Here lately I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out. I’m burnt out on work. I am feeling burnt out with friendships and daily activities. All in all, I am really feeling the need to unplug, take a step back, and just breathe. However, I always find myself feeling guilty for taking that time off. I should be working, doing this and that. That guilt got me thinking about how burnout affects other parts of my life and how to identify when that break is needed.
Signs of Burnout
Signs of burnout can be different for everyone, but there are some common symptoms that many people experience. According to Psychology Today, if you are feeling any of these things you may be experiencing burnout on some level:
- Chronic fatigue
- Increased illness due to weakened immune system
- Impaired concentration
- Loss of appetite
- Physical symptoms, such as chest pains, heart palpitations, and headache
- Feelings of detachment from others
- Loss of enjoyment in things you usually love
- Negative self-talk or pessimism
Lack of Accomplishment Due to Burnout
- Feelings of apathy
- Lack of productivity
- Poor performance
Burnout is not unavoidable. In fact, there are a number of things you can do to make sure you don’t run yourself ragged (I just haven’t been doing them). Mommy Thrives is a mom blog that has covered some great ways to avoid burnout that you should try and implement in your day-to-day life. Here’s a quick list…
- Change up your routine
- Keep up with self-care
- Schedule days where you are not working at all (or doing anything else for that matter)
- Start a gratitude journal
How Burnout is Affecting Me
Like I said, great ideas, but I have not been doing any of that. I’ve been feeling a bit drained recently and I began thinking about the last time I truly took time off for myself. When you look at the list above, I ticked just about every box. Getting things done has been difficult. Some days it is hard to focus on all of the things that need to be done. It impacts my mood, my productivity, and, at times, it has an effect on our finances too.
More recently, I have had a lot of trouble sleeping, which was the biggest sign for me. Normally, I sleep pretty well and get around eight hours per night. Over the last few weeks, however, I have been waking up multiple times throughout the night. The sleep tracker on my smartwatch says I average between 30 and 50 minutes of deep sleep per night (Woah!). Now, this lack of sleep could be contributing to the rest of my symptoms, but when it comes down to it, I am burnt out. Period.
My mom always says, “The only thing you have to get done today is what you get done today.” I laugh when she says this because I think of my to-do list, which is normally about a mile long. But, really, how do you start to recover from burnout? What do you need to do to climb out of it and come back to your regular duties actually feeling refreshed?
Steps to Recover
Healthline wrote a great blog post about burnout and how you might be able to best recover if you hit that wall as I have. Some of the suggestions include things like being firm about your boundaries and leaving work at work (two things I always struggle with). The blog also talked quite a bit about being in-tune with your own personal needs. On your days off, clear out your schedule and just relax. I’ll be honest, on my days off I’m usually running around checking even more things off my to-do list.
The Mommy Thrives blog mentioned mental health days and going on a hike. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do and I have not been on a hike since August 2019 (Yikes!). When it boils down to it, I’m not taking my downtime to truly tune into my personal needs or do anything I really enjoy. Instead, I’m thinking about all the things I could be doing.
Well, thankfully, I have a supportive husband who has seen this burnout coming from a mile away. He has been pushing me to do more things I enjoy and things to help my stress levels. I have started taking two yoga classes a week (which has been amazing) and in about a month we will both be unplugging for a long weekend at the beach. We never got our honeymoon and still actually have an Airbnb gift card from our wedding two years ago, so we will get one night free. While I’ll still have a month of work to do in the midst of this burnout, it is so nice to know I have these things to look forward to, to help me re-center.
Readers, how have you been able to recover from burnout in your own life? What tips do you have?
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.