6 Insanely Helpful Strategies For Recovering From Burnout
Take three deep breaths. You've got this.
In our busy lives, many of us suffer from burnout from time to time. Burnout is certainly not pleasant, but happily, there are things that we can do to prevent and lessen its impact on our lives. These are a few of the best strategies for recovering from burnout.
Today, let’s chat about some strategies for recovering from burnout. I’ll be talking about what it is, what causes it, and how to recover from burnout and restore motivation. Burnout is something that I still struggle with from time to time and am learning to deal with, and this adds to my conviction that it is so important to learn to deal with and prevent.
What is Burnout?
Simply put, burnout is the feeling of being constantly exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally, and is caused from high levels of long-term stress. When you are burnt out, you may feel a loss of motivation to do even the smallest tasks, feel like your life has no meaning, and like you have no time to do things that are meaningful to you. The effects of burnout can affect your health in all areas of your life, so it is important to deal with right away if you notice signs of burnout.
What Causes You to Become Burnt Out, and What are the Signs?
Burnout is generally caused by high levels of stress over a long period of time, as mentioned above. This typically stems from the constant demands of work or school, but can originate from other areas of life as well. Some signs of burnout to look out for include:
- Constant fatigue
- Decreased immunity
- Lack of motivation to do things that once excited you
- Feeling constantly overwhelmed
- Feeling like your day-to-day activities are meaningless
- Constantly being in a negative mindset
For more in-depth signs and causes of burnout, check out the resources listed at the bottom of the page. Also be sure to check out this article on how to become more resilient to stress. Now, let’s get into the good stuff: Strategies for recovering from burnout.
Strategies for Recovering from Burnout
Here is a list of some of the best (though definitely not all) strategies for recovering from burnout.
Cut Out Your Energy Drains, If Possible
The firs step to this is determining what it is in your life that is draining your energy. For some, this might be really easy to figure out, but for others it may not be as obvious. In the case of the latter, I’d definitely recommend doing some sort of reflection to figure out the root cause of your burnout. You can do this through journaling, meditation, or talking to a loved one. Often, when you let your thoughts flow they reveal a TON, so use these ideas as a starting point to find what’s causing you to be burnt out.
After figuring out the root of your burnout, try to see if you can minimize, or even better, remove the stress it’s causing you from your life. Find what you can cut out or delegate from your schedule. Ask yourself if you really need to be doing all those extracurriculars, or working all of the hours you’re currently working. If it’s a person in your life, see if you can distance yourself from them.
If you are unable to fully eliminate what it is that’s causing you burnout, for example, school, try brainstorming ways to minimize your stress. I promise you there is always a way, so don’t be discouraged if you’re thinking “well, I can’t really just stop going to school.” Try figuring out ways that you can manage your time better, or prioritize some time for yourself every week. Delegate what you hate doing to someone else. Whatever it is that you come up with, do your best to find different ways to minimize the stress that’s put on you, because when you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off, you feel like crap and nobody, least of all you, benefits from the situation.
Re-frame Your Work
The next of these strategies for recovering from burnout is re-framing. If possible, try to re-frame the way that you think about what you are doing in your day-to-day life and reconnect with why you are doing it. Why did you decide to start working at this job? What did you love about it? See if you can get back in touch with the excitement and emotion that you felt when you first began your work (or whatever it is you’re doing) and try to channel that passion into it again. Easier said than done, I know, but fake it ’till you make it. This is definitely a practice, so it’s perfectly okay if you don’t feel results right away. Stick with it, and remember your why.
If you just can’t manage to rekindle that spark, it may be time to rest, seek some professional help or re-evaluate your situation in life so that you can find something that will bring you joy.
Know What Gives You Motivation
Find out what gives you motivation, and make a list. Is it listening to motivational podcasts? Seeing physical results of your progress? Reading a good book, or learning about the success stories of your role models? Write down what these motivation sparks are for you so that you have them on hand when your motivation is looking a little worse for wear. This way, you have a sort of motivation kit at the ready whenever you may need it!
Even when you are not facing burnout, do your best to incorporate some elements of your “motivation sparks” into your life regularly to help you maintain your motivation and prevent burnout altogether.
Simplify Your To-Do’s
In this day and age, we confuse “busy” with “productive”. We glorify having a hectic schedule, and when asked how we are our go-to response is “busy. Good, but busy.” This is incredibly damaging to not only our well being, but to our actual productivity and motivation as well.
To avoid or recover from burnout, it can be super helpful to cut out unnecessary to-do’s and commitments from your life. Ask yourself what is essential in your life, and cut out the rest. Is that chore really essential? Can I get someone else to do this for me? Do I really need to join this club on top of school and my other extracurriculars? You get the idea. Remember, you are not being lazy, you are taking care of yourself by putting emphasis on what you actually care about. When you focus on a bunch of different things, you end up half-assing them all when you could be excelling at just a few. Remember that, and cut down your commitments without guilt!
Rest and Recover
In some cases, really the only way to fully recover from burnout is to give yourself a break. I definitely understand that this can be difficult to fit in to our schedules, but it is essential to let yourself rest so that your burnout doesn’t get any worse, and more importantly, has a chance to heal. Take yourself away for a little (or big) vacation, or take a week off to spend at home doing nothing but taking care of yourself with family and friends. Mindful habits, like the ones covered in this article can also be helpful for rest and recovery.
Whatever is doable for you, do it, and give yourself the rest that you need and deserve.
Finally, if your burnout is severe and you think that you may be suffering from depression or other mental (or physical) health issues, please see a professional and get help. There is no shame in asking for help; you are so amazing, and you truly deserve to feel amazing. It is not normal and not okay to be feeling down all of the time. You deserve to be happy so that you can be your best self and shine your light on the world!
With that, I’ll end this article. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and I think that everyone can benefit from this information in some way, as no one is immune to stress. Go kick burnout's butt!