At Style Lyrical, one of our main values is feeling calm, but we’re going to be really honest about the exact opposite of calm: burnout.
As a busy woman, I’m sure you’ve heard talk of “burnout.” Burnout is when you’re overwhelmed and overworked. Creativity has left and you’re wondering how you got there in the first place.
No one is immune.
Burnout doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, relationship status, education level, location, or job title.
Burnout can feel like a lot of different things, but here’s a short list of some common symptoms:
- Low productivity
- Ready to throw in the towel
- Exhibiting unhealthy behaviours (i.e. over-eating, over-working, over-exercising, watching too much television, etc.)
- You’ve “had it”
- Reduced commitment
- Constant state of “I can’t do this anymore”
- Tuning out in meetings
- Getting distracted at your desk
- Panic/anxiety attacks
- Physical changes in your body (i.e. skin problems, trouble sleeping, weight gain or loss)
- Emotionally overwhelmed (i.e. loneliness, sadness, uncontrollable crying)
- Prolonged stress
Burnout is very real, and it can be an emotional rollercoaster. It may not be completely unavoidable, especially if you are in a high-stress situation, either at home or at work. But, there are ways to prevent burnout as much as you can until you can make real change in your situation.
Here are 7 ways to protect yourself from burnout:
1. Be sociable
Socialising is highly important. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you, especially non-work friends or intimate partners. Watch a movie, go to the theatre, eat dinner, or simply have coffee and catch up.
Spending time with friends is emotionally fulfilling. Contact a few of your best friends and put something in the diary today.
2. Do something you love
Instead of spending your spare time thinking about work, spend those free minutes on a hobby that you love. Hobbies fulfill some special place in our hearts that work just can’t. If you can’t think of what you do, think back to what you used to do when you were a kid and pick up whatever hobby has been abandoned.
Remember, you don’t have to be good at your hobby. You don’t have to be an artist to sketch. You don’t have to be Margaret Atwood to write a story. Just do something that distracts your mind and makes you happy.
3. Get help
There’s no shame in asking for help. If you’re a get-it-done woman, this may not be the easiest thing to do, but getting help is a great way to relieve stress. Help can come in many forms: delegating tasks at work, hiring someone to do your gardening or having your food delivered.
Time management is highly important if you want to get everything done in the day. Asking for help is one way to increase your chances of checking everything off your to-do list.
4. Remember your goals
Remembering your “why” and having a focus is highly important. Spend one day each quarter to set your intentions and goals. Write down what you want to achieve. You could go a step further and write a manifesto or declaration of intent for yourself.
The process of articulating what you want and writing down your goals sets your focus, which gives your life perspective and clarity.
5. Plan an escape route
If you can recognize that you are about to experience burnout, create an escape route to make sure that you don’t have a breakdown. Reach out to your friends and communicate your feelings. Tell your boss that things aren’t going well – you may need time off or you may need to resign. Think about what you would do with yourself if you needed to escape for your life for a bit.
You may never need to use your escape route, but it’s nice to know that you have options. An escape route lets you know that you are not stuck!
6. Get in control of your calendar
If you let it, your calendar can control your whole life – in a good way. Your calendar will let you know if you have too much planned in one week. It’s easier to see which commitments you can eliminate from your diary. A calendar lets you see how much time you spend exercising, reading for pleasure, and how much sleep you get each night.
7. Have a non-negotiable commitment
Having a non-negotiable commitment is the most important thing you can do to prevent burnout. It doesn’t matter if you play football on Tuesday nights, go to early morning yoga, have a weekly date night, have a lie-in on Saturdays, or need one evening a week to catch up with Netflix.
No matter what, a non-negotiable commitment cannot be rescheduled. Nothing is more important than your non-negotiable commitment.
If you feel like burnout is coming, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent it before it makes a home in your brain. We suggest starting by creating a non-negotiable commitment. This is the best way to know what is important in your life and create the space to make it an actual part of your week. Following any of these tips will bring more calm to your life and keep burnout at a healthy distance.