I know a lot of young professionals in their early to mid twenties feel lost. They’re on their third or fourth job, they feel extremely unmotivated, exhausted, and are always questioning if they’re on the right career path. I don’t blame them. Sometimes, it may seem as if the world is demanding too much of us. We keep up for the better part, but once we stumble, we slide down that slippery slope of burnout. Read on to learn how to recover from burnout and pick yourself up from your slump.
Why do we keep hearing the word ‘burnout’?
Simply put, burnout is when too much stress causes you to become physically and mentally exhausted. You feel tired all the time, like the life has been sucked out of you. And in some way maybe it has. You’re unmotivated, your thoughts are jumbled, you’re running on almost 4 hours of sleep every day, you’re grasping at straws, and you’re simply overwhelmed by everything.
You might have plummeted from someplace high but it’s not impossible to collect yourself and get back on your feet.
The problem with burnout is…
Living in a digital world hasn’t made things any easier either. Screens are always shoved in front of our faces, social media is a large part of our daily lives and it affects why we do the things we do. Social media plants seeds of self-doubt in us, you see your friend’s post on how he was promoted, you see another friend traveling to three countries and having the time of her life, and then you compare and you covet.
Having the privilege of 24/7 connectivity also has its own pressures – employers are expecting you to be present anytime anywhere. You have the urge to scroll through your feed even when it’s way past your bedtime. Sound familiar? These contribute to a person’s eventual burnout. But experiencing a particularly rough burnout is not impossible to overcome.
Take baby steps
Burnout feels as if you’ll be stuck in one place for so long. You lack motivation and inspiration to go about your workday and you go home every day feeling like you didn’t do your best. It takes a while to get better from that kind of mindset. It’s perfectly natural that you won’t be moving in leaps and bounds after a particularly bad episode but you must do what you can to feel better. Call it crawling, call it taking baby steps, or call it self-care, you gotta do what you gotta do. Start going home early, talk to yourself through journaling, pamper yourself though your favorite food. Ultimately, it’s you who knows the real you and what to do in situations like these.
Tell someone and ask them to help you
Part of what makes burnout period seem such a dark and heavy time is because we tend to carry the burden all by ourselves. We walk around smiling but inside we’re tired and ready to quit anytime because there’s no one to unload to. Try to shove away the pride of letting people into your thoughts and tell someone about what you’re feeling. It could be your partner, your parents, your co-worker, or your friends. You’d be surprised how much easier life could be when you’re being cheered on and supported by the important people in your life.
Get busy with other things
Go for a walk after your lunch breaks, don’t spend your lunch breaks eating at your desk for that matter. Hike on weekends. Go to the park, watch a movie, and spend time at a café. Do things you’ve always wanted to do outside of work. Even if it means booking that long overdue plane ticket to some country and having a real vacation for the first time in years, you have to do it. More than the distraction these things provide, they are a way for you to take a breather and to get back on your feet, slowly but surely.
Get enough sleep and breaks in between work
Burnout is a mix of mental and physical exhaustion. Most of the time what people suffering from burnout needs is a good amount of sleep to give their tired bones and mind a rest. Our bodies aren’t built to work tirelessly for hours and days on end, even giving up sleep for work overtime. Our bodies heal with sleep and if you’ve been sacrificing sleep for years now, there’s no wonder you’re experiencing burnout.
In your waking hours and during your work time, it would help to take frequent breaks. Take a breather from all the work you’ve got in front of you, stretch, walk around the office, watch a mini-episode from a favorite series. Go easy on yourself, you’re healing.
Question what you need to improve in your situation
Do you need to quit this job? Do you need to take a leave for a few months to patch things up? Are you on the right career path? It might sound as if these are the questions that will push you down a burnout and anxiety black hole but you have to face them in order to overcome your burnout. Once you figure out the questions to these answers, it’s going to get easier from there because ultimately, only you know how best to get out of the maze you’re in if you trust yourself enough.
Get real with yourself
While the things around you definitely contributed to your burnout (it could be an unreasonable boss or a demanding job) but at the end of the day, it’s you and only you who has the power to turn things around. You choose which actions to take to make your future better, you decide on your path whatever that might be. You are in control. This reality is meant to empower you, not scare you. It’s good to remember that you always have a choice.
We burn out because we work hard and that’s not a bad thing. What we should avoid is forgetting our own beauty and self-worth. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and to remind yourself that in this dark universe, burn out is indeed real but that’s all the more reason why you must shine.
Have you ever experienced a burnout episode? How did you overcome it?