Have you ever found yourself in a period of life that feels, well, completely overwhelming? It's not solely working; it's not only that you've got endless social engagements in your calendar; it's also not only that there are challenges you are working on personally, and it's not just that the life admin to-do list has fallen off the page. It's all of it, all at once.
Work is busy, life is busy, there's family stuff going on, and the car needs to go to the mechanic. It's a lot, it's too much.
And you feel exhausted, you feel drained, you feel unmotivated, you are crawling to the finish line. You are burnt out.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you are managing, that everything is fine, that you can do this. And you probably can, for now. But for how long? It's not sustainable; you need to look after yourself.
The first step is accepting that you probably have too much on your plate. Allow yourself the validation that with everything going on, of course, you feel burnout. But what do you do, especially when it feels like there's no single clear solution, and it's all equally as important?
The answer? You don't need a drastic change; you need small changes. Because a few small considered changes will create a great impact.
Take breaks during the day.
There's no way you can go full steam ahead 100% of the time with 100% performance. You need to allow for breaks, mindful moments of inactivity, unproductivity, or quiet. For moments that help restore your energy before you continue on. Things like taking proper lunch breaks away from the task at hand.
Prioritise that list.
Not everything needs to be done right this very moment; not everything needs to be done today or even this week. Things can wait; it's not all urgent, and if it feels that way, take a step back, talk to those around you, ask for help prioritising.
Let it go.
This is important and ties in greatly with prioritising. When you decide that something can wait, don't dwell, don't feel bad. Let it go; you made this decision for the greater good. You will get to it when you get to it.
Put the digital devices down.
The world we live in has been created so that everything feels urgent. Every notification comes with a ping, every phone call jolting you out of your flow. Put the phone down, put the notifications on silent. Consider doing this at a specific time every evening (perhaps going as far as turning your phone completely off), or simply put your phone on silent and face down when you feel like you need to get into that flow state. Minimising the distractions minimises the urgency and the stress that comes with that feeling.
Take time away.
When you are deep in the throes of burnout, daydreams of holidays on deserted islands can feel tantalising, but taking big blocks of weeks away from day to day life is less effective than taking more frequent, smaller breaks. So take your weekends, take long weekends, take midweek days off. Allow yourself to frequently stop, pause and switch off.
Look for meaning.
When stress comes, and your head feels clouded with ever-mounting pressure, remember why you started, remember the root meaning. What inspires you, what drives you? Remember the original intention to find renewed vigour.
To live a life of peace, you need to set some rules. If a Sunday at home prepping for the week ahead makes your week feel exponentially less stressful, then don't say yes to invitations of Sunday activities; instead, request to reschedule or simply let this one go ahead without you.
Talk to someone.
Feelings of burnout and stress cloud your clarity. You can't see clearly, can't make decisions and don't know what step to take next. Talk to someone, a friend or a family member. Often simply the process of talking it all through with a friend or family member can help you find direction, and at the very least, they can help you muddle your way through, together.
Activity to simply and slightly improve your life:
- List 10 small changes you can make in your life that will create big changes over time.