind and spirit back on center stage. The basics of self-care to address for your body are, getting 8 hours sleep, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and getting exercise. For your mind and spirit, practice meditation, prayer, yoga and / or deep breathing to bring calm, peace and resilience back to yourself.
- Take a break and get away from the situation. Take a vacation now, and make it as long as you can. Take a leave of absence of 1 month if you have to. A week at home is not going to cut it. You will need some time and distance from the situation, and some real R&R to destress, gain perspective, and start to regain your health.
- List everything you are doing and identify the stress points. Figure out a way to reduce or eliminate as many of these as possible.
- Say no to new responsibilities while you recover. You can’t get out of a hole while you are still digging out the bottom. Stop all new activities and responsibilities until you can deal with, and reduce what you have.
- Practice gratefulness, mindfulness and positive thinking / affirmations. Recovering from burnout means turning around bad situations. You can’t do that while your mind is marinating in negativity. Mindset is a choice. Mindset is key. Looking at the good things you have, and practicing being grateful for all you have, generates an abundance mindset, Mindfulness anchors you in the present, not mired in the past or worrying about the future. Positive affirmations train your mind to expect good things.
- Reassess your goals or find a new passion. It’s impossible to have it all at the same time. At some point you need to sit down and look at the price you are paying to chase your goals. Are the goals still worth it? Are you still passionate about what you are doing? Do you need a change of direction? Would something else energize you and help you fulfill your dreams in a more meaningful way?
- Socialize with friends and colleagues. When we’re stressed, overworked and overwhelmed, it’s easy to get disconnected from our friends and family. Relationships are important sources of support and advice. Recovering from burnout involves reconnecting with people, sharing your story, and getting the emotional support you need.
- Identify what is essential now to prioritize and backburner the non-essentials. Reduce stress and overwhelm by identifying what is essential to do now, and what can wait. The mental clarity and stress reduction that result from focusing only on what has to be done is essential for burnout recovery. Give yourself the gift of space to breath.
- Return to a hobby or try a new hobby. Just like reconnecting with friends, reconnecting with hobbies or starting new ones brings FUN back into your life. Crafts are really go for destressing because of the repetitive, calming hand motions involved and the quiet focus needed. Other hobbies might get you out of your comfort zone and facing your fears. Sky diving anyone?
- Establish boundaries to avoid taking on too much in the future. Overwhelm and stress can happen when we feel as though we can’t say no to anyone, so we take on too much. It’s time to recognize how unhealthy that is, and respect yourself enough to be courageous, and say no to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for. Be creative with solutions, but start establishing and keeping boundaries to protect you from overwhelm and the stress it creates.
Recovery from burnout takes time and attention. Don’t put it off.
How do you deal with burnout?