Are You Starting To Feel Burned Out?
Burnout is when you reach the end of your rope. You are mentally exhausted to the point where you lack the mental strength and motivation to go on.
Usually, we all experience some level of burnout at one point or another in our lives. We find ourselves at a place where we just don’t care anymore which is a dangerous spot to be. Therefore, you really want to be on guard and take corrective action early when you first start to feel disengaged.
The Warning Signs You Need to Recognize
Burnout can creep up on you. It results from pushing yourself too far. Many of us are prone to it because we feel that admitting we are near our breaking point is a sign of weakness. Therefore, we keep trudging along, forcing ourselves to do more until one day we hit a wall.
If you’ve ever experienced burnout, then you know what I’m talking about. One morning you wake up and find that you cannot muster a single ounce of motivation to do any of the things you should be doing. You are completely apathetic and no amount of caffeine or guilt can force you to feel otherwise.
Burnout is a sad state and one that is avoidable if you recognize the warning signs.
Here’s some of what you should be looking for:
Feeling exhausted even after a good night’s sleep.
Feeling negative and irritable about everything.
Feeling very unappreciated.
Feeling like you just don’t care about things you should care about.
Feeling a general lack of motivation.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, then you may be on the road to burnout. If you do nothing, it will only get worse. Let me reassure you that you are not being a wimp if you admit that you are beginning to feel burned out. In fact, you are being smart. If you intervene early, then you can likely turn things around pretty quickly. If you push it too far, then it will take much longer to recover.
Ways to Step Back from the Edge of Burnout
Okay, let’s say you are feeling the early signs of burnout. What do you do? Fly to Tahiti for a month of total relaxation sipping Piña Coladas by the sea? If you can get away with it, then this would probably do the trick, but most of us can’t afford (financially or otherwise) this sort of remedy. So, let’s look at some more realistic cures.
Here are five things you can do to save yourself from burnout:
1. Set Some Boundaries
You’ve got to learn to say no. It is such a simple word, but often so hard to say. Telling your boss no can be difficult and even possibly a little precarious. It certainly takes some tact and finesse to tell certain folks in your life that you need to decline their request. However, you’ve got to set some boundaries to keep yourself from burning out. You need personal time to unwind and rejuvenate yourself. In today’s always connected world, it is hard to escape from the pressures, worries and requests of others. That’s why it is so imperative that you create clear boundaries that define what you’ll do and when you’ll do it. This will help you save yourself.
2. Scale Back Where You Can
Our lives are too full, but sometimes the thing that’s taking up the biggest part of your time and energy is simply unavoidable. You can’t just stop working on that big project at the office or you’ll get fired. So, my advice is to cut back where you can. Brutally eliminate activities that are not your top priorities to free up some time to relax and to relieve some of the pressure you are feeling. Create yourself some breathing room. Put a few things on the backburner. Delegate the things that don’t require your attention. It won’t be the end of the world. Scaling back where you can is a great way to reduce your risk of burnout.
3. Ask for Help
I know, I know we all hate admitting we need help. Again, we despise feeling like we can’t handle everything. Well, which is worse? Asking for help now when you can hand things off smoothly or having someone else pick up the pieces once you’ve crashed? If your plate is full and you are starting to feel burned out, then there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. In fact, it is the smart thing to do. You just need to do it in the right way. You don’t want to go in whining and complaining. Make a clear, logical and persuasive argument. Do it when you are well rested and feeling good. This will give you a greater chance of success.
4. Take Some Mini Vacations
When things are busy, it is difficult to get long stretches of time off. However, you can usually fit in a few 3-day weekends if you plan it right. These mini vacations can help to relieve some stress and give you just the space you need to avoid falling off the edge. Be creative, plan carefully and choose your time wisely when deciding on when to step away for a day or two. If you do this right, you might even discover that others really can handle more than you thought in your absence. What a bonus!
5. Clarify and Focus on Your Priorities
What are your real priorities right now? If you are teetering on the edge of burnout, then you may need to adjust your immediate goals to give yourself more time. Get absolutely clear about what it is that you really care the most about. Don’t forget about things like your health, family and sanity. Take a step back for a moment and get clear on what really matters to you. You can’t do it all. Therefore, you need to focus on those things that are going to matter five or ten years from now. The things that have some long-term value. Clarifying your true priorities will help you make the adjustments you need to avoid burnout.
On a scale of 1 to 5, what’s your risk for burnout right now? What are you going to do about it? Got a creative solution? Leave a comment on this article and let me know.