Caution: Approaching Burnout
We’ve all been there.
You start this new great daily routine, you show up every single day, your grind through the weeks, everything is honky-dory and then, without notice, you hit the great wall of a burnout. You slack on your daily routine, you can’t focus on your work, you feel like you’re endlessly grinding away at menial tasks and you end up having a meltdown because you couldn’t get your messy bun to look “cute messy” today.
The truth is, burnouts are more obvious than we give them credit. If we pay close attention to our emotions and our ambitions, we can tell when one is right around the corner. And, with any luck, head it off before you ugly cry in public… or book a trip to Mexico, 5 days before your flight leaves….
Before you start to experience any of the symptoms of an approaching burnout (you know, hitting the snooze button 8 times every morning, showing up late, spacing out in conversations, lack of focus, lack of enthusiasm, etc. etc.) try a few of these ideas….
Change up your routine: Add in meditation or morning rituals, change the time that you do them (sometimes I like to get ready and then sit down to do my morning rituals…other times I like them to be the first thing I do in the morning). Find a new flavor for your coffee. Or a new go-to meal for breakfast. Instead of working out in the morning try working out in the evening. Find a new route to walk your dogs. Or a new route to take to work. Yea, maybe that means you have to get out of bed a few minutes earlier than normal, but it will help kick your day off the right way.
Ask for new projects at work: If you’re feeling like you’re just grinding away at silly tasks all day, ask your supervisor if there’s a project that you can help with or take off of their plate. Having a new purpose and something different to work on is a refreshing challenge.
Write down your goals: But keep them short term. What do you want to accomplish this week? This month? The next three months? What are some things that you want to see changed in your life, in the near future? Give yourself something to look forward to and something to focus your efforts towards. That way, when you wake up thinking “the grind doesn’t even matter” you can remind yourself that it does and that you’re working towards a much bigger picture!
Hit the pause button: Every few weeks or months, you need to step back and breathe. For some of us, that means packing a bag and heading out of town for a week. But it doesn’t always have to be that extreme. My favorite way to “pause” is by spending a day or a weekend at my parents house. It’s a gentle reminder for us to slow down and breaks up the monotony of our day to day.
Consult your person: Sometimes you need a gut check or just to get the feeling of the oncoming burnout off of your chest. Talk to your person, let them tell you if you’re being crazy or if it’s okay that you feel like you’re losing your mind. Let them console you. Let them give you advice. And if you pack a bag and head out of town, let them ride shot gun. It’s easier to get through a burnout when you have someone next to you who is supporting you and encouraging you to be resilient and push through what seems like a hard time.
Unplug: Set aside time each day to close your laptop, power down your phone and just be in the present. Soak up the moments with the people around you and enjoy the right now.
Burnouts are almost inevitable. But they don’t have to last forever. And they don’t have to end in a flurry of tears.
If you leverage your burnout correctly, you can use the momentum to launch you into a new source of motivation and see your grind in a whole new light.