self-care for burnout

Surviving Stress and Burnout

I’m currently right in the middle of a period of burnout. What is burnout you ask? It’s a response to a prolonged period of stress that’s characterized by complete mental and physical exhaustion.

August was a long month for me and 2020 hasn’t been the kindest year. I think I’ve just reached the point where everything in me is tapping out and saying “Uncle.” I feel completely drained on a physical and mental level and I’m pretty sure I could sleep for 24 hours straight and still feel like it’s not enough.

It’s been *years* since I’ve felt this way, but August just happened to be a month full of a lot of stuff and despite my best efforts to manage my stress, it wasn’t enough to keep the wave of burnout at bay.

If you’ve been feeling that kind of bone deep tired, I wanted to tell you that you aren’t alone and I also wanted to offer some suggestions that I’ll be using myself.

Go Easy on Yourself

First sign of burnout? You find it hard to get motivated enough to do anything. Chances are your productivity is going to go down and you’ll struggle to manage your responsibilities.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent on the computer this last week trying to get work done and scrolling through Facebook instead. My brain is just completely over anything that requires effort.

So give your brain a break. I just took a two hour nap. It was glorious. We can’t force ourselves out of burnout – but we can create an environment of rest and healing.

Follow a Routine (add lots of rest)

On top of that lack of motivation you might start feeling overwhelmed as things start to pile up. I have three household chores I’d like to do today. It should take me all of 30 minutes. I feel panicked about whether or not I’ll be able to get them done because it feels *so* overwhelming, even though I logically know that it isn’t!

Creating a routine or a to-do list can help you manage those feelings. If you need some help with your routine, then use this day designer. Remember that rest is what’s going to help you to heal and rest might be stepping away from emotionally taxing things, naps, fun, or what ever else eases that heaviness.

Focus on Your Sleeping Habits

If you’re feeling really tired right now, you might want to spend all day sleeping. Don’t. Try to aim for that number of hours that’s good for you and then get out of bed. If you need to take a nap later, let yourself nap, and don’t feel bad about it.

Alternatively if you’re used to scraping by on the minimum amount of sleep, give yourself some extra time in bed. You deserve it.

Journal or Make Lists

Journaling and writing down your feelings can make a huge difference in how quickly you move through burnout. Burnout happens when we push ourselves when our bodies/minds are telling us to rest. Sometimes we don’t really have a choice in whether we can take a step back or not and we end up paying for it later.

Journaling can help you make that connection to what you need right now. Make a list of your feelings. Or what you need in the moment. Seeing that written down on paper can help your anxiety and serve as a reminder that self-care is so important.

Give Yourself What You Need

Start every day by asking yourself what you need and then making a list on how you can meet that need. If you need a few hours reading, playing video games, or sleeping, come up with a plan on how you can do those things.

Set aside time for yourself where you can put your needs at the forefront.

How do you survive burnout?

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