We’ve all experienced the burnout: Those moments, those days, and, yes, weeks where you’re both completely mentally and physically exhausted. I know the feeling well – where after coming home from work instead of focusing on future goals or projects, I lose motivation and can do little more than veg out on the couch.
Feeling constantly overwhelmed, overloaded, and depleted is terrible. Our bodies and minds can handle stress in short bursts but not for long periods of time. If we do force constant stress on ourselves, we become moodier, have increased negative thinking, decreased productivity, decreased confidence, depression, and resentfulness. And the stressors for a burnout can come from anywhere: work, family, friends, or simply the world around you.
It’s a life out of balance.
So before I swung too far into the burnout state, I set out to learn some tricks to find more balance so those days of feeling burnt out come few and far between. I listened to the Kwik Brain with Jim Kwik podcast where Jim Kwik provided some much welcomed tips and insight into creating a balanced life.
Kwik assures that if you’re feeling the symptoms of a burnout, it is simply “a signal, not a sentence.” You don’t have to perpetually remain in this overwhelming state. It’s your body’s and mind’s way of telling you that you need to rearrange your priorities.
So what are signs you’re in the midst of a burnout?
- Exhaustion – You’re tired all the time both physically and mentally.
- Cynicism – Negative thinking takes over affecting your mood, confidence, and interest in activities.
- Inefficacy – Productivity and performance decreases.
If any of these signs have cropped up in your life recently, the good news is there are six tricks you can practice to radically change from this debilitating state.
6 Steps to Overcome the Burnout
- Space – Schedule time off for yourself. Kwik calls this ‘white space’. This space allows you to reconnect, allowing your body and mind to rest and rejuvenate. Make this time intentional doing activities that refuel you whether it be listening to music, a walk, or a good book.
- Selective – Stop over-committing. Give yourself permission to have boundaries so you don’t deplete yourself by helping everyone else but yourself. As Kwik says, “Say no to good so you can say yes to great. You can do anything, but not everything.”
- Shift – Shift your mindset, your attitude, your beliefs, values, assumptions, and expectations. Ask yourself if the current beliefs you have are actually true. This step can be a hard one but if you have trouble, start with practicing gratitude. Kwik suggests turning the phrase ‘I got to’ into ‘I get to.’ So instead of saying, “I got to workout” say, “I get to workout.” Even changing that one word can help shift your mindset and attitude.
- Systemize/Sharpen – So much of our energy and focus is depleted because we don’t have systems in place for repetitive tasks and activities we do every day. Instead, create routines and habits that will free your time and mind so you can focus on what else is important to you. For example, create a morning or evening routine so you save the mental energy used to decide what you’re going to eat, wear, or when you’ll have time to exercise. This is where the Sharpen step comes in. If you create good routines and habits now, it will be easier down the road for whatever challenges you decide to embark upon next.
- Self Care – It’s hard to be driven and motivated without taking the time to replenish your mental, physical, and emotional energy. Be sure to take care of yourself. Eat the right food, get rid of negative thoughts, exercise, sleep, manage stress, and avoid hanging around negative people.
- Support – Surround yourself with positive people who give you energy. Kwik impresses, “A positive support system will balance those that steal your energy and drain you. Create, connect with positive people.” And don’t be too proud to ask for help. You’ll feel the burnout come on more quickly through exhaustion and frustration if you tackle everything alone.
I’ve started practicing these steps and already I’ve felt a bit more balance return and my motivation to work on my goals increase. If you feel yourself falling into a burnout state definitely try these steps for yourself.