Why Does Burnout Happen?
How do you go about preventing burnout? The definition of burnout is fatigue, exhaustion, including mental exhaustion. This can lead into depression, even emotional collapse and a breakdown if it goes too far.
Burnout usually happens when trying too hard with little success or from increased stress surrounding a situation that is unforeseeable and even unavoidable. It could be from trying to cramming too many things that aren’t working into a small hole. Have you ever tried to pack a few more things into a suitcase that’s already overweight? Emptying a suitcase of extra items is very embarrassing if it becomes necessary at the airport! We do the same with our schedules…just cram in a few more extra meetings and projects!
You may be panicked, without the ability to pay bills, letting discouragement and fear take over. Maybe you planned on making a transition at some point, but now really have to because of a pandemic virus! The reality is, there are businesses that will no longer open again after months of no income. How do you recover, preventing burnout? An unplanned transition with the additional stress of starting or restarting a workable and profitable business adds up to tension plus fear to multiply uncertainty!
How About Money?
And let’s talk about money…When you are behind on bills, working harder than ever falling behind even more, it’s exhausting! Even if you’re doing what you love, there is danger of burnout. I want to take some time to give some preventative measures here, as many will be and already are reinventing, regrouping and restarting.
Preventing burnout is especially applicable when making a transitional change at the halftime of life. However, a worldwide virus that has triggered isolation, sequestration and shutdowns has the possibility of multiplying the consequences of burnout. Even if you’ve been consistently working, the stress of a ramp-up can be exhausting. We can talk all we want about running a race, but when we actually start running, it feels quite different as you round that first curve! Can you keep going? So let’s train a bit with four main principles for preventing burnout.
Preventing Burnout Principle One
First of all, set a goal. I’ve been reading Michael Hyatt’s The Vision Driven Leader and also Donald Miller’s new book Marketing Made Simple. In both instances, you need to have a strong mission and vision statement. If you start running aimlessly, you will exhaust yourself before you get around the first curve. Your route can change along the way, but your end destination should be very clear. Keeping that focus takes the stress of thinking too hard out of it. Spend plenty of time defining this. It does take time and effort but is well-worth it! A good read: How to Go from Busyness to Living with Intention at Halftime
Preventing Burnout Principle Two
Second, plan breaks. I’m a Type A personality and run pretty hard, getting up very early. But I break up my day in chunks and it really helps with energy levels. Mini vacations or breaks work really well. Even taking time out for 10-15 minutes to take a walk or talk with a friend can do the trick. I like to go out back on our property and snip dead or sucker branches off our fruit trees.
Preventing Burnout Principle Three
Third, don’t live in a hurry. There may be projects you have to push out the door, so work hard and long to get those done. But don’t live every day that way. What happens is you get in a habit of always running on the treadmill and then it feels strange if you aren’t moving at the same pace. That’s when you are most vulnerable to facing burnout.
Preventing Burnout Principle Four
Fourth, create a diversion. The times our family has been on the ski slopes have created a true diversion for me. When sitting on the rising lift, surrounded by snow-filled mountains and ground below, I find it hard to think of anything else but the beauty around me! Although, if it’s been awhile since I’ve been on the slopes, I do have those intermittent thoughts of panic, afraid I’ll fall as I get off the lift!
Importance of Self-Care
Getting back to a hobby, even music, is another very effective diversion that truly works. Make sure you check out Learn Music Again! Music acts as a wonderful diversion as well as proven stress reliever, keeping your mind sharp. I’m all for double & triple dipping!
Whatever you do, start putting one or more of these principles in place now. It’s better to be proactive as stressful days will keep coming. In fact, they are probably here for most who are currently restarting. So pace yourself and realize your self-care will pay off both personally and professionally in the long run.