5 Tips to Combat Burnout
By Torre Boyd
When The Fire Dims
When your flame is burning so bright, and lighting others along the way for extended periods of time, you may start to experience burnout.
There is a constant struggle for me: to both push forward and continue to work or take a minute to myself to relax, so that I don’t get too overwhelmed and burned out.
An example of this is, at this very moment, I should be asleep (it’s well past my bedtime). But instead, I felt inspired to add to this post and decided to do this instead. Both bring me joy, but in the morning getting up for work, I may not be so happy about this burst of inspiration I received when I should be asleep.
Does this happen to anyone else?
Burnout doesn’t discriminate; it affects people from all walks of life. You may be a person that feels a need to give and give, so much that there isn’t enough time left to handle personal matters. You can’t work your way through burnout, which we may naturally feel drawn to do.
Thinking ~ maybe if I do more I’ll feel more productive,
giving the illusion that I’m accomplishing tasks,
when in reality I’m not working to my fullest potential.
Being a part of the military community, we know that you can push forward when needed, but sometimes what’s needed is for you to recharge and regroup so that you can be a productive and healthy person.
Being a part of a helping profession, most would think that we are equipped to properly deal with this issue, and we are.
We just sometimes need help to make it, and that’s okay.
Getting Your Groove Back
One of the key issues with burnout is that it has the ability to sneak up on you; it’s not something that occurs overnight.
It can cause irritability, exhaustion and create the constant feeling of being overwhelmed.
I don’t know about you, but I love crafts and other creative outlets.
A major sign for me, when I start to feel the symptoms of burnout, is that I’m not as creative as usual, and that’s a warning sign for me that maybe it’s time to reevaluate life. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, the following tips may help mitigate burnout and regain composure.
The tips will not work immediately; however, incorporating some of these tips into daily life may prove to be beneficial.
The five tips will help you regain self-control and get back on track.
1. Technology Black-Out
Disconnecting for a pre-set amount of time can have great benefits. This gives you an opportunity to relax. You deserve a break from your overloaded day. Personally, once a week I try to not use any of my electronics for a day. When I first started that it was terrifying, the thought of not being available, but as I continued with this it started to feel liberating, it felt like getting back a piece of my light.
2. Physical Activity
Physical activity can be anything you like that gets you moving. My favorite is body step class – great cardio! Physical activity can be used as a way to cool down and re-center yourself outside of your commitments. It is often an underutilized life coping skill. In as little as 30 minutes. it can help to alter your mood.
3. Life Audit
A life audit is when you review your daily activities to determine how those activities align with your passions and goals. By ruthlessly editing and auditing your life, you can make time for the things that speak to your passions, not limited to your self-care.
4. “No” is A Full Sentence
You may have heard of the power of YES!, but there is a power of NO! as well. As a helping professional, it may be difficult to dedicate enough time to all of the day’s activities. Being able to say “No” will protect your mind, body, and spirit – you can’t pour from an empty cup. Saying “No” will give you time for activities that are meaningful and of interest to you as well as not overwhelming yourself with all of your commitments.
This has to be hands down my favorite tip. If you have the ability to travel and or getaway for a while to recharge, it can do wonders. What vacation or time-off can do for you is give you the chance to reflect outside of the environment that has contributed to your burn out.
The Best You!!
Burnout is to be completely consumed and thus no longer aflame. Don’t let the daily grind kill your flame; integrate the tips above to help combat burnout.
From personal experience, being a person, student, friend, and family member along with a host of other things to people, I have experienced burnout. I’ve found that the tips of above have helped me through that stage of my life.
Hopefully, the same can be said about anyone who is reading this article. Burnout happens and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The way I think of it is that you got so caught up in your life passions and making our world a better place that you forgot to take a moment for you. Burnout didn’t happen in one day and you can’t expect to work through it quickly. It is and will forever be a process.
Prevention is always best, but if you are already experiencing any symptoms, just know that you can turn this around and come out better for it. Love yourself enough to focus on your well-being and self-care so that you can be the best version of you.
Torre Boyd is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student at Walden University with over 8 years’ mental health experience. She also holds a Psychology degree from Trinity Washington University. Her professional philosophy is to help people to live their truth, especially military, first responders, and police officers.