Life is like a rollercoaster ride. We buckle up for what we hope is going to be an easy and enjoyable ride and it all starts off smoothly. We know that it’s not going to be all smooth sailing because others have been on that very ride and so, we think we are prepared.
We ride the smooth crest up the incline and everything is working out just as we planned it. All that we set out to do has begun to fall into place and the feeling is exhilarating. Life is good and we are invincible. That is, until we reach the very top and the downward slide begins and takes us into a whirlwind of emotions, stress and chaos. Welcome to burnout!
Each and every one of us are likely to go through some type of burnout at some stage in our lives, with some experiencing it more times then we wish to.
2021 has been a year of so many ups and downs that has brought with it so many feelings of mixed emotions and uncertainties of each day, let alone the future. A future that we were once so sure that we could take on and handle but slowly it unraveled and thrust us onto that rollercoaster, with its speed, bumps and swerves, heading for derailment and headfirst into burnout.
2022 is just around the corner and with it comes new expectations, uncertainties still and the same life stresses, with a touch of ‘more’. Just like anything in life, we need to prepare ourselves for what is around the corner. Having a plan of some sort in place is better then no plan at all for when it all becomes too much, especially when that rollercoaster down hill run is looming up ahead.
To help avoid possible burnout or to make you more aware of what to look out for and provide you with the tools in how to cope, I have put together six ways to hopefully avoid burnout.
1. Book in for a retreat, weekend getaway or vacation every quarter
Take yourself out of the picture for a weekend or even a for a day if you can. Try and do this on a regular basis to offload all that builds up in your life over weeks or months. At times, we forget to have our own ‘me time’ due to family and work commitments and we can often feel guilty for even wanting to take that break to regroup and rejuvenate our minds, bodies and souls. Even before we get burnout, our bodies let us know that we are heading for a crash, which is why it is good to prepare before we hit that wall. Weekends away can simply be a quiet retreat with a friend, loved one or family where you have the opportunity to relax, unwind, laugh eat and drink and fuel your mind and body again for the next rollercoaster surge. Even if its just a day retreat or walk, your mind and body will thank you. After a rest and regroup, we tend to be ready to take on the world again but we need to ensure that we make our ‘time outs’ a regular thing. Note it in your diary, that way you have a date to look forward to and the pressures of life etc won’t seem that heavy.
Not everyone is able to sit, turn the brain and body off and just mediate but trust me, this is another great way of avoiding burnout. The mind is a powerful tool and to turn it off when it is usually full of life and its stresses can be a difficult process but with practice and patience, it will become easier each day, with the benefits of mediation being long lasting.
Such benefits of meditation include:
• Being aware of stressful situations and the impact that it can have on both your mind and body and ‘welcoming’ stress in a way once you gain a new perspective on it.
• Know the signs of stress in order to build on skills of awareness in order to help you manage your stress.
• Being aware of and knowing your body and how tuned in or tuned out it is during stressful situations
• Try and focus on the here and now and not on what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow. Clearing your mind can be a difficult process but try and be present in the moment.
• Remove yourself away from any negative energies or emotions that may impact on a successful meditation experience.
• Take your mind and body to a place where you are able to increase on your imagination and creativity
• The biggest challenge that we may face when meditating is trying to stay focused and to be patient through the process. Once we are able to learn to sit and mediate, we are able to take this patience into our everyday life and be more tolerant to what is going on around us.
If you have not mediated before, now is a good time to start. Find that perfect space where you are able to just sit and unscramble both your mind and body. Try and mediate once or twice a day, in the morning or before you go to bed. Release all of the negative energy in your head. Find a relaxing piece of meditation music or guided meditation to listen to and take your mind and body on its journey.
3. Do yoga, dance or any type of movement every single day
Any sort of body movement, either through dance or yoga is another great way of avoiding burnout. It not only benefits your mind, body and soul but is also a way of coping with depression and those mood swings. When we dance or do yoga, movement of the body activates the brain to send our bodies into a state of calmness and wellbeing. Through yoga and dance, we are using different parts of our bodies and this promotes neural growth as our brains are telling us to move different and more parts of our bodies then we would in a normal sit down stand up role in our everyday life. This feeling of movement releases endorphins that help energise us and make us feel good and more ready to take on and deal with those stresses in life. Find something that you like, even if it is not yoga or dance and do it on a daily basis. This can include walking, swimming, exercising, anything you like but try and do it at least ten to fifteen minutes a day or more. The benefits will be amazing and long lasting.
4. Get out into Nature
Not everyone is able to get out and enjoy nature, especially if you are are city-living, but being able to get out and enjoy a bit of green is also a way of avoiding burnout. Spending time in nature is a way of improving your mood and vitality and helps relieve stress and anxiety. Even if it’s a walk along the beach or in a grassy nature park. Kick your shoes off and feel the sand or grass in between your toes. Trust me, the inner child will come through and you will feel like running, dancing or even doing the odd cartwheel if you dare to.
5. Prioritise sleep
I for one find it very difficult to switch my brain off at the end of a busy or stressful day. I’ve mostly been a ‘late-nighter’ my whole adult life, so it’s easy for me to continue to find something to do until my body is tired enough to let me sleep and even then, it’s difficult to totally switch off. It is important to rest your mind and body and try and get at least eight hours sleep at night, something which I endeavour to do each night. I find meditation as discussed earlier is a great way to prepare the mind and body for a good night of interrupted sleep. To help prepare for a good night sleep, I remove anything that may disrupt my sleep. This does not only mean mediating to remove negative and restless energies but also means removing all technology away from your sleeping area. This is so that your sleep is not disrupted with that last message you forgot to send or that post that you may have missed on social media. Getting a good quality nights sleep has so many benefits, which include boosting your mood in order for you to remain focused and sharp to avoid burnout. Boosting your immune system, which helps in balancing and managing your weight. While it’s not always possible, try and keep your bedroom space and area free of clutter as this can also impact on a good night’s sleep. Allow your body time to wind down before you go to sleep and your body will thank you for it.
6. Eat a healthy and enriched diet as well as keeping your body hydrated
Maintaining a healthy and regular mealtime can be not always easy in the everyday stresses of both life and work. Who has ever missed breakfast or lunch, or both and then crammed your face with food at the end of the day and right before bedtime? I will be the first one to put up my hand and admit to that one. It’s so easy to get caught up in everyday life that we forget to eat and before we know it, it’s the end of the day and the slight rumblings that our tummies gave us during the day have turned into a loud avalanche of rumbles that when we see food, all we want to do is gorge until our poor body is full of whatever food is in front of us and our bodies and minds will not thank us in the morning.
Missing meals lead to feelings of lethargy and the inability in able to think straight and this can both affect our moods and our performance during the day. Poor diet can have a domino effect on our health both in the present and in the long term and can also lead to burnout. To avoid this, we need to fuel our bodies with the right foods that both benefit our bodies and brains. Keeping our bodies hydrated is also beneficial in maintaining stamina throughout the day and allows us to perform better and have a longer and more enriched life.
Have you got any ideas to add to the list? We would love to hear how you avoid burnout.
Let us know in the comment section below.