Common Signs of Burnout
- Chronic stress
- Physical manifestations of stress such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.
- Loss of appetite
- and so on
There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. Sometimes, life can deal you a tough hand. The good news is that there are ways to cope with burnout.
Step 1: Make a List
This is the first and most important step. Put it all down on paper so that you don’t have a thousand and one things floating around your head and sapping your energy.
The list of tasks you have should bring about clarity. Now, you’ll need to sort them out into three categories: Urgent, Important, and Others.
The first thing you’ll need to do is get the urgent stuff done and out of the way. The rest can wait. Once your level of urgency is reduced, you’ll be able to breathe.
Now, focus on the important stuff while checking off one task from the ‘Others’ list daily. The items in the ‘Others’ category could be household chores, catching up with a friend, etc.
Step 2: Make Time To De-Stress
There’s no right or wrong answer here because different people do it differently. Some people meditate, some do yoga, and some hit the punching bag. What matters here is that the activity needs to give you some release from your pent-up frustration.
If riding a roller coaster or swimming at the beach does that for you, then that’s what you need to do. Don’t struggle with yoga just because the books tell you to do that.
Step 3: Create a Schedule
Achieving work-life balance is a juggling act…and just like any good juggling act, there is a pattern involved. Your schedule is a pattern or a routine.
Call it whatever you want, but just know that you need one. Decide what time you’ll wake, how long you’ll spend working, what time you’ll stop work, when your leisure hours start, what time you’ll exercise when you’ll sleep, and so on.
When you have a routine, you’ll have less decision fatigue. It’s easier to follow structure, and contrary to popular belief, structure gives you more freedom than trying to wing your day haphazardly.
Step 4: Be Proactive and Overcome Inertia
The best way to beat burnout is to take an active interest in changing things up. Since what you’ve done so far has only caused you burnout, it’s time for new measures. (Apply the three steps above.)
It’s very easy to sink into a state of depression where you want to do nothing, and nothing interests you. When you stay in this stage for too long, you’ll be in a state of inertia, and it’ll require Herculean effort on your part to get back on track.
The key to breaking inertia will be to start engaging in new activities/routine slowly. Initially, it’s best to get started with slow, progressive steps.
Once you gain some momentum, then you can accelerate over the next couple of weeks until you’re roaring and tearing up the track.
By applying the four tips above, you’ll be able to cope with burnout and reclaim your life. It’s never going to get easier. You’ll just need to get stronger and smarter.
Once you understand this, you’ll accept the challenges of the journey and do what it takes to reach your destination.