In my last post, I broke down the core reasons burnout can occur, as well as what happens as a consequence when we ignore the indicators. If you haven’t read part 1, I would highly recommend you do so before reading on.
A better option is to do preventative maintenance, so you never get to that point in the first place. Just like some of my other posts, my desire is you digest the solutions I wish I had 10 years ago and apply them to yourself. If I had found content like this at 25, my life would look very different than it does today. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I’ve just had to learn a lot of lessons the hard way.
Ideally, you’ll never find yourself learning the hard lessons from part 1. Please, learn from my mistakes. Crawling your way back from burnout is a long and messy process. It’s doable, but man… it sucks!
How you can prevent burnout.
Work on being self-aware – Learning how to be self-aware enables you to see the burnout coming. We all have subtle indicators which are designed to give us a heads up. It’s a lot like the gas light in your car. The light doesn’t turn on when you run out of gas, but it lights up when you need to find a gas station asap. Everyone’s “gas light” is different. The more you work on becoming self-aware, the easier it is to learn what your indicator is.
I know it’s time to recharge when I have noticeably less patience than normal. I begin emotionally eating unhealthy food, or all I want to do is watch TV in the evening. It’s time to find my gas station when any (or all) of these things start happening on a consistent basis.
Maybe not immediately, but over time you’ll begin to see what your cycle is. When this happens, you’re able to disrupt the cycle by being proactive in one of the other areas. Eventually, you’ll realize life is easier when you don’t wait until your gas light is on to hit the pause button and refuel.
Have a core group of people – If you’ve followed me for any length of time then you know I’m a huge fan of knowing who your core is. We all have blind spots, unhealthy cycles (that are often subconsciously driven), challenging times, etc. It’s a red flag when you find yourself feeling alone or isolated because you’re unable to clearly identify your burnout indicators, especially when you’re in the process of learning how to become self-aware.
Your core are the people who when you’re pushing too hard or have a cycle that can lead to burnout, will have your permission to say the truth no matter what, even if it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to understand. If you’re driven like I am,???
Make your health a priority – This is one of the areas that often takes a hit for me. What I mean is, when I am headed in an unhealthy direction, I start drinking energy drinks and eating less healthy, which leads to me not feeling great, which then causes me to lose any desire to go the gym, and so on. When I get stuck in that toilet bowl cycle it only sabotages me and drives me closer to burnout. Also, when your health takes a backseat to your to do list, it makes burnout harder to crawl out of if you reach that point.
Clearly define your ‘YES’ – Being clear on your purpose and what drives you in life, your gift-mix and putting healthy boundaries around them. When you’re not clear about your purpose, then it will be harder to say no to things while you are still searching and going after opportunities to see if they fit. It’s important to take time and define what you are saying Yes to in life. It allows you to develop the gifts you carry and stay connected to who you are.
Your ‘No’ should be as powerful as your Yes – this means When you understand what your Yes is, saying no protects your yes. In short, it enables you to stay focused on what really matters without being tossed by every pressing issue or opportunity that presents itself. That gets exhausting in a hurry and leads to burnout.
Being willing to unplug – This can link to making health a priority and having a powerful ‘No’ – Being willing to take time off from a busy schedule and get refreshed doing something non-work related or where you are not giving out. If you owned a vehicle and you know it doesn’t have much fuel in it to get you to your destination, you wouldn’t leave it on empty or with very little gas knowing it won’t be enough.
For example, I get lost in adult coloring books and building small things out of wood. Both are relaxing because they remove me from “the grind” of daily life. Getting lost isn’t a bad thing. It means I let my mind wander without a purpose. I leave behind my to do list, my clients, my businesses, etc. This actually opens up my bandwidth and enables me to produce more efficiently when I re-engage.
Remain teachable and humble – Allow yourself to be poured into, whether it’s from your core, your family or from mentors in your life. Listen to those whose heart is for you and your success in life. It’s not always easy, but trusting someone who’s ahead of where you’re at and warning you can prevent a lot of pain down the road. It will help you recognize your personal triggers, what your heart needs, and even help prevent major mistakes in life. All of which slowly chisel away at your capacity and eventually cause you to burn out.
The Challenge: Take one or two of the above and focus on it for the next 30 days. It may mean you read books on the topic, ask for advice, or even get vulnerable with those who know you best.