I usually start feeling it in my arms first. Then it spreads to my neck. Pretty soon, a headache begins to form. A lack of energy sits on my chest.
I’d rather be doing anything than what I happen to be doing at that moment.
So I do something else. Pretty soon, that feeling goes away. But then, right when I feel ambitious and creative enough to get to work, those feelings hit me again like a Hot Wheels car thrown into a brick wall.
It is burnout.
And it’s a very real problem for many of us. Burnout doesn’t happen because of being overworked. It happens because we have allowed ourselves to become overwhelmed with a lack of focus.
When you can find your focus once again, the issues of burnout will start to fade away.
Here’s how I work to find that focus.
#1. Add time for personal enjoyment.
Burnout tends to occur most often when I’m not having fun at what I do. The “daily grind” hits all of us at some point. Even things that used to be fun become mundane and boring.
When I make time to enjoy certain activities or moments that are personally gratifying, I find that it gives me more energy to get through the grind of a routine day. I can look forward to something that will be fun as soon as I can get the job done. This helps push me forward when I’d rather stop.
#2. Shift the priorities.
Why do you do what you do?
For myself, I take personal pride in the ability to help introduce core business concepts, personal management strategies, and self-care ideas to everyone. Although my experiences are hardly unique, they are my own experiences and they have a story to tell.
And I love telling a good story.
When burnout strikes, it tends to be because we’ve lost that initial vision. You got started doing what you do with a specific purpose in mind. Get back to that. Instead of focusing on the daily stress, return your focus to the outcomes you’ve always hoped or wanted to achieve.
#3. Avoid your burnout triggers whenever possible.
For me, my burnout trigger is email. I really don’t like responding to messages. It takes a lot of time and energy away from what I feel like I do best.
To avoid this trigger, I set a specific time every morning to review my messages. Then I have alerts setup in case an emergency message comes in that needs my direct and immediate attention. If no emergency messages come in, then my email goes down for the rest of the day.
If you’re constantly being triggered, then you’re constantly feeling burnout. So get away from those triggers and you may just be able to get away from those difficult feelings too.
#4. Don’t be your own island.
It’s easy for me to stay home and avoid people. Home is a safe place. I can do whatever I want when I’m at home – within reason, anyway. There are no extra demands on my time or energy.
But isolationism creates an island where you end up having no connections. Without connections, you’re forced to take on everything that comes your way. There is no support available to you.
This is why networking and connecting to people with similar interests is so important. Not only can this group of people help you decompress after a difficult day, but they can also help take some of that daily load from your shoulders so you don’t feel like you must do everything.
We were not meant to deal with burnout all alone, but there will always be time that burnout strikes when no one else is around. How do you cope with these moments? I’d love to hear your story.