burnout prevention

Burnout Prevention Plan

Anyone else in a perpetual state of burnout lately? If so, you are not alone. Our current situation with global climate change, racism, sexism, financial worries, poor leadership and a  PANDEMIC is enough to put even the most stoic of us into a bit of panic. While the majority of us are dealing with some level of these stressors in our day to day lives this garbage pile of everything is DRAINING and when you put it on top of years and years of discrimination and oppression…we have burnout.  

Productivity and Burnout Both Increasing

Before we dig deeper into burnout I do want to make a note about productivity (which is something I’m not super fond of – especially if we use it as a marker of personal success). During my time in HR I worked with managers that were pro remote work and many who were against it due to the fear that employees would be less productive if they had the freedom to work from home. I was lucky enough to work for more managers that were more pro remote work than against it but for anyone who is on the fence about productivity I want to note that 63% of managers and workers are saying that productivity has gone up or stayed the same during this time. 

Work Life Balance 

This means that during a PANDEMIC employees are still managing to get just as much if not more work done. This also means that these individuals are working harder than they were in the office, are facing more stress (unless they are a COVID non-believer) and are probably inching their way towards burnout if they haven’t gotten there already. The longer hours might be due to poor boundary setting since employees can no longer physically leave work at work and because they are not busy or they feel obligated to continue working or respond to emails during non-work hours. If you are one of these employees I HIGHLY recommend setting work from home workplace boundaries and talking to your manager about them. I have an outline for this over on my Patreon if you want to join the boundary setting party! 

Old Burnout Prevention Ideas Not Working 

Because of the layers to this madness I’ve been posting a lot about rest, self-care (the real kind not the marketing kind), meditation and mindset tricks but for me these things aren’t cutting it anymore. We are in a global (or at least in the US, nationwide) state of trauma and panic and we are exhausted – so I’ve thrown together a personal burnout prevention plan. 

**Before we jump in – as a reminder I am not a therapist or mental health professional. If you are experiencing mental or physical health struggles please do not use this blog as a replacement for medical care**

The Plan 

Be Nice 

This is going to sound obvious but BE NICE TO YOURSELF THIS IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC! Treat yourself like you would a friend. If a friend was tired would you make them keep working? No (I hope), you would let them rest! Treat yourself the same way. 

Which brings me to the next part of the plan…

Say No (Strategically)

I’m a big “yes” person. I love taking big leaps, making jumps, doing ALL the things, but if I want to have the energy for the important things I have to say no…sometimes. So now I ask myself what the benefits of saying yes are and if it is worth the physical or emotional labor to do the thing. 

And when you say no DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! For me, the hardest part of saying no is the guilt and the should’s so if you need to revisit the shoulding yourself post and STOP. Ok? Ok! 

Take Time Off 

If you are *lucky* enough to still be employed during this pandemic DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR PTO! Take vacation days, take days off at home, and if you are getting sick time take a mental health day and rest. You do not have to go anywhere to use PTO, you can vacation in your home! Some staycation ideas: 

  • At home spa day! (bath, candles, face masks, meditation, spa music, pull out the essential oil diffuser – go all in the “self-care” items if they make you feel refreshed)
  • A PJ day! Stay home, put on some day time PJs and watch movies in your jammies all day. It’s almost like a snow or foggy day when you were a kid. 
  • Holiday Movie Day! Take a day and marathon your favorite holiday films! Pull out the hot chocolate or whatever you are into. 
  • Try a new hobby! Have you been watching people bake quarantine bread and want to try? Or you’re dying to try a paint by numbers but never have the time or you’re too tired after work? Order your supplies and take a day off to play. 
  • DO NOTHING. One of my favorite ways to spend a day off is to give myself permission to do nothing. Do I actually do nothing? No, of course not, I always end up wanting to do something BUT by giving myself permission to do nothing I somehow Jedi mind trick myself into being able to rest and follow my wants instead of my “to do” list. 

