How to fight burnout when it hits us

It has become a huge thing to feel so burnt out that we forget what our names are and start to feel an overwhelming sense of emotions. Not only does it affect us mentally, but it affects us physically and also in our everyday lives. There are countless articles online that describe exactly what burnout is and how it has become a huge part of our society, especially in millenials. According to Merriam Webster, burnout is defined as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.” In other words, it is the overall sensation of feeling like absolute shit.

I usually always ask on my IG what I should blog about and burnout was a popular topic amongst my followers. As I did the research on burnout and what causes it, I realized that I have been a victim of it more often than I thought. In the last year (2019), my mental health was deteriorating rapidly and I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what was bringing on these sensations. It’s important to understand exactly what stress is and how we’re exposed to it. Stress is something we can physically feel and see, when our foreheads start beading up with sweat or our hands get clammy at the thought of something, sometimes it’s that deep belly ache that we can’t shake off. The thing about stress is that it comes so rapidly, we don’t know exactly when it’ll hit us; stress is so invisible that we may be stressing out and we don’t even know that we are.

Stress comes in many different forms. From feeling like there’s not enough time to do what you want or struggling to concentrate, stress is a silent asshole that just doesn’t seem to know when to stop. Unfortunately, stress can become so chronic that it will end up leading to burnout. Signs of burnout can include and are not limited to, mental and physical exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed, unable to meet certain demands or deadlines and/or the loss of motivation or interest in roles or positions. Stress leads to burnout and burnout leads to unhappiness. While it seems like just reading this post is stressing you out, fret not, there are ways to recover and to avoid burnout that can be helpful in the long term.

How to recover from burnout:

  • Organize yourself: There are so many tools and apps out there that can help you organize yourself. If you’re a traditionalist like me and love pen and paper, a planner or agenda will help you keep track of tasks and help you manage your time adequately. It also helps to itemize tasks at work and in your personal life so you know exactly what it is you need to get done on a day to day basis
  • Unplug: As hard as it seems, especially since some of us use our phones for work, unplugging for a few hours a day can be extremely beneficial to our mental health. We are so used to constantly staring at that small little screen on our phones that we forget that there is a life outside of social media. Your life will not collapse if you do not answer phone calls or text messages right when you get them. Also, putting your phone in a different location in your room or home will help to avoid looking at it right when you wake up; it also helps to avoid being on any phones, tablets, or laptops 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Relax: I would stress this enough, but even I fail to relax at times. Take some time to just unwind and find a hobby that attracts you. We tend to force ourselves to relax and end up more stressed than when we started. Set some time apart in your day to do what you love, whether it be doing a 30-minute walk or reading a book, anything you can do to relax (that does not involve your phone), can really be beneficial in life.
  • Balance your personal life with your work life: It’s hard when you let your job become your life. I’m very guilty of letting this happen for well over 7 years. Every aspect of my life revolved around my job and it was hard on my family and friends. I thought that they didn’t understand why my job was so important to me, but in reality, I didn’t see how much it was affecting me. Having a clear and bright balance in life can really help keep burnout at bay.

Avoiding burnout can be done, it shouldn’t take much. But sometimes, life gets in the way and we will never understand why things happen the way they do. I’ve learned so much about how to deal with my own emotions and the stress that comes with it. You shouldn’t feel hopeless, especially when there are so many solutions that you can put to the test and hopefully find something that is suitable for you. Although burnout can seem like such a negative thing, I believe it is a great rude awakening we need in order to continue functioning in life. It may seem a bit strange to think in this way, but we are the only ones who can get us out of any rut we’re in, with the occasional support from our loved ones of course.

Don’t let burnout get in the way of living your life.

xo, Miriam

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