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Wondering how to avoid burnout in a fast paced “busy’ culture? You’ve come to the right place! I’m going to share with you the things I did to pull myself back from the edge of burnout.
A few weeks ago I realised I’d had my foot on the gas for too long and could feel it taking a toll on my health. I was in bed with a 3 day migraine that meant I had to stop everything I was doing.
This was actually a blessing in disguise as it made me realise I was doing far too much. It forced me to stop and completely slow down.
Now that I’m thankfully feeling more rested I want to share with you the adjustments I’ve made to avoid this happening in future.
Stop, Look and Listen
An instantly effective way of avoiding burnout is to stop, become aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what you can hear. Essentially this is mindfulness.
Focus your attention on things that you can see, open your senses to sounds you can hear. It helps to become more present in the moment and calm your nervous system down by allowing your senses to take charge of your brain for a while.
Touch different surfaces and textures noticing how they feel on your skin. The key here is to simply tune into the moment and pay attention to what you notice. I use this method often to help stop anxiety or overwhelm in it’s tracks.
Daily Check Ins
I’ve started to practise doing daily check ins with myself. At certain moments throughout the day I’ll bring my attention to how I’m feeling in my body and in my mind.
Sometimes I notice that my heart is racing or that I’m rushing around from one place to the next. It’s at these moments where I can then make the conscious decision to slow things down.
I’ll make an effort to start moving around and talking more slowly and calmly.
I focus on my breathing and start to follow the technique I often use to help calm my body down. I’ve mentioned this breathing technique previously in my post about anxiety and my tips for managing endometriosis.
Typically for me I breathe in for 6 and out for 8 but you can alter this to what feels right for you. Just make sure the exhale is longer than the inhale- this helps to quiet the sympathetic nervous system and activate the body’s rest and relax response.
Practise Saying No
At times it’s really easy to get stuck in a people pleasing mindset and feel as though you need to say yes to everyone. Whether it’s in your personal life, at work or both.
One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to practise saying no to things that aren’t an energetic to match for you.
This can be very difficult for some people at first but it’s an important part of putting your needs first to avoid getting to the stage of burnout.
I always find it helps to explain the situation to someone and make it clear that you don’t have the capacity to take anything extra on at the moment.
Setting this boundary will be so beneficial to your health and will become easy to do over time.
Reduce Your Schedule
Another great way to avoid burnout is to take a look at your schedule and reduce it as much as possible.
This might mean cancelling plans, skipping your workouts or simply just doing less essential things throughout your day. It’s so important to do as little as possible when you’re feeling close to burnout.
Your schedule needs to be kept to a bare minimum to allow yourself the time to rest and recover.
So anything that isn’t absolutely necessary can wait until another day. This only needs to be short term until you are feeling fully recovered.
However, bear in mind there’s a reason why you got so close to burnout in the first place. Now is a great time to adjust your schedule for the long term to avoid it happening again.
Add things back into your schedule slowly, but find a balance by bringing spare time into your routine each day. This exercise is a great way to get you thinking about what’s really important.
Prioritise Rest and Sleep
Prioritising rest and sleep is crucial to avoiding burnout. Early nights should be part of your new schedule and rest times should be a regular occurrence.
If you struggle to sleep I highly recommend trying out a meditation app such as Insight Timer or a story telling podcast such as Nothing Much Happens. I use both and they have worked wonders for my sleep.
Reduce your screen time particularly before bed. About an hour or so before I go to bed I make a conscious effort to turn any screen devices off and put my phone onto silent mode.
This really does help to reduce any effects of blue light blocking the melatonin hormone that makes us sleepy.
Reducing screen time can also help to quiet your mind from thinking so much and prepare it for rest.
Hopefully these tips will help you with how to avoid burnout and encourage you to make some positive changes to your life.
Burnout can be a very serious thing and can often take a long time to recover from. It’s always better to make the change before getting to that point and make your health a main priority.
Absolutely agree with you. Wellness always needs to be the top priority.
Your tips seem really helpful. Thank you for the post.
Thank you! I’m so glad you’ve found them helpful 🙂
As a therapist, people often Overlook the signs and symptoms of burnout. If you don’t take time to slow down, your body and brain will choose when you slow down. This often happens at the most inconvenient time.
I couldn’t agree more and I have to say I’ve experienced exactly that! It’s something I’ll be sure to look out for in future
Burnout is a huge problem for me. I simply continue to overschedule myself on a regular basis. No screens before bed helps a lot.
Being able to see where you are over doing things is great as you know what you can start to work on. Maybe try one thing and then slowly build up until you are practising a few ways to keep burnout at bay. Hope this has been helpful for you.