10 Things To START Doing To Prevent Burnout
1) Unsubscribe To The Hustle Culture
Since the 00s (and somewhat the 90s), there has been this vast push on "how to be successful".
You know, the whole:
"I'll sleep when I'm dead."
"Work while your competitor is sleeping."
And then, with social media influencers and "productivity gurus" push, it's become increasingly more challenging to know what the norm is.
What I can tell you is, it's not:
Waking up at 5 am
Going to the gym for 1.24 hours
Meditating for 47.5 minutes
Doing a detox diet
Starting a side hustle
And then head to work to be the "first one in and the last one to leave".
It's not realistic for many people.
With this said, please unsubscribe to the hustle culture.
Instead, focus on:
Getting enough rest
Prioritising spending time with loved ones
Filling your cup
All of this will drive performance and productivity.
2) Live With Boundaries
It's so easy to say yes to everything.
It's so easy to be everything for everyone.
It's so easy to fall into the category of not wanting to disappoint people.
It's so easy to have no boundaries.
Boundaries are essential, especially when we want to protect ourselves against burnout.
Having boundaries does make you a "bad" person. It means that you have the energy to give to things that matter.
Also, remember, we can have our non-negotiable boundaries, which are the ones that are set in stone. These are the ones we can base our relationships on, how we want to show up, what we're not willing to tolerate etc.
And we can have our negotiable boundaries. They might be circumstantial, and these can be fluid. You might be having a challenging time at work and need to let a loved one or friend know that you need some space.
There is nothing wrong with boundaries. Embrace them.
3) Prioritise Your Sleep
It is so easy to sacrifice our sleep for work (or life, for that matter).
"What does it matter if I only get 5 hours of sleep? I've functioned on less before."
Firstly, our cognitive function, immunity and stress response all take a hit.
And secondly, this can be the start of a bad habit of supplementing sleep with caffeine, which then impacts the quality of our sleep. So the cycle will continue.
On top of that, sleep has to be at the foundation for our overall well-being.
It's vital for:
Think about a time when you've not had a great night sleep. How was your next day?
Were you firing on all cylinders?
Were you emotionally stable?
Were you making good decisions?
Did you remember everything?
Sleep has to be a non-negotiable for me.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of good quality sleep!
4) Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday (And Nobody Else)
It's easy to go on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or any other social network and look at other peoples successes.
However, this isn't helpful.
We will typically only show what we want people to see on the internet and nothing else.
One of my favourite things to say to my clients is:
"Every step you've taken has brought you to where you are right now. Every step THAT person has taken them where they are".
You can't compare where you're at to someone else's.
Also, we have no idea what is going on in that person's life.
If you're burnt out and you see someone hiking up Everest, it's unrealistic for you to pack your bags for Everest at that moment.
Meet yourself where you're currently at and work from there. When you do that, you can take the appropriate steps for YOU.
5) Don't Fall In The Trap Of Toxic Positivity
Toxic positivity is genuinely horrible.
Just imagine saying to someone who has just lost their mum, "At least you still have your dad".
That might be true, but that doesn't take away from that person's grief.
Not working through painful emotions is not healthy.
Only focusing on the positive things in life isn't always healthy.
Sometimes things are tough, and some things are challenging. We have to lean into them to ensure we're getting to a better place.
Imagine your house is on fire, but you only focus on how pretty your garden is. It wouldn't make sense.
Emotions are there to guide us, to let us know what's going on.
Sometimes we have to listen to negative ones to see if they're letting us know something needs to change.
6) Develop A Structure
This one has become increasingly important, especially with people working from home more frequently.
Many people lose their structure when they work from home. They start earlier and finish later, taking away their ability to decompress for the day.
If you're being honest with yourself, when do you start work?
Is it the minute you wake up and check your emails?
I would say yes (if this is something you do).
The minute you check that email or your messages, your brain starts to fire, and your day essentially has begun.
And then, at the end of the day, you might have powered down the laptop, but are you mentally still working into the evening?
Design your day with a specific start time and specific end time, including checking your email in the morning!
7) Schedule Downtime
It's so easy to write down your to-do list in the morning and forget that you're a human and need rest.
Schedule downtime into your day.
The same way you structure your day, structure and schedule in downtime.
Look at your day objectively.
Is it a super busy day? If so, what can you put into your day to relax?
What time can you start to relax?
It's so easy to get caught up in life that we forget to pause and take a deep breath.
It's vital that you start doing this!
8) Stop Draining Yourself
Stop doing things that serve no purpose and drain you.
I'm not talking about binging Netflix.
I'm talking about going to a social event that you genuinely don't want to, and there's no purpose to it.
I'm talking about all the times you say yes when you want to say no but don't because of your people-pleasing gene.
It's so easy to push ourselves to be "doing" constantly.
However, it's draining. If we don't protect our time, energy or boundaries, we can easily to marching towards burnout.
9) Check-in With Yourself
How often do you check in with where you're at?
It's easy to wake up in the morning and check our messages, emails and social media.
However, we don't check in with ourselves. And it's essential.
Burnout doesn't just happen, and we have to look for the warning signs.
One of the best ways to do that is to check in with ourselves.
Start simply by asking yourself two questions in the morning:
How am I from 0-10? (10 being excellent)
How stressed am I 0-10 (10 being very stressed)
Keep track of the scores and start to understand what changes you can make to get you to 10 or closer to a 0.
10) Surround yourself with people that DON'T drain you.
It might sound harsh. However, it's crucial.
You need to have people who genuinely lift you up, not drag you down.
You need people around you that respect your boundaries.
You need to surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart.
Not the fair-weathered friends.
Not the people who only contact you when their life is in shambles.
Not the people that drag you down to lift themselves.
The last two years have been long and tiring.
It's been stressful.
Burnout is on the rise.
And we have to manage our stress and prevent burnout.
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