Burnout – and how to avoid it


(or, I should listen to my own advice from time to time)

Hello everyone! I know it’s been a while, and I’m sorry. I’m starting back on a happy note (no, really, I am! Don’t let the title fool you. It’s actually a list of good things!)

Burnout is even less fun than it sounds. If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know a bit of what that’s like, since they’re very similar.

Burnouts can affect anyone, but workaholics, who get addicted to their work and tend to forsake everything else in favor of it, are more frequently affected. Here are a few ways to push away burnout if you feel it coming on.

How to avoid burnout

Say no. Make sure you’re not getting involved in too many projects at once. It’s OK to back out of something if you’re overwhelmed, too. And this doesn’t just mean for work; social engagements can be exhausting, too. If it feels like a burden to do something, then say no. To learn more about how to gauge whether or not you should take something on, read this.

Unplug. Turn off the phone, the computer, the tablet. Lock them in a cabinet if you must. But for a few hours a day, do something, go somewhere, where you cannot be reached. Make sure you cannot be disturbed. Then, do something relaxing. Take a bath, go for a walk, have a coffee with a friend with whom you can have those comfortable silences. Do whatever feels like relaxing. Disconnect for a little while. Do it every day.

Schedule fun. Every Sunday afternoon, I have people coming over and we play various board games. I’m a board game fanatic (in case you didn’t already know.) This is one of my most relaxing activities. Yours can be anything that you like: going to the beach or for a picnic, to the movies, anything that feels fun and relaxing. I like that mine involves other people and is an open-doors type of activity, because it forces me not to skip it.

Refresh your mind. Burnout can eat your creativity, and it takes a long time to get it back when it happens. It helps if you refresh your mind by entertaining it. Read a book, or a magazine, regularly. Listen to an audio play. Play games. Talk to people. Watch a movie. Do this regularly.

Sleep, eat, and bathe. It might seem obvious for some, but for workaholics, it becomes a reality that sometimes you work and work and work and forget to do everything else. Sometimes I sleep 2, 3 hours at night and get right back to work, not even eating when I get up in the morning. Sleeping full nights, taking regular breaks to eat and bathe are all things that can help you maintain your body in good condition.

Do stints instead of long hours. Force yourself to take a break every few hours; you’ll have more energy when you get back to work. Also, try to limit the amount of hours you work in one day. 9 or 10 hours total should be a good ceiling. I often let myself add up well beyond 12 hours of work in a day, and that’s not a great habit.

Stop. If you’re feeling like everything gives you anxiety, like work itself takes much longer because you can’t concentrate at all anymore, if you want to cry every time you sit down at your work station, even though when you’re doing anything else all you can think about is the work that’s piling up, you might be starting a burnout. STOP. Take a vacation. Take a few days off. The world will not end. Rest up. Have fun. You’re better off taking a break now and having the energy to actually do the work when you get back to it than taking five times the time you should be taking to do one task because you feel completely overwhelmed.

Sorry about the long absence, by the way. You can probably suspect where I’ve been at. A bit more on this next week.

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