Escaping Burnout

by Amy Steinberg Published Jan 23, 2018 Last updated Jan 23, 2018

Have you ever felt as though you’re only going through the motions? Maybe you love what you do, but you’ve found yourself struggling to find the energy or motivation to be productive in your day-to-day. You might be tempted to battle through the physical or emotional exhaustion it brings, but doing so can be dangerous and lead you to burn out. It’s far better to change your mindset for better mental and physical health in the long term.

Burnout is a state of chronic stress that presents itself as extreme exhaustion, both physically and mentally. On one hand, you feel frustrated, but at the same time, you also feel disconnected.

Recognizing Burnout

Feeling burned out can steal your enthusiasm and sense of value. You can’t escape it until you recognize the symptoms. Feelings of detachment or isolation are signs of burnout, as are a cynical or negative attitude. A constant feeling of irritability, with seemingly no explanation, may also be a sign. Of course, it’s important to remember that you might feel all or none of these.

Creating Your Burnout Escape Plan

Before you let these feelings overtake you, create a plan to fight back and regain focus on your purpose.

1. Separate yourself from your work. When you care about the work you’re doing and you’re passionate about it, it’s easy to lose yourself in it.

2. Unplug from what causes stress. Be it friends, social media, the television, or even your family, sometimes it’s necessary to walk away from the things that bring you the most stress. Communicating that you need some downtime away from them for 30 minutes or an hour each night can be helpful for establishing “me time.”

3. Learn to slow down. You know the phrase, “stop and smell the flowers”? It’s not just a line from the ‘80s classic Ferris Bueller; it’s a mantra for living in the moment, for learning to say no. We often overbook ourselves and put ourselves into circumstances that we don’t enjoy or stress us out. Slowing down and learning to say no will allow you to avoid those situations.

4. Adopt a new routine for yourself. We all experience the grind of the day-to-day and know that it often contributes to burnout, but what if you could change up your day-to-day? Think about adopting a new routine so you’re not bogged down with doing the same old, same old day in and day out. Find five minutes to meditate, or take five minutes to simply appreciate the aroma and taste of your first morning coffee, tea, or other beverage instead of grabbing it and sipping on the run. Take a brisk walk outside to get some fresh air when you feel you need a break. Even a simple shake up in the order of your day can give you a new perspective.

If you truly want to prevent yourself from getting burned out, strive for a more balanced life; too much work and not enough downtime is harmful. Look for ways to delegate tasks and obligations to others in your family or job. Be mindful of the basics too: eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Your mental and physical wellbeing is far more important than overextending yourself.