It’s an inconvenient truth we all know that we’re likely to get burnt out at some point in our lives. And unfortunately, for many of us, burn out probably happens more like once a year. It can be brought on by a stressful period at work, family drama, or putting pressure on yourself to achieve something. Sometimes it simply appears when we least expect it. The best way to address this is to recognise when burn out is approaching and try to adopt strategies to avoid it.
Here are our top ten tips to avoid burn out:
1. Take Time Out
If you can, take some time off. If you’re writing an essay, allocate some time to do something that will relax you for a couple of hours. Be it watching a movie, going out for brunch with friends or painting your nails. Or sometimes cleaning your bedroom can help to clear your mind. If it’s a long-term project you’re working on, or burn out after a stressful period of time, then a short trip might be in order. Take a few days off work and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or perhaps somewhere you love and know you can relax.
2. Prioritise self-care
Much like taking time out, self-care is also important. Take a long bath or a shower, using all of your products to cleanse your skin and your hair. Light some candles and drink a hot beverage whilst cosying up in your favourite pyjamas. Listen to a song that makes you get up and dance – I recommend ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ by Shania Twain, or anything by ABBA. Just do an activity that chills you out and makes you feel happy.
3. Eat Well
As you’re approaching burn out, you may think that eating your favourite snack foods and takeaways are going to make you feel better. Unfortunately, they’re probably not. It may feel good at the time, but ultimately you’re likely to feel guilty for not taking the time to make something healthy or substantial. Your body will not thank you for filling it with junk food whilst it’s feeling run down. Eat something healthy that you enjoy. This isn’t the time to start a diet. Instead have a real meal, with some portion of vegetables or carbohydrates that aren’t fried or toasted. Take care of your body and your mind will follow.
4. Get Some Sleep
You may think that cramming for an exam or staying up late to get work done will help you get on top of your schedule, but it can serve to wear you down in the long term. Make sure you’re getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Try not to check your phone the moment before you go to sleep or right when you wake up. Leave checking your phone for fifteen minutes before going to bed and after waking up. This will help you to sleep more peacefully and retain a sense of calm in the morning.
5. Use Your Phone Less
Continuing on from the last point, constantly checking your phone can increase your anxiety and sense of FOMO. If you always have it on you, then naturally you and your body are always on. Thus, your body has no chance to recharge its batteries. Take a break from your phone for half an hour a day at least. Leave it to charge and walk away to do something else. Or leave it in your bag at work and not on your desk. And turn it off wherever you’re told to, i.e. the cinema or in class, don’t just put it on silent.
6. Live a Well-Balanced Life
If you’re feeling rundown because of school, work or something in your personal life then try to focus on something else. If work is causing you stress then make sure to take your full lunch hour and keep your weekends free. Make plans to meet people to go out and take your mind off of work. If it’s school or university that’s the problem, then be sure to socialise. If it’s people that’s the problem then take a break for yourself and practice some self-care. It’s always about keeping a well-balanced professional and social life. If both are a struggle then perhaps find someone to talk to about it, be it a friend, family member or even a doctor.
7. Say No!
Sometimes we let ourselves get burnt out by saying yes to everything. We feel that if we say no, we might miss out on an opportunity or could be seen as someone who is unapproachable. It’s okay to say no and be a little ‘selfish’. Sometimes selfishness can be a good thing. It isn’t disrespectful to the person asking you to do something, it’s simply saying that you value yourself, your mental health and abilities first.
8. Avoid Putting Pressure On Yourself
There is no reason to put pressure on yourself or be judgmental of your choices. It is natural that you’ll experience something hard at some point. Be it taking a difficult job, saying yes to a project that you’re struggling with, or agreeing to help someone with their difficult task. Try not to beat yourself up. Sometimes it’s all we can do to just do our best, and that is always good enough. It’s okay to struggle and to find things tough, just keep in mind that it’s only a bad day, not your entire life.
9. Make a Vision Board
Sometimes taking a few minutes out to reflect and realise what you want from your life can give you the motivation you need to finish a project, or start one. Creating a vision board, using whatever materials you want, can push you to carry on when times get tough and you’re feeling burned out.
10. Organise Your Personal Life
Sometimes we simply can’t control the big things and because of this, it’s easy to feel run-down. In these moments, try to get the small, manageable aspects of a problem under control. Look at your finances and reflect on how much you’re spending and where. Take some time to clean or rearrange your bedroom. Look through your social media and unfriend people you no longer talk to, and focus on friends that you do. Clear out your wardrobe, your computer folders or iPod library. Do whatever you want to clear some space in your head and make yourself feel lighter. It can do wonders for the big things on your mind and reignite the spark that burn out has taken from you.
There you have it. Ten ways to avoid burn out and to deal with it when it comes. Try it out!