Recently I’ve been suffering from burnout. The daily responsibilities of life leave me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I don’t think that I’m unique as many of us are still struggling with the affects of the pandemic, changing responsibilities at home and work, negative daily reports from the media and the list goes on. The only way to combat burnout is to recognize that its occurring, understand why and then make changes to work through it.
First its important to understand that burnout can look different for everyone. For some, it’s the monotony of work and being on Zoom meetings all day everyday. For others it could be the stresses of caring for a family and running a household. For some, its never leaving the house. And for others it’s all of these things and more. Regardless of your personal situation, there are some things that we can do to gain control of our lives and take care of ourselves to break out of the cycle. There is hope and we need to remember that we are the pilots of our life. Here are some things that I am doing to combat burnout in my life and recharge my battery.
First, its important to take control of your schedule. I’d suggest that you read my previous post, “Take Control of Your Schedule” to get some ideas on how to structure working from home and creating balance. Prior to the pandemic, I had the opportunity to travel to meet with my customers and colleagues. Yes, I found business travel exhausting at times, but I also found it truly energizing and motivating. Now my days are filled with video calls, and I very rarely interact with people in person. This has been difficult to adjust to and some days leaves me feeling exhausted and depressed with the monotonous schedule and lack of human interaction.
Some things that I’ve done to help with the feeling of burnout is to vary my work schedule and to work in different environments. I’ve even asked my management to approve going to a co-working facility from time to time to be able to interact with others. I’ve also started blocking my calendar for “meeting free” time. This provides me time to think, get caught up on documentation and to prepare for other meetings without constantly going from one meeting to another. For some meetings that are 1-1, I phone the individual rather than use video conferencing. For some of these types of meetings, I will even go for a walk outside while talking. Lastly, I am a stickler for creating boundaries around my schedule. Let’s face it, the list of things to complete at work will never be finished. Its up to me to prioritize my workload and activities to use my time optimally so that I can avoid working outside of business hours. I also carefully schedule meetings with my colleagues and customers. I think about what timezone they are in and avoid scheduling meetings outside of their business hours, even if it means moving discussions out into the future. This helps create respect and balance for those we work alongside.
I’m also very fortunate to work for an organization that does provide wellness days that are paid days off. I know some people that use these days to get caught up on work. But I would suggest using them for wellness and doing something for yourself. If your company doesn’t provide this perk or if you work for yourself, I recommend taking time off from work to do something that allows for you to recharge. It might be something simple like going on a long walk in an area that is new to you, it could be going for a hike, bike ride, snowshoe or going skiing. You may even decide to do a yoga class or meditate to clear your mind. It might be scheduling a vacation or a short weekend away. I recently took a long overdue vacation, and it was so energizing to just relax with no agenda to follow.
Setting boundaries around your schedule and at work are not the only ways to reduce the affects of burnout. It’s critical to prioritize rest. I’ve created a daily ritual to wind down before going to bed. I silence my phone and watch in the evening and leave them in another room to charge overnight. I read every night before going to bed. I do use my iPad to read; however, I control the apps that I install on it and the notifications that are sent to not disrupt my quiet time each evening. If reading isn’t for you, you may want to try journaling, meditating or listening to sleep stories to wind down. Lastly, I like to use calming essential oils that I inhale to relax my body and mind. Some of my favorites are doTERRA Balance, Lavender, doTERRA Serenity or Adaptiv.
Eating nutritious meals daily is also very important to ease burnout. When our bodies and brains are exhausted from burnout, poor nutrition only makes the issue worse. It’s vital that we feed our bodies and minds nutritious foods to help to fuel us throughout the day. I prefer to plan my meals and shop on the weekend to ensure I have the foods available for my weeknight meals. If grocery shopping is not enjoyable, consider getting your groceries delivered. You may want to take it one step further and engage in meal preparation on the weekends to save time during the week and to ensure you have nutritious meals at the ready for busy days. If you’re not interested in meal prep, consider having meal replacements like protein shakes, greens and fiber supplements available to provide nutrients throughout the day.
The stress of daily chores can also increase the feelings of burnout as the chore list seems never ending. It’s important to recognize that sometimes you may need to delay vacuuming so that you can prioritize self care. It’s ok! I recently spoke with a friend, and he mentioned that him and his wife have changed their chore day from Sunday to Friday evenings. He said this allowed them to have two full weekend days to relax and recharge. Another idea is to hire a cleaning company or landscaping company to help reduce the chores on the list. I also try to do space out my chores, so that I don’t feel like my weekends are consumed.
Burnout happens to all of us and is inescapable. But, by changing some of your regular habits to make simple healthy changes you will feel refreshed and energized to take on another day. Remember that you are responsible for your happiness and simple, healthy changes for your mind, body and spirit can allow you to thrive.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information you can review our affiliate policies.