Burnout is not what you think it is. It is not about being too busy or having too much to do.
You see, burnout is about how we handle having too much to do. It’s about how we let our to-do lists and demands from others hijack us and create a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet those constant demands.
You are the only one who can manage how you respond to all that stuff coming at you. It’s about protecting your energy and you have control over that.
Here are 7 ways you can start protecting your energy today.
- Unfollow, mute, or block as needed on social media.
Social media is a huge “energy suck”. Mentally we compare ourselves to others and feel like we aren’t enough, that we don’t have enough. This zaps so much energy. Make sure if you are on social media that you unfollow those accounts that make you feel like garbage. Follow “real people”. They should inspire you, make you laugh and show you their flaws, struggles and triumphs.
- Turn your ringer off, leave the text unread, or call them back later.
Technology has put us in a state of being expected to answer someone immediately. Think about how you feel when someone doesn’t respond to your text right away. Do you think, “Oh they must be upset with me”, or “They don’t care about me”, or “They really don’t want to go hang out so they’re ignoring me”?
Most of the time, none of those are true. Most likely, these are the people who are setting boundaries to give themselves a break from constantly “being on”. Follow their lead. It’s up to you to manage peoples expectations of you. Initially, set-up some auto-responses when you get a text or a call that let’s everyone know you are not available right now and you’ll get back to them as soon as you can.
- Take an emotional/mental break from people that leave you drained.
Again, this is about setting boundaries. We all have those people in our lives who use up all our energy reserves. You can still be there for these people, but you need to set boundaries on how often you make yourself available to them.
- Practice resting as a preventative measure.
I can’t even tell you how many of us punish ourselves for taking a break. When we’re taking a break we sit there and feel guilty, thinking about all the other things we SHOULD be doing instead. The challenge is to REST, GUILT FREE. When you truly check out mentally, you will return to your work with a fresh perspective, clear of the brain fog.
- Don’t be available for every request of your time.
Do you hear boundaries again? You can start adopting a personal challenge to start saying NO. You could start slow by simply saying “Not now.” Everyone else will be amazed at how capable they are when they now have the space to have to figure something out on their own without you. If you’re being asked to do something socially, that you know drains you, then say “not now”. You have the power to choose.
- Stop doing things just because you SHOULD or can do it yourself.
First ask yourself what would happen if you simply did not do this thing? Would anyone else care? Do you really care? If not, stop doing it. If it is a MUST do, consider asking for help or pay for assistance if you can.
- Speak up as a strategy to prevent future frustration, burnout, and discomfort.
You need to tell people what’s going on with you. If there is too much on your plate at work, speak up. Of course, don’t do this in a whining, complaining way. Tell your boss, you feel like the workload is too much and you’re concerned the quality of your work is at risk and you want to do your best work. Go in with a solution, maybe recommending what can come off your plate or what can be put on hold for now.
If you’re frustrated at home, talk to your family and tell them what you need and from them. No one can read your mind.
You know your needs. Honor your needs by protecting your energy. You get to decide how to use it.
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