20 Tips to Prevent Burnout
1. Stop people pleasing!
This is absolutely number one just in case you think this is too long to read because this is most important! Stop living your day for everyone else. Don't go to law school to impress your parents if you want to be a photographer. Don't plan your coworkers baby shower if you won't love every part of the experience. Don't make plans with people who don't take your thoughts and feelings into account. There are three easy steps to accomplish this:
1. Think about what is being offered for a moment. For example: your coworker asks you to plan their retirement party. Tell them you'll think about it and get back to them in a timely manner. Then think about it.
2. Weigh the outcomes. There are two in this instance. 1- I plan the retirement party and waste my time and energy doing so. 2- I don't plan the retirement party and waste no time or energy on this. Are you close with this coworker? Then maybe you're not wasting anything. Do you dislike this coworker? You're probably wasting valuable resources planning it, then. Weigh the costs and benefits of the decision.
3. Decide. And this is the hard part for most people, but it doesn't have to be. You either say "I'd love to" or "I appreciate you trusting me with this task, but I don't have the time". Short and simple. Don't make your decision based on the happiness it would bring them, but on the happiness it would bring you. If making them happy TRULY makes you happy - then do it. If not, spend your time on better things.
2. Change your diet
All I'm going to say on this since people HATE being told to change their diet is if you eat better you feel better. If you feel better you won't get burnt out so quickly. That is all.
3. Make sure you're getting enough sleep
I'm dead serious about this one. I hate that our culture praises those who sleep less as if that shows what a strong work ethic you have. No no no... without your 8 hours you are working less efficiently and if you know me you know that my number one concern is efficiency. I can get so much more done in one hour of time if I'm well rested than if I'm tired. PLUS fatigue is the reason why most car accidents happen on Fridays - people haven't been sleeping all week. Do us and yourself a favor and sleep! If you're not convinced I wrote a whole post on why badass bitches sleep A LOT!
4. Ask for help
Share carpool responsibilities for your kids, make sure you're splitting up group work, make sure your partner and you are sharing home responsibilities, and if you need help with a task ask someone for help knowing you'll return the favor when they need help. If you're not surrounded by people willing to help you then you need to rethink your relationships.
5. Time block
Don't work on writing your 25 page paper all in one sitting, do it in 5 page increments and take a break every 5 pages where you meditate or take a short walk, etc. This is super important for big goals. Just spend an hour every day on your goal and chip away at it until you reach it. If you're trying to build your business overnight you're going to get burnt out and quit really fast. Life's a marathon and you need to pace yourself. Which leads me to my next point...
6. Stop procrastinating
You're burnt out because you waited until 12pm to finish your report that's due the next day at 6am and not only are you stressed about the time crunch, but you're going to be running all day on no sleep making you less sharp - which leads to a less efficient day meaning you have to stay up late again to get all of your work done because it's taking you longer to complete. Schedule your responsibilities and stick to them so you can be at your most efficient and still have time for self-care and sleep and joy.
7. Make time for joy
And no this is not making time for self-care, that'll be another point. Joy is simply joy. Making time for what makes you laugh and what gives your life purpose. This is essential. I recommend making a list of the things that bring you the kind of joy that fills your soul and incorporate something from that list into each day. All day your draining your life source battery and joy is how you recharge it.
8. Stay off of social media
You've got to trust me on this one. People on social media are either complaining or bragging. You only see the BEST parts of peoples lives and then you end up comparing yourself to them. They're using filters, only showing the glamorous part of their day, and it's all for show. Studies have proven that people who use social media are left feeling more depressed than before they logged on. You need to lessen the amount of distractions in your life and keep your focus on your goal without comparing where you are in life to other people.
9. Make sure you're taking time for self-care
I really don't feel like I need to write a lot for this one... self-care is easy. Make sure your basic needs are met and you're taking time for YOU. Personally my self-care is done when I'm alone so I wrote a post that's 100 things to do alone if you're looking for some ideas.
