Life

Burnout: 5 Steps I’m Taking To Recover

Life is overwhelming to say the least.

I’m someone who likes to keep herself busy, whether it’s work, school, spending time with family, hobbies, or passions (like this blog). And I’m usually really good at juggling it all, but recently I have been hit with what can only be described as burnout.

I’ve sat at my desk, just staring at the computer screen, not remembering — not wanting to shuffle through the pile of work in front of me. I’ve sat on the couch, thinking about deadlines for homework, doing nothing to get assignments closer to completion.

Life is ever-changing, and right now our lives are potentially about to shift in a major way… And of course I’ve taken it upon myself to take care of everything. Making the plans, doing the research, taking on the worry.

It’s all started to get too heavy. I’m worn.

I have had little interest in doing things that benefit my career, academics, and soul. Exhausted is not close to what my heart has been feeling.

So I’m taking a few steps to bring myself back to life, before I get too far gone.

This is the hardest one. I’m wired and I’m a born night owl. But it’s SO IMPORTANT to get  good rest. Getting adequate sleep helps level out that pesky stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for the body’s responses to stress, like increased heart rate. Sleep also promotes healing around the body, and (as a mom on a weight loss mission) I have found that I have more weight loss success when I’m sleeping well.

To help me get a better night’s sleep, I have been taking a magnesium supplement in the evening, which generally puts me to sleep in about 30-45 minutes. That’s a huge improvement on the usual 2 or so hours it usually takes.

I think I will also stop all electronics use 30-45 minutes before bed, to allow my mind to wind down and lessen the effects of blue light.

In the midst of taking on everything and anything, I tend to shove things away and out of sight — to be dealt with later or not at all. I’ve always valued honesty from others. I’m a huge supporter of talking out your issues in a civilized and open-minded manner, except when it comes to my own feelings. I’ve been letting things build up inside of me, and it’s just not healthy.

So I’ve tasked myself with being more open about what I’m really feeling, and trying to voice it in a calm and understandable tone. My tone is definitely something I need to keep in check, because I’m naturally snappy, especially when I feel like the world is on my shoulders.

I’m also making an effort to communicate with friends more. I’ve always avoided talking to others about the heavier things in life because I don’t want to be a burden, but I want to build strong and dependable relationships.

Yes. This is a cheesy one, but I really feel that it’s helping me keep a brighter outlook on life and our impending changes.

Fake it ’til you make it, right?!

But seriously, I’m really starting to believe what I tell myself. That’s a big thing for someone with a lot of insecurities.

I believe in my skills and abilities.

I am worthy of happiness and living in abundance.

My strength is greater than my struggle.

I am proud of myself and all I have accomplished.

This is a huge one for me. Yes, I take time away to work. I have a year left of school which is turning out to be the most assignment intensive year and I do things for the family business…but I don’t really take time away for me, aside from the odd blog post or article I take on — and I usually tackle these in stolen 5-10 minute increments over the course of a few days (or even weeks).

So I am making it a point to take at least a solid one hour block of time, one to two times a week, to do something for myself. Whether it’s writing an article, catching up on a TV show, taking a bath, reading a book, or whatever…I’m making time for it.

I’ve been working on this one for years. What good does it do you to hold onto negativity? It affects you mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. So, after I’ve enacted step #2, once I’ve said my piece, I will let it go. Especially if there is nothing that I can directly do to change the situation.

A bonus tip:

Take time to appreciate the little things, like days on the beach with your family or slow dancing in your bedroom with your partner. This can seriously put some good perspective into anything.

I’ve gradually been making a shift toward optimism over the last week or so (even though I’ve generally always been more optimistic than most), and I have to say that it’s really helping my outlook on myself and our lives. For the planner that I am, I am becoming more open to unknown possibilities and embracing drastic change. I am climbing out of the slump that I’ve called home for the last month, and am excited to see how these steps can further benefit me and my family overall.

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