In a society that teaches you that the more you work, the better, it can be hard to know when you've overworked yourself. But once you realize you're suffering from burnout, it's vital to acknowledge it and take some steps to combat it before your work takes a hit. Recovering from burnout can be a long and sometimes challenging process, so be patient with yourself and give your body and mind whatever they need to recover.
"The first step is to acknowledge what you are experiencing," Lauren Gentile, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and owner of the private therapy practice Psych Wellness, tells Bustle. "People who are suffering from burnout have likely been pushing themselves to keep going even when they are struggling. It can be hard to slow down and accept that you need to take time for yourself. Don't think of it as a failure. Instead, recognize that everyone has a point where things become too much and it's OK to take care of yourself. Talk to people about what you are experiencing. Processing your experiences that led to burnout can be very therapeutic. Share your feelings with friends, partners, family, and anyone else who you think can be a supportive listener."
Once you've recognized that you're suffering from burnout, here are some ways to give yourself some rest and get back on track.
1. Take A Vacation
2. Take Care Of Your Health
Even if your burnout wasn't caused by bad health, it could be contributing to it. So, MacLeod suggests enlisting the help of both a doctor and a therapist to ensure your mind and body are prepared before you get back to work.
3. "Look For The Lie"
"Whenever we feel burnt out, there is a truth that isn’t being told — whether that’s to ourselves or another," Sheryl Hunter, author of Get Unstuck and Use It, tells Bustle. Maybe, for example, you're not being yourself at work, or maybe your work is misaligned with your passions.
"Be willing to tell the truth about what isn’t working in your life," says Hunter. "Be brutally honest with yourself."
4. Make Some Changes In Your Life
Once you know what's not working, change it before you get burnt out even more. "Be judicious and execute the changes you identified that need to be made with intention and velocity," says Hunter. "The clock is ticking; this is your life."
This may mean talking to your boss about decreasing your hours or changing your assignments, taking a leave of absence, or getting a new job, says MacLeod.
5. Enlist Support
"If your environment doesn’t support your new life and who you’ve become, you will risk becoming burnt out and derailed again," Hunter says. "Talk to the people that matter in your life, and let them know what changes you’ve made and how they can support you."
6. Create A New Routine
Once you've gotten burnt out, you may come to associate your old routine with burnout, Kayley Reed, creator of the Self-Care Sunday podcast, tells Bustle. "Get into a new routine. Establish a new normal. Disassociate your daily actions with burnout," she says. "You could change the sound of your alarm, what you eat for breakfast, your route to work, or any other aspect of your routine, and replace it with something that makes you feel energized and rejuvenated.
7. Explore Your Passions
Burnout doesn't just result from the number of hours we spend on work. It results from how we feel about that work. The more we're doing what we love, the less burnt out we'll feel. "Take time for the hobbies you used to love, and take time to discover new ones," Reed says. "If you're doing the same thing over and over, try something new."
If you feel yourself getting burnt out, it's best to begin this action plan ASAP so you can nip the burnout in the bud. The longer you put it off, the worse the burnout will get. In fact, even if you're not burnt out, this advice can help make anyone's everyday routine more exciting and energizing.