Let’s face it, we all get burnt out at some point.
We exert all our energies into making our lives what we want them to be and we try to make time for ourselves, for reflection, meditation, and a social life, but it all adds up. Everything reaches a tipping point and then it happens. A few days in a row we find ourselves inexpressibly tired and unmotivated. We have no energy, even for the things we’re typically interested in. We try to motivate ourselves, but we’re barely productive. A week goes by and these feelings become the norm. We just want to stay home with a great cup of coffee or a bottle of wine, snuggle with our pets and binge watch whatever appears on our screens.
While it would be wonderful to become best friends with coffee, wine, and Netflix for several months, it’s probably not the healthiest of functioning normals. And life is happening; the world misses what you have to contribute!
So here are a few steps for recovering from your burnout:
1. Recognize you’re so over it all.
Look, you’ve worked your awesome self into a state! You put out 10 – 12 posts of actionable content per week, manage your personal and four other corporate brands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, plan networking events, host dinner parties, go out to eat and party yourself, and come home to cook because you believe cooking is worth it. You do a lot. It’s okay to be tired of everything. It really is okay. Give yourself permission to be tired of all of it.
2. Just be for a couple days.
Call in to work unavailable and reschedule all your meetings for at least the next week if you can. Grab that coffee or wine, find your pet or significant other and binge watch whatever you want to your heart’s content. Or do what you’ve been wanting to do – within legal and civil limits of course. Take some time to unwind, to fulfill those desires your unmotivated-self has been having.
3. Channel your inner artist.
What makes you your happiest? Making lists? Cooking? Coding? Painting? Dancing? Go do that, whatever it is. This is the time to remind yourself of why you love your life, why all of it matters to you. By immersing yourself in something that you love, you’re giving yourself the space to process why you got burnt out in the first place and how to rejuvenate yourself for what’s ahead.
It’s time to face the music.
How did you get here and why? Write it down, or just think it through. Accept the reasons that feel right. If you need to adjust some things in your life, think about how you can. Process through your lack of motivation and uninterest. And maybe go back to 3. for a few hours.
5. Rally your team.
Halfway there. Now you need to talk to people. Yes, those same lovely people that were wondering if you were okay because you were late when you typically hate being late.
Gather a few of the closest and most important people in your life, maybe you want to include your doctor or therapist, and let them know what’s been going on with you. Explain as much as you want to and ask their help and support. Be honest and let them know if their responses are too supportive or not supportive enough. Time to open up friend, no one is an island.
6. Have a farewell-to-my-couch party.
This can be your own personal farewell or you can invite some guests if you’d like. In any case, this is your time to tell your couch, or whatever your hangout spot was during your burnout period, that it was fun, but now it’s over.
Watch the last episode of your favorite series, drink some extra special [insert your drink of choice], and get yourself ready to get back into the swing of things!
7. Ease into getting back to business.
You may or may not be feeling ready to go back to work, but you must. Don’t take things too quickly, unless you’re absolutely certain it’s what’s best for you. Be fully present in the moments of yours days and relearn to enjoy what you do by reminding yourself why you do it and how much it mattered to you while you were away from it (check 3. and 4.). If you decided to change some things, now is the time to start putting those new plans in place.
8. Don’t forget!
Now that you’re back, don’t forget how you got burnt out in the first place! You’re not invincible, as awesome as you are. Make time for self-care and for cultivating the habits that are going to keep you healthy and happy – A few great articles with tips for doing just that.
If you need help, or if this period is lasting longer than you think it should, don’t be afraid to ask! Your burnout may also be job/ career related. Here’s how you know, and in any case it’s a good idea to speak with a therapist or your doctor about how you’re feeling.
Burnout can be small episodes of lethargy and it can be life-changing instances where you know some habits haven’t been healthy and it’s time to establish a new normal. Either way, they can work for your good. Listen and gentle with yourself.