Almost everyone has experienced burnout in one way or another at some point in their lives. We’re going to explore some of the best tools, tips and techniques to help you avoid burnout in the future, and to help you live a happy and fulfilled life.
What is burnout?
You know how it feels when you reach the end of the day or week and you’ve got absolutely nothing left. You’ve got no motivation, no excitement and none of your usual spark. This is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion and can be caused by the build-up of stresses. Work is often a massive contributor to this feeling of being overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to be – there’s plenty of mindful activities and tools to help us manage and avoid burnout.
How to spot burnout?
It’s almost as important to be able to spot when you’re feeling burnt out as it is to know how to avoid it in the first place. Tell-tale signs often include feelings of anxiety, no motivation to do anything (even things you usually like!), and feeling more tired and less energetic than usual. It can affect your productivity and libido too.
How to avoid burnout
Burnout can be hard to avoid, but it’s important to remain mindful of things both inside and outside of your control. We’ve pulled together our top 8 ways to avoid burnout, with different mindful tips and ideas to help you get you back to feeling yourself.
1. Manage your work-life balance.
This can be a tough one. It can be easy to slip into a negative cycle of not taking your lunch and finishing late, but when this becomes the norm it’s time to have a think about how you can better manage your work-life balance to improve your wellbeing. The less time you have in the evenings and at weekends, the less time you have to refresh and re-charge, to be fully present when you really want to be. It can have serious knock-on effects, and can lead to important aspects of your life such as physical exercise and eating healthily to drop down the pecking order.
2. Switch off email outside of office hours.
It’s important to set boundaries for when you are and aren’t contactable. It can feel like you’re going that extra mile by being ‘always on’, but the reality is even the unconscious feeling that an email or message may come in from work can negatively impact your minds ability to switch off. Delete the work email app from your phone, and don’t be tempted to check it until you’re next working and re-invest that time into yourself. Bliss. If you’re not going to get promoted without being accessible at all times, is it really somewhere you see yourself long term?
3. Take part in mindful activities.
There is something so satisfying and rewarding about activities that bring you to be completely present in the moment. Whether that is a walk around your local park to listen to the local wildlife, or something more hands-on. We personally recommend creative jigsaw puzzles or mindful doodling, both proven to reduce stress and anxiety. The beauty of mindfulness is that it is different for everyone. What is relaxing for one person, could be someone else’s worst nightmare. Put the time into trying different activities (from painting, to at-home clay kits to getting outside in nature), and we promise you you’ll feel better for it. There really are so many ways to give your brain the time it needs to switch off, and we can’t overstate the importance of doing this enough.
4. Put yourself first.
Ultimately, you are the most important person. Try to avoid feeling pressured into things that you don’t enjoy or that make you feel uncomfortable. Be unapologetically you and do what makes you happy. Sometimes that means saying no, and sometimes that means making tough decisions. But you and your mental health will always end up better for it.
5. Take the time off when you need (to refresh/relax etc)
Time off is absolutely key. Get that annual leave booked and the out of office on. Take your full allocation and try to make the absolute most of it. We always like to take Fridays and Monday’s off for an extended weekend and the joy of two 4 day weeks back to back, result! Time off and away from work is so important for your mental wellbeing, allowing your mind to completely switch off and reset. Without it, you’re never giving yourself chance to re-energise and recuperate in the way you need to, and prolonging the inevitable mental exhaustion.
6. Friends & family
If you’re feeling low or overwhelmed, there’s often nothing that helps more than socialising with those you love most. Guaranteed to give you the opportunity to talk through and express your challenges (which always helps massively) or to take your mind off them entirely. You’ll often find your friends and families are feeling similar, experiencing similar challenges you can take on and overcome together.
7. Avoid social-media & your excessive time on your phone.
We can’t advocate this one enough. If you’re feeling burnt out, one of the worst things you can do is spend evening after evening doom-scrolling through Instagram. Social media can amplify the feeling of being overwhelmed with so many notifications and updates fired at you. Try to set a limit on your social media usage (iPhones have the handy feature of setting a daily cap as a reminder), and do something more productive with your time. Such as a unique jigsaw puzzle for adults. Podcasts, jigsaw puzzles for adults and reading a book can be great ways to give yourself a digital detox.
There’s few things more important for a happy life than sleep. Don’t let anything get in the way of your 8 hours a night and the mental boost you experience will feel like a transformation. Set yourself up each night to give you the best chance of an uninterrupted night. Get in the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time and this will become easier still.
So there you have it. Our top 8 ways to stay mindful and avoid burnout. Use these tips and techniques to build a sustainable life that puts your wellbeing first and once you do that, you’ll boss everything else regardless. Let us know in the comments any tools you’ve used to avoid burnout! Stay mindful and relaxed.