Before COVID struck, lessening burnout generally applied to work.
But since March of last year when EVERYBODY’s reality changed, burnout has become an umbrella term that is applicable to every aspect of our lives.
So what can you do to lessen it?
It starts with awareness about what is true for you. This applies to your innate personality, your physical body, and finally, your actual reality.
Lessening Burnout by Knowing Yourself
What kind of person are you? You’re not looking for a critical or judgmental answer here. For example, the response “I’m a bad person” is certainly not going to foster any sort of healthy response.
The question is asking you to explore what it is that helps you feel more like you’re in your natural state. In other words, what does self-care look like for you?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in talk-show rhetoric from fancy Hollywood doctors who tell you what you need to do lessen burnout and live a happier life. For example, they may recommend regular social visits with friends. Okay. Maybe. Since many of us aren’t physically visiting, we’ve come to rely on virtual visits. And for extroverts, this is an acceptable option.
But what if you’re an introvert who just doesn’t enjoy social time? For you, it feels like work to engage in such activities. That’s because IT IS. Being alone may be the way you recharge. So forcing yourself to do something recommended by others actually creates more burnout.
In other words, because each individual is unique, there’s no simple and universal fix for lessening burnout. But awareness of what makes you tick is certainly an effective first step. So take a look at what restores you and invest in those activities as much as is possible right now given our circumstances.
And don’t worry if it differs from conventional advice.
Recognize When You’ve Pushed Too Far
The body is an amazing thing. If you take even just a few seconds to consider all of the systems that must work in tandem to maintain optimal health, it’s mind-blowing.
Yet, many of us have detached from listening to the messages our bodies send. For instance, nearly constant irritability and fatigue, weight gain, pain or illness from stress, and/or general lack of interest are all signs that your body has exceeded its ability to keep up with the demands you’re placing on it.
While the body is designed to repair and restore itself, there are limits. And surviving this pandemic with our sanity intact has upped the ante. So it’s more essential now that you give your body what it needs. The three main components are sleep, movement, and diet.
We’re constantly bombarded with the information that we need enough sleep. And this is true. But what’s enough for you may differ from what your friend needs. Furthermore, many of us feel stressed out about not getting “enough sleep,” which only lends to burnout. So try to approach this mindfully.
Winding down 30 minutes before going to bed can help. Consider establishing a regular meditation practice that will teach you to calm your mind.
In addition, taking the opportunity to move throughout the day provides an opportunity for your body and mind to recalibrate. Get outside for even just five minutes for a walk. Step away from your home office and take ten or fifteen minutes to stretch or do some yoga. If there are kids around, invite them! Any sort of movement will release emotions that could be causing more burnout.
And of course, what you put in your mouth is also going to have an impact on lessening burnout. As soothing as it may feel to hunker down with a bag of chips and a box of cookies, in the long run, this will deplete your energy and sour your mood. Try easing off the heavy, salty, and sugary treats and opt to eat more whole foods that will sustain you longer and boost your energy level.
If you’re currently a junk food junkie, you may have more luck allowing this transition to happen gradually rather than going cold turkey. Again, it will depend on your personality.
Get a Grasp on Reality for Lessening Burnout
One of the most difficult tasks during this pandemic has been adjusting to an alternate reality. Many of us went from going to jobs everyday and sending our kids off to school to suddenly being at home nearly all the time with most or all of our family members and without any sort of “escape.”
Or perhaps you had family members who were frontline workers and lived with constant stress around this. Maybe you found yourself alone for days at a time.
In the midst of all of this, you still had to figure out how to make a living. And this means the parameters of your job changed.
Talk about burnout!
As of the time of this publication, that “reality” is beginning to change. This doesn’t mean we’re not still reeling from the effects of it though. And for many the burnout element of work feels especially harrowing right now.
In an ideal world, your job would provide the perfect balance of reward, fairness, and values. You’d feel appreciated, supported, and safe. Of course, the world is far from ideal right now.
For many, the option to find a new job isn’t realistic at this point. Hopefully, this will change in the near future. But in the meantime, if you’re feeling burnt out at your current job, there are a few things you can do.
First, you may need to modify your expectations. For instance, as much as you may want your boss to gush every time you’ve done a good job, that may not be her style. So shift your focus to the times she does show appreciation in her own way.
Also, examine how much satisfaction you “require” from your job and how much it impacts you every time this doesn’t happen. Seek instead opportunities outside your work realm to fulfill that need.
Hang in There!
You may not have the ability to change everything you don’t like about your job at the moment. You do, however, have the ability to control how you feel about yourself and your life outside of work.
Yes, the challenges still exist. And they may for a while longer. But if you practice self-care and are able to find peace and steadiness within.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve this through yoga, meditation, and life coaching. And you’ll notice how lessening burnout will become easier and easier.