6 Ways to beat burnout

Image by Ronald Plett from Pixabay

We all have very busy lives.  Work, home, social, family, friends.  Almost all of our waking hours are filled with activity or interaction.  Sometimes, one or more of those things escalates creating a shift in our energy.  We may have a project at work that is coming to a critical stage and requires more hours and effort.  We may be dealing with a family situation that takes time and emotional effort.  This can leave us feeling drained and burnt out.  Particularly if we’re burning the candle at both ends on a regular basis, or what we’re doing is particularly stressful.   When we are emotionally stressed this has a greater impact on our physical wellbeing.

Burnout expert Rosie Millen writes in Top Sante magazine and offers six tips on how to beat burnout:

  1. Write down your thoughts – for each thought ask if that negative thought became a reality, what would happen.  Write down the worst case scenario, the best case scenario and what is most likely to actually happen.  You are more likely to realise that you’re able to deal with each thought.
  2. Talk – taking with family or friends is a great way to reduce the intensity of your worries.
  3. Focus on good – spend time focussing on what you have and the good things in life, rather than what you don’t have and can’t do.  List three things you have achieved each day and three things you are grateful for at that precise moment in your life.  Just thinking about these can improve your mood.
  4. Ask yourself “is it useful”? – when you next have a negative thought, ask yourself this question.  More often than not, it isn’t.
  5. Distract and interrupt – when you sense a negative thought emerging, distract yourself by doing something else and step away from the situation.  Go for a walk, make a brew, bake a cake (my personal favourite activity). Shift your perspective.
  6. Meditate – take time to focus on your breathing helps reduce stress levels.  Meditation can help anxiety, depression and pain.  Try deep breathing exercises a couple of times throughout your day.

My personal response to most things is to sleep.  If I’m stressed I’ll sleep, if I’m overwhelmed I’ll sleep, if I’m worried I’ll sleep.  I haven’t found anything yet that stops me from sleeping.  I have a lot going on most of the time and sometimes I feel it getting a bit on top of me.  As I mentioned the other day, occasionally, I’ll just down tools and step away, then get back to it when I’m in the right head space. 

Sleep may well be my response mechanism to tiredness and burnout.  Perhaps, subconsciously, I think that if I’m asleep I can’t worry about it, or it can’t hurt me. As a woman of a certain age, one of the signs of menopause is lack of sleep, but that’s not something I’m experiencing so far!

Another trick I use is to break things down into smaller, more manageable things.  I’ll write that email today, then I’ll finish the report tomorrow. 

I also manage my phone and emails quite well at home.  I might read the messages, but won’t necessarily rush to answer it straight away, unless of course it is urgent.  C sometimes comes in from the study and tells me at about 11pm that I have emails to read.  My usual response is, “tomorrow”.  Anyone who emails that late in the day cannot expect an instant reply. My phone may ping in to the evening, but most of it is social media alerts.  I don’t pick my phone up every time.  I’ll check it just before going to bed just to make sure there hasn’t been some catastrophe, and I certainly don’t take my phone to the bedroom.  Anyone that needs to get hold of me in an emergency has other ways of being able to get hold of me, and anyone who can’t, doesn’t need to.

I also try to make time to plan.  I know that’s not always possible, but when it is, I’ll take time to read, make notes, develop thoughts and ideas, consider options and responses.  I try not to knee jerk react to things where I can.

What’s your top tip for beating burnout?


One thought on “6 Ways to beat burnout

  1. I try to do number 3 and definitely do number 5. I often try to use the mantra that life is too short, not that it always helps 😉


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