10. Take time to be creative
This is so important. This isn't just a taking a break or letting your mind wander. Creating makes you feel important, it gets your using your right brain, and it's how you stay motivated. The less creative your responsibilities are (i.e. work, your major, running kids to soccer practice, etc) the more time you need to be creative to make sure you have that balance. Creating inspires and inspiration keeps you motivated and happy -- you'll be depressed and burnout super quick if you only focus on the boring stuff. I wrote a post on how to become inspired and find your passion if you're more interested in how to do this.
11. Stay hydrated
Just do it... if you're not drinking your weight in ounces of water every day you're not hydrated your body isn't at it's peak. Hydration = burnout prevention. Write it down.
12. Plan your goals
I mean sit down and plan out your next week, month, year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc. Where are you headed in your life? Where do you want to go? I recommend starting at 20 years and working backwards. This doesn't have to be set in stone, you can always change your mind, but it's much less of a mental strain if I know that by working on my business 1 hour a day I'll get to my 20 year goal then if I'm stressing out over how I'm going to be the person I want to be. Sit down, write it out, and calm down. I use the bullet journal method and wrote a post about that as well if you're interested.
13. Spend time in nature
The most important reminder spending time in nature gives me is that there is more than my tiny little perspective of the world. If I don't turn in my paper by midnight the sun will still rise, the Earth will still turn, and the little things I do every day are really not that important. Just go and take a walk outside of the city and remember that.
14. Ground yourself
This needs to be done every day. The busier you are the more grounding you need. I already wrote a whole post about how to ground yourself so check that out!
15. Keep your energy levels high
If you're struggling just to get out of bed in the morning you're probably already burnt out. You need to follow the other steps on this list, but I also wrote a post on how I got through this. I was sleeping 12 hours and would wake up feeling like I didn't sleep at all and couldn't get out of bed and so I wrote a post on how I got my energy back so you can implement some of the things that helped me in your own life.
16. Cut the bad fruit off of the tree
This goes along with the first point of not pleasing people... but really you NEED to remove toxicity from your life at all costs. Cut off toxic relationships, toxic friends, toxic family members, toxic responsibilities, etc. This is crucial. All of those things are draining your energy and you're going to get burnt out so much faster. If a person or a task isn't making you feel healthier or good about yourself or helping you achieve your goal you're wasting your time and energy. Again, I'm all about efficiency so trim up your life.
17. Get rid of stuff
Burnt out? TIME TO PURGE. You're wasting time and energy organizing your crap, cleaning your crap, looking for your crap, moving your crap to make room for other crap and it's exhausting. Believe me I know how you feel... I grew up with a type A mom who needed everything organized with labels BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH STUFF. It was just organized clutter. If you don't NEED it or LOVE it toss it. Byeeeeeeee. I also wrote a whole post on how to minimalize your entire life - not just your stuff. Read that one too. :)
18. Stop feeling guilty
Guilt burns me out faster than any other emotion. It takes about 3 seconds of a guilt trip for me to need a nap. This is so hard for people and I get it... but it's really something to work on. Be yourself unapologetically. If you fuck up then apologize and move on. You've learned from your mistake, be grateful for the lesson, and don't dwell on it. Stop feeling guilty that you're not around enough for someone, that you can't afford a birthday present, etc. If you're doing the best you can then the people in your life should respect that. If they make you feel guilty then resort back to point number 16 because you don't have time for that kind of negativity in your life. You have shit to do.
19. Be patient
You're not going to be a millionaire at 25. You're not going to live in a fully renovated penthouse at 26. Even if you know 20 year olds who are - you're probably not because most are living in shit holes and that is 100% OKAY. Even if you're 40 and you feel like you don't have your life together yet it is okay. Make a plan and chip away at it and be happy that you have a purpose. You're burnt out because you're impatient and you think having the penthouse is what will make you happy, but you're wrong. Working towards the penthouse is what will make you happy.
20. Believe you can do it
Otherwise known as your self-efficacy - this is psych 101. If you truly believe you CAN accomplish it then you will. That way a 25 page paper goes from this huge monster you have to slay with a toothpick to just "oh yeah that'll be nothing I can totally do that". You raise your self-efficacy by remembering all the times you have accomplished a similar task in the past... "Remember last semester when you wrote that 20 page paper? This is only 5 more pages". It might suck to accomplish it... but just reminding yourself that it's totally doable makes all the difference.