3 Simple Ways to Reverse Burn-Out
Chances are, friend, that you’re no stranger to burnout. Maybe you’re in the midst of it right now. Burnout is walking a fine line between accomplishing something incredible and losing yourself as you attempt to go after it. Now more than ever, we’re faced with so much comparison that we often try to perfect every aspect of our lives. At first, it’s just you and your own schedule as you begin to climb the career ladder. Then, you’re squeezing in time for that special someone you begin dating. Before you know it, you’re married with a couple of kids and your body no longer burns off mozzarella cheesesticks the way it did when you were 22. Hello, tiny humans that I’m now responsible for. Hello, gym membership that I didn’t previously need. Oh, and don’t forget the fun part of adulting… cleaning house, grocery shopping and cooking, running kids to and from just about everywhere, paying bills… you know, the fun stuff.
So what’s my point?
The list that I just rambled off was a list that continued to build upon itself. As life progresses from season to season, we aren’t replacing one task with another. Instead, we’re compiling more and more upon our plate. Queue burnout. There’s hope though, I promise.
Burnout sneaks up on us when one of our cups is suddenly empty – or – when a few of our cups are running below normal. (You’ve heard people say, “my cup overfloweth”, right? Imagine your cup is on empty and the coffee maker can’t refill fast enough.)
Think of all the different aspects of your well-being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Imagine each has its own cup and that there’s an imaginary line at the halfway mark. That halfway mark is the difference between going about your normal day-to-day and running a deficit each day. Are you still with me?
If your physical well-being cup is completely empty, it doesn’t matter if emotional, mental and spiritual are still running strong. You’re hitting a proverbial wall – actually, maybe you literally fell into a wall in this case – and you’re going to start pulling from those other cups really fast. Have you ever been so physically exhausted and noticed you become sensitive as a result of how tired you are? That’s because you’re pulling on the emotional cup at that point. And so forth.
What if a few of those cups (or all of them even!) are running below the halfway mark on the cup? You’re going to deplete hella-fast and probably end up crying in the bathroom corner one morning over something as silly as your eyeliner running out.
So what can you do?
1 Keep a journal of where all your time is spent.
You want to be as detailed as possible. Do this for a minimum of one week. I use a written planner that is broken out by the hour, so I tracked everything when Iexperienced burnout most recently. The more detail, the easier the process of reversing it.
2 Make cuts.
You don’t think there’s anything you can remove, but there is. Look a little deeper. This is the toughest step, hands down. We get so accustomed to our day-to-day routine that we overlook the complexity we unintentionally put in our own way. In looking at your day, what drives you the CRAZIEST?
Is it that you can’t make it to work on time because kids are always running late?
Pick a day of the week for them to carpool with the neighbor’s kids or for your spouse to take them.
Is it that your workday is so jam-packed that you can never get ahead?
What can you delegate to someone else? What efficiency can you suggest to your manager? Trust me, management loves when someone can think independently and bring new ideas to the table.
Is it that you can never make it to the gym after work?
Move your workout to the morning.
Is it that cleaning your house takes three hours of your life that you want back?
Hire a cleaning service, even if just once per month.
Is it that cooking dinner every night is exhausting?
Give one of those pre-packaged meal delivery services a try. Some grocery stores even have them available to buy right in the store (save on the shipping costs!).
3 Give yourself 30 minutes per day.
Now that I convinced you to get some of your time back, I want you to give it to yourself. This could be 30 minutes in the gym, enjoying a cup of coffee uninterrupted (hallelujah!), reading a book or journaling. Whatever gives you some stress relief. Call me crazy, but I actually started getting up 30 minutes before the rest of my household so that I could drink my coffee and read without a child screaming for something. It’s amazing how much more accomplished you feel when you start your day this way. This is amazing for the soul, friend. Don’t miss this step. It’s so crucial.
I’m going to be frank with you right now. It’s all out of love, I promise. If you scanned over the above 3 steps and said to yourself “this won’t work for me” or “she doesn’t know my schedule” then I challenge you to think again. I was that same person who thought everything in my schedule HAD to be done by ME, but you know what? It didn’t. YOU are the only one standing in your own way. Your mindset is holding you back, not your schedule. I made some really simple changes and got a little bit of my life back. A little bit of joy back too. Give it a try. And remember… it’s all about intention and grace. Intention to make a change, and grace to deal with the unexpected.
You’ve got this.