What to do when you are burnt out: 10 survival tips

Burn-out is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. It may be triggered by long term exposure to stressful situations at your job or a physically or emotionally demanding role. You may also feel burnt out when you feel stuck in your efforts and therefore feel disillusioned as a result of unmet expectations.

Almost everyone experiences burn-out at some point. When the year started I felt so excited about the future and I had all these plans. I knew exactly what I had to do and where I had to be. However lately I don’t have the same energy that I did and I must admit a lot of the time I feel really overwhelmed with work and all the other aspects of my life. Maybe that’s how you feel from time to time. With all of life’s distractions and responsibilities not to mention the curve balls life tends to throw at us sometimes, burn-out is something you can expect at some point in your career. The good news is that it can be overcome and even possibly avoided.

You might be experiencing burn-out if;

  • You always feel tired.
  • Feel no joy or interest in your work, (you might even feel depressed by it or unmotivated to go in to work).
  • Every day at work feels like a bad day.
  • Life feels “meh” (you may feel hopeless about your life or work.)
  • Feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities.
  • You are more impatient and irritable with others than you normally are.
  • You try to “escape” your reality and feelings by replacing them with vices that seem to provide momentary comfort/ relief such as excessive drinking, binge watching TV, binge eating, etc.
  • Manifestations of physical symptoms like heart palpitations, shortness of breath, insomnia, or chest pain. (Schedule an appointment with a physician if you are experiencing these symptoms.)

Dealing with burn-out

  1. Get to the root of the problem When you become aware that you are burnt out, it’s important to deal with it immediately instead of trudging on pretending everything is just fine. Granted, it usually takes a bit of time to get back into the flow of things, but the sooner you start to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are, the quicker you can get back to your motivated self. Take a weekend and take stock of your feelings about your work and your current life situation and try to see if you can identify any issues that may be stressing you out. Once you figure it out start working on dealing with those issues and if possible extricate yourself from unnecessarily stressful situations and people.
  2. Take care of yourself Form and maintain healthy eating, sleep and exercise habits.  Make an effort to eat healthy wholesome food, stay hydrated and mind your night time routine. Try not to work just before bed, limit screen time and instead listen to something relaxing in the background or cozy up with a good book. Pamper yourself by making a nice dinner, or go to the spa with a friend. When we take good care of ourselves, we can take care of our business. You will feel more relaxed and in position to do what needs to be done.
  3. Take a break Sometimes, you need to get away from it for just a little while. It doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation. It could just be a day at home by yourself without the distractions of technology. You get to unplug from the rest of the world and focus on yourself. Days like that do wonders for my sanity and re-energize me for the rest of the week. If you are employed, talk to your supervisor and plan to have someone cover for you or leave your desk clear. Similarly if you run your own business, let your team know you need sometime away and make a plan to ensure your business doesn’t stall while you take some much needed “me” time.
  4. Revisit your goals I find that what helps when I’m feeling uninspired and tired, is to look back at my goals and remind myself of the big picture and why I set those goals. This is really helpful because it reminds I still have work to do and I don’t get to slack off. It also reminds me that I have so much more to look forward to if I just see it through. When you are feeling uninspired, look back at your goals. It is like filling up a stalled car with gas. It re-ignites your drive and passion for your work.
  5. Plan and Schedule Have a plan and schedule everything. You will feel less overwhelmed. For me lately, a lot has been happening and my life just hasn’t been very stable with a lot of moving around which has totally thrown me off. Through the madness of it all I abandoned scheduling and that led to me feeling very overwhelmed. My advice is, try to go back to keeping a schedule as soon as possible even when there are abrupt changes to your routine so that it becomes the new normal.
  6. Take stock of your achievements One of the most frustrating things you can ever experience is the feeling that you are not getting anywhere or that you are not where you thought you would be. This can make you feel like a failure and mess with your morale. But what if you focused on all the things you have achieved and celebrated them instead of focusing on all the things you have not done yet? I think that would keep anyone motivated and looking forward to their next achievement.
  7. Change it up Consider working in a different space or look for fun new ways to do your work. Doing things a little differently can help make what you thought was a dead end job or career come to life and give you fresh inspiration and insight for your work.
  8. Ask for help If you are having a hard time keeping up at work ask a colleague to collaborate or delegate tasks to your team. If you’re having a hard time balancing your work with your family life, ask your spouse to pitch in more and be specific about what support you need. It could also be beneficial to talk to your HR, supervisor or your team to discuss any issues that maybe making your work difficult. Having someone objective to talk to about how you’re feeling like a therapist or a friend could be very helpful as well.   Don’t be afraid to ask for help from anyone who can be of help in this situation.
  9. Do not procrastinate When you are feeling unmotivated, it’s easier to just put off getting work done because you probably don’t feel like doing it anyway. The best solution is to just do it no matter how counter-intuitive that may seem because when you just get it done you are left with a feeling of accomplishment which in turn motivates you to do even more.
  10. Say “No” Saying Yes to everything and feeling like you have to say yes to everything can cause you to feel a lot of pressure at work and in life generally. When pressure piles up, we feel stressed and ultimately we burn out and we resent the fact that we don’t seem to have any control over anything. It is healthy to say “No” and pick and choose what you get to do and have control over your schedule as well. Don’t forget that you have the right to negotiate. Learn to pick and choose your battles and when you have the chance to say “No” take it. You will thank yourself.

If you are suffering or if you ever suffer from burn-out, I hope these tips help you recover.  However if you consistently manage your time well, take care of yourself, remind yourself why you do what you do, ask for and accept help, you might never have to deal with burn-out in the first place.

I am taking it one day at a time and although I’m not quite there yet, I can honestly say I feel a lot better than I did a month ago. I’m getting my flow back and feeling inspired again.

Let me know how you deal with burn-out in the comment section below. If you liked this article please subscribe for more updates and share to social media.

Remember, life is a balancing act. Live your best life.

Have an awesome week!

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