Give one or all of these a try! Take a week and come up with themed days! Do whatever sounds fun and relaxing to you – but please use your PTO! If you need help working on your work life balance sign up for a FREE consultation call so we can find a sweet spot for you. 

**A note for my unemployed friends: If you are out of work right now please please please take a little time for self care in between your job applications, resume edits and LinkedIn search binges. You do not have to spend every moment looking for a job. And if you need help with your resume, job search or figuring out what to do next please reach out for a FREE coaching consultation – I’m happy to help you create a plan that factors in time to rest and play! 

Little Moments of Self Care 

Regardless of your employment status, your PTO accruals or how often you take days off, take little moments throughout your day to check in with yourself or make yourself feel special.

Some of the ways I like to do this are: 

  • Drinking my water out of a wine glass so I feel fancy 
  • Fitting a meditation session into my day (most days – and I can always feel it when I skip a day) 
  • Writing a letter, note or kind message to someone who has helped you in some way (this makes me feel better and it usually makes someone elses day) 
  • Scheduling in walk breaks (our corgi does that for us in this household but if you don’t have a pet make sure you are getting yourself outside to exercise)
  • Starting my day with something that makes me happy (this is a new one for me but for the last couple days I’ve been trying to start my day by watching a video or consuming content or playing music that brings me joy and makes me feel good – 10/10 recommend) 
  • Bed Time Wind Down Routine: this is my newest item because I am mediocre at routine. I’ll be posting a vlog about this in the coming week and keep you updated on what has been helping me with this and what has not worked or been hard to accomplish. 

Conclusion 

There you go – this is my burnout prevention plan. Will it work for you? You tell me! But whatever you do and however you do it be SUPER KIND TO YOURSELF because we are all in an extended state of panic and it is exhausting. If you are one of those beautifully stoic people please take some time to honor the feelings beneath that strong front. And if you are someone who has emotions flowing out of them constantly please be kind to them and let them flow. 

You are allowed to feel overwhelmed, burnout, exhausted and like you need a break. So take one…or two…or as many as you can sneak in! 

Sending you all lot’s of love! 

Hitting Refresh

Lately, I’ve been experiencing professional and social burnout. I love my job and I adore my friends and family but I’m in desperate need of a looooong break. Why do adults not get summer vacation?

napping
I’ve suffered from burnout since 1993

2017 has been EXHAUSTING and I, as a perfectionist with anxiety, needed to hit pause. I spent July re-calibrating and trying to refresh. I fell off my morning workout schedule (don’t worry I still worked out in the evenings, I just gave up on 6am for a bit), I ate out a bit more (don’t worry I haven’t gone back to my old Domino’s antics yet) and I stopped writing for my blog (did you miss me?). I dropped all of my non-work responsibilities and tried to eliminate my stressors. Unfortunately, it did not work. Quitting on my “me time” schedule just made things feel worse. So, I’m back.

When you do not have the PTO or a flexible schedule I guess the only option with burnout is to power through it. I experienced burnout of a similar time towards the end of my college career and I know that my little break from the activity I was burnt out on helped tremendously. By the time I graduated I was exhausted from the papers, readings and studying. I had quit reading for fun. I had gone from being a bibliophile to a bibliophobe. But after I graduated, stopped panicking and found a job I rediscovered my love of books.

Sometimes we need a break from the things we love, and when we can’t take that break we have to remember why we love what we do. I’ve started writing down what I’m thankful for each evening again and it has helped shift my mindset a bit. I’m getting back into meditation and I’m focusing on trying to figure out what excites me outside of my daily activities. I’ve been obsessively watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix and I’ve decided to try baking (pita breads are first on the list). Adding a new hobby hopefully will help light the spark I need to get me out of this burnout.

sleeping puppy
Photo evidence of me “meditating” on how difficult life was circa 2011

All this being said my August goal is to meditate on everything I have accomplished this year, evaluate the goals I have set, and determine what I need to do to find my center. My goal of cultivating love and creativity this year has come so far and I refuse to let it fizzle out with this current bout of burnout.

Let me know what are some of your techniques for battling burnout in the comments below!