3 Lessons I Learned to Overcome Burnout
I’ve had this post sitting in drafts for weeks. Not sure how, when or even if I should share it. However, I’ve always been honest with you all and maybe this could help someone else.
I like to think that I’m invincible. For as long as I can remember, my mind moves a million times a minute - I’d find myself writing down thoughts, ideas and goals constantly.
A friend of mine once called me Superwoman back in college. Between multiple classes, an internship, two jobs and striving to make Dean’s list every semester, I thought I was doing all the right things. So when I graduated college, I continued to follow suit in keeping myself busy. My colleagues and family always treated being “overworked” as “normal.”
But then there’s adulthood - bills and dreams and money needed to fund those dreams and… you get the point. My focus shifted to more overtime at work, and less time for myself and others. I dove head-first into pulling all hours I was available for: four, 10 hour days became six, 12 hour days. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
Suddenly passion projects weren’t so much fun anymore, creating content seemed more like a chore then something I was committed too. Frankly, because I didn’t have time - well, make the time. My social life and pursuits of passion were suffering, but I quickly realized that I couldn’t do this anymore. I was feeling overworked and just out of it. To the point where I could even tell in my appearance big time.
Like I’ve said before, we tend to internalize our emotions and set aside our needs. We want to create our brands, maintain a healthy work-life balance and stay active on social. I realized that what I was lacking was balance. I began to allow my job - a role that doesn’t currently align with my goals - to take advantage of me and my emotional needs. I even began to stray away from the creative content that I was so passionate about.
In other words, this is what sparked my blog changes and the new direction. The whole point of my blog was to not only connect with like-minded people, but share my content to inspire others and improve my art work. My moment of clarity caused a shift in my overall goals, these are a few lessons I learned:
1. It’s Okay to Slow Down + Rethink your Efforts
It's time to stop and take a break before the burnout. I am a strong believer in the saying “listen to your body.” My 4:30 mornings left me no time for anything else as my commute and work day took up the majority of my time. So I stopped taking on so much overtime, looked at my schedule and made time for what mattered most to me.
Ask yourself the important questions: What am I doing this week that encourages me to stay true to my overall goals? What are smaller tasks I can complete to achieve them?
I’ll be honest, I’ve been keeping 4:30 mornings, but making more of an effort to think through my strategy. I create a to-do list for the entire week down to each approximate hour, which could be a lot for some, but necessary for me. It allows me to visualize what is important.
2. Social separation can be a good thing
When I was burnout, I would still say yes to going out with friends when I didn’t feel like it. For the sake of not wanting to be that person. Besides I’m an introvert who prefers a night in with Netflix than short dresses and sore ankles (I still enjoy lounges though).
My anxiety would get to the point where I felt like I had to make up some sort of excuse to my friends instead of telling them what was really going on with me. I now find myself spending free time meal prepping, exercising and planning out my days. These options may not be as appealing, but they have improved my emotional and physical health.
A few more things I learned along the way:
More of my time was spent listening and asking myself hard questions
I became okay with just saying “no” or “not today” and didn’t feel guilty about it
I stopped being consistent on social media
I found my own voice again - just a bit more refined
3. It’s ok to be honest with yourself
I learned to stop lying to myself and others that things were okay. When people asked how I was, I would say “it’s going” or “I’m fine”. Knowing damn well I’m erupting like a volcano on the inside. I had to learn the art of emotional honesty - meaning being direct and open with myself. This allowed me to take a deeper look at who I am and what I’m willing to accept. I decided to come to terms with my fears and understand the burnout.
While I didn’t take a break until I reached my burnout, I hope that the lessons I learned will help you. Whether you’ve already hit this point or on the way, it’s never too late to tackle life and design it how you see fit.