Are you someone who has a LOT going on?
Since you’re here, my guess is your answer to that question is yes.
Projects, contracts, classes, work…. my people love to have their hands in all sorts of different pots. Creating here, collaborating there, freelancing on the side….
All of this is awesome. Playing, flowing, creating, expanding- Hell yeah!
We are a community of achievers, of goal setters, of the multiple-job-and-interest variety. On the one hand, it’s great to be a ‘yes’ person- accepting challenges, taking on new adventures, continually working to be bigger, better versions of who we already are.
But on the other hand… Has it ever gotten to be too much? Ever felt the “Oh my god I’m NEVER going to get this done” panic?
Overwhelm creeps in and suddenly out of nowhere it’s too much and you are bee-lining toward burnout and it feels like there’s no escape.
It’s sort of like when a big thunderstorm ruins all of your adorable hiking and picnicking plans (or insert relevant analogy here)- all of the things happening was totally dependent on good weather, kind of like being ON your game and gettin’ shit done is kind of completely dependent on your health and energy levels.
When we spread ourselves too thin, we’re pretty much doing a rain dance. When your energy is being stretched in too many different directions all at once, your health and creativity get way out of whack.
If you consistently find yourself run down, even if your day is filled with enjoyable activities, or if you are lacking motivation, can’t seem to complete the important stuff, and kind of just want to hide… check yo’self and get real about where you are at.
Signs of burnout include:
- tiredness, exhaustion
- inability to fall asleep
- reliance on and cravings for sugar and caffeine
- headaches and tension in the shoulders and neck
- feeling paralyzed and unable to complete tasks, even though there is so much to do
- feeling helpless or hopeless, like you’ll never get it all done
- increase in negative thoughts, like you’ll never have enough energy or ability to achieve your dreams.
- daily tasks like cooking or even showering can be draining
- unhappy with yourself, unmotivated in your life
- trying to do even more to make up for feeling stuck
“Yep, I’m burnt out. Great. Now what?”
First thing is first. Take a step back and acknowledge where you are at. You have probably regressed to survival mode, while still trying to be a superhero. It’s cool, it happens.
Big step? Give yourself permission to feel overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed, feeling a bit out of control, wanting to give up- all of this becomes even worse if we are in denial or feel guilty and ashamed of NOT BEING ABLE TO DO IT ALL AND STILL BE JUST FINE AND PERKY AND AWESOME.
Remember this: it’s pretty darn near impossible to play with and feel strong in your creative power if that power source is getting shorted.
Just like when your phone isn’t plugged in for too long, the battery runs out. When we don’t take time to re-charge, our batteries also run out. Once you recognize you are getting burnt out, from there every moment is an opportunity to check in so you can bounce back more quickly.
First Step: Drop everything that isn’t essential.
Your first thought might be that everything is essential. Been there. It’s a lie. Take a hard look at that 40 page to-do list and do what you gotta do to feel back in control-
Speaking of, one of the most courageous things you can do is to ask for help.
Let your support system know that you are feeling burnt out and that you need to recharge.
Don’t have a support system? Think you need to do it all on your own? Also been there. Believe me, trying to do it all is not the answer.
Yes, people are counting on you. Yes, there are deadlines. But very few people would want you to do everything at the expense of your own health.
What can wait a few days? Where can you soften your vice-like grip on everything you are doing?
Second Step: Listen to your body.
Need to take a four hour nap this afternoon? Do it.
Skipping a workout because you are so tired you can’t see straight? Do it.
Don’t feel guilty about it, do it.
Having a lot of sugar cravings? Eat something high in protein and eat clean food- nourish your body.
Do something that seems very indulgent like taking a bath or laying in bed after your alarm goes off.
This isn’t my advice for every day living, but when we are burnt out we need to take time off and care for ourselves. Bottom Line.
Third Step: Take more time than you think you need.
Coming back to the phone battery comparison, I know I’m guilty of charging my phone for 20 minutes at a time, giving it enough charge to last a little longer, but not letting the battery get up to 100%. And then what happens? I have to charge it back up again more quickly.
Same goes for our bodies, our minds, our lives. If you don’t take the time to fully restore, depletion will happen that much more quickly the next time around. Take a full day (or two or three) off. Disconnect from the outside world, from screen time.
But wait! I thought you said I was going to bounce back quickly?
Yes. But it won’t happen instantaneously. Go, go, go is what got you here in the first place. Be gentle with yourself, and know that time off now will allow for more energy and focus later, generally resulting in the same amount of work done but not at the continued cost of your health and well-being.
Why Taking Time To Heal and Restore Will Help You Bounce Back Quickly
At first, taking time off can suck- especially if you are used to going at a thousand miles per hour. When I used to be high energy time management queen, I would start to get a little bit down on myself, a little bit stuck, and was in a continual state of low-level panic.
The fear can be that if you take time off, you’ll never catch up, or you’ll never gain back your momentum and energy. Having been there and now seeing the other side of it, I disagree.
Recognize signs of burn out and overwhelm.
Use that acknowledgement as an opportunity to retreat.
To re-connect, to re-charge, to restore, to re-new.
All of these words that are associated with healing, with coming back to your center and aligning with your power and energy source- they are all about remembrance. That ‘re’ means coming back to. Once more connecting, once more charging, once more storing energy, once more wiping the slate clean and allowing the new.
It isn’t always easy to give yourself permission to retreat. Especially guilt-free permission!
But listen- the majority of time, a reset (there’s that ‘re’ again) is the best gift you can give yourself, and yes, you deserve it.
Taking time off is an opportunity to wipe away the clutter in the mind, the toxins in the body, and the weight on the heart. Much like the rain washes away debris, cleans away dust and brings nourishment to living things, recovering from burnout and taking time for renewal can do the same things for your life- moving out old ideas, bringing new energy and creativity- getting out of that stuck, worry-ridden, panicky space and gaining greater clarity and sense of well being so you can play and actually have some fun!
How does burnout show up for you? What steps have you taken in your life to help restore and renew?