How to Avoid Burnout
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We all do it - too much work plus too much stress equals BURNOUT.
If you’ve ever suffered from burnout you’re certainly not alone - worldwide a massive 75% of young professionals are experiencing burnout (1).
Woah. Burnout is a real thing.
How do you avoid burnout? Read on, your brain may thank you...
STEP 1 - TAKE A BREAK
Picture this - you’ve just run a 26-mile marathon. You’ve given everything to keep going and drag yourself over the line. Exhausted but elated, you’ve made it. You can stop.
Question - Would you try to get up and run another marathon STRAIGHT AWAY?
NO! You would take a break, right?
Same thing with burnout. After pushing your brain hard - whether it’s through work projects, deadlines, problem solving, team dynamics, daily stresses, emotional processing, your living situation, flatmates, moving house, buying a home, relationships, financial pressures, navigating life changes or something else weighing you down - you deserve to take a break.
Your brain is just like a muscle, it needs to rest, recover and recharge fully from time to time. Trying to push through stress without a break only makes for additional stress.
Taking a break may sound like an obvious solution, but when you’re burnt out it’s much harder to know what you need. Here are 5 signs of burnout to look out for:
#1 Brain fog, tension headaches, feeling overwhelmed by EVERYTHING
#2 Erratic mood, hurts to think, snapping at ANYTHING
#3 Tension in the chest, neck, face or jaw, shallow breathing, PANIC
#4 Trouble sleeping, restless nights, insomnia
#5 Stress eating
Yeah… time to take a break.
Once you accept that you need to take a break, you can rest assured that the world isn’t going to end when you stop working for a week or two and take some time for yourself.
STEP 2 - GET AWAY
Stepping out of the daily grind and getting away from it all is guaranteed to help you avoid burnout. Getting away can give you the headspace to breathe, unravel and let all your tensions, strains and stresses melt away.
Does that dog look stressed out? No. And neither should you.
Getting away into nature can be one of the best ways to avoid burnout. Scientific research has shown that getting away into nature improves your mood, self-esteem, reduces blood pressure, and enables your nervous system to switch from a sympathetic “fight flight freeze” response to a parasympathetic “rest digest recharge” response (2). In other words, nature helps you RELAX.
Try this - for the next 10 seconds breathe slow, look at the sunset, and let go of all your expectations...
Aaaah nature :)
STEP 3 - TRY SOMETHING NEW
If doing the same thing over and over again is burning you out, then it’s time to try something new.
Trying something new is a great way to avoid burnout as it helps you get into a more adventurous, creative and playful mindset, turning new challenges into opportunities to learn, grow and change.
Studies from neuroscience have shown that taking bold new action gives your brain and body new sensory data which in turn builds greater confidence and self-belief (3).
Overall trying new things can help avoid burnout in multiple ways, including:
Try this - brainstorm a list of things to try out. Take a couple of hours and make a list of everything in your life you’re not satisfied with. For all the things in your list, set out two things you can try out, and see if changing in that direction makes a difference to you (4)
STEP 4 - CONNECT WITH PEOPLE WHO GET IT
Speaking to other people about burnout can really help get a new perspective on your situation. People are often amazed at the support they get from sharing their burnout experiences, as well as inspiring others to share their similar experiences.
Connect with people who are most willing and able to offer you the support you need to avoid burnout - whether that’s a combination of friends, peers, family, coaches, therapists, instructors, mentors, or all of them. The Courage Community could be a good place to start - it’s full of curious and courageos explorers who back you up and push you forward, and it’s free.
Be clear on this point - seeking advice or help with burnout is NOT a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength and courage to open up, be vulnerable, learn, and grow together. It means you are taking charge of your burnout and moving forward into a beautiful future that you can choose to control and create.
STEP 5 - FIGURE OUT WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
To avoid burnout, pause and take time out to experiment, to explore what other options are out there for you, and gain perspective on life and your future options. Burnout can, and should, be a thing of the past.
IKIGAI can be a useful tool to help figure out where you are at now, where you want to be, and how to get there. The IKIGAI framework for exploring your “reason for being” looks like this:
To avoid burnout, above all give yourself permission to do what you feel is right.
If you want to accelerate the process click here to download our toolkit of amazing tools to help you take the leap in your life, or join us on our life changing Courage Adventure.
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The Courage Adventure - October, 2019
(1) Linked In 2017 Encountering a Quarter-life Crisis? You’re Not Alone…
(2) European Journal of Physiology 2012, The effects of views of nature on autonomic control, Gladwell VF1, Brown DK, Barton JL, Tarvainen MP, Kuoppa P, Pretty J, Suddaby JM, Sandercock GR. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012 Sep;112(9):3379-86. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2318-8. Epub 2012 Jan 21.
(3) Professor Daniel Wolpert, Cambridge University Neuroscience, The real reason for brains
(4) Dr Oliver Robinson, University of Greenwich & First Direct 2017, How to turn your quarter-life crisis into quarter-life catalyst