Alayna Mastrippolito, Author, Certified Peer Supporter
We’ve all had the experience of feeling so overwhelmed and drained, yet having too many items on the to-do list to be able to rest. You’re backed up on work, the house is a mess, you haven’t had much time with your loved ones, and *sigh*... it’s only Tuesday??
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others”. It’s the result of doing too much of what drains you, without enough rejuvenation. Though there are times in life when it’s necessary and even beneficial to work hard, spending each day squeezing out every ounce of energy you have until you’re completely depleted is not a very sustainable or pleasant lifestyle.
Here are three steps to help you avoid burnout:
1) Know what your priorities and values are. Write these down and keep them someplace you’ll see often. Be clear on what matters to you so that you know what you want to work towards. This allows you to have a purpose behind your daily actions, rather than simply achieving for the sole purpose of being productive. Helpful questions to ask yourself might include: What uplifts and fulfills you? What promotes your personal growth? What is your reason for getting up each day?
2) Spend time on things that matter to you. Take a second look at your schedule. Is there anything on it that doesn’t align with your priorities and values? Is it possible to remove anything from your schedule that’ll make this week feel less draining? Is there anything you can delegate? When you’re spending more time on activities that you’re passionate about, you’ll feel more energized and less worn out.
3) Take time to recharge. In order to be productive, it’s essential to take time to restore your energy each day by taking care of your mind, body, and spirit in ways that make sense to you. A few ideas for rejuvenating activities include walking in nature, yoga, meditation, reading, creating art, journaling, calling a loved one, and practicing gratitude and self-love. It’s also important to be able to recognize your personal signs of feeling overwhelmed. This is the tipping point of your productivity when it’s actually more productive to rest!
You’re allowed to create the life you want. Be kind to yourself in the process.
“I am a human being, not a human doing.” ― Kurt Vonnegut