Burnout is tossed around so much these days that it feels like we’re going numb to it as a society- especially my generation…
With the popularity of hustle culture growing combined with rising costs, it feels like all we can do is go go go until eventually we crash.
So, as a twenty-something that has struggled with burnout, I wanted to write this piece so you know that you’re not alone- not one bit. Burnout is more common than we’ll ever know and it’s not something to be ashamed of- it’s something to take seriously and seek to better the situation.
What is Burnout?
Before we go any further, we need a working definition of burnout.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, burnout is “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
Burnout can manifest itself in many different ways- from small symptoms that we can power through (such as a slight headache, stomachache, or tiredness), to much larger symptoms that refuse to be ignored.
I’ll never forget my first experience with those big burnout symptoms. I was in 9th Grade Health class in my last period of the day. First, I started getting cold… extremely cold. Then the headache and downright exhaustion came along. Fortunately, my teacher was chill and we were done for the day, so I was able to put my head down on my friend’s desk and try to keep as warm as possible.
When I got into my dad’s car (after stepping out into the blazing Florida sun to get there), I couldn’t shake the feeling. I was supposed to go to dance that night, but my body absolutely refused to let me. All I could do was lay in bed- stuck in a crippled body that wouldn’t let me sleep. And still that night I went up to the dance studio to watch our rehearsals (I still had a LOT to learn about burnout recovery 😅)
I wish I could say that I learned a lot from that experience, especially when it came to not pushing myself so hard. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my reality and I’m uncertain I’ll ever be fully recovered. However, I have learned a couple things about burnout that I hope will help you on your journey to a more-well life ✨
Listen to Your Body
As shown from my first experience with burnout and my lack of listening, this first lesson was a tough one to learn for me! However, if you lean into what you’re feeling physically, your body will tell you exactly what it needs BEFORE getting to the point of total burnout (because trust me, you won’t be able to ignore the shouting from your body when total burnout occurs).
Trust me, I know this seems easier said than done, but when you’re so used to shoving your physical feelings down in order to keep pushing along, hearing those inner whispers becomes harder and harder…
So, when your body speaks up, take a moment to listen so that voice becomes louder!
Have a Self-Care Routine
A regular self-care routine is one of the best defenses against burnout!
Burnout stems from a lack of caring for oneself and instead choosing to care for others, whether it’s other tasks or other people. Therefore, adding care for yourself into your schedule is like taking vitamins to build up your physical health.
Here are some self-care items that I’ve found best protect against burnout:
🏃🏻♀️A daily movement routine because it helps me get my frustration/anxious energy out
🧘🏻♀️Yoga & meditation because it helps me clear my mind and get in tune with my inner self
😌Creating pockets of peace in my day/week to ensure I have a moment to do what I want, whether it’s read for a few minutes, soak up the sun, or simply dance around
I won’t lie, I don’t do these things all the time. In fact, I’ve recently fallen into a rut where I haven’t been doing my self-care because life has been so crazy busy. Don’t worry- I’m getting back on my BS and I hope this’ll inspire you to do so too!
Love Yourself Through Your Seasons of Burnout
Burnout can feel like a failure in itself. It can feel like you’re too weak to handle the life you want or the life you need to survive.
However, this is farther from the truth. If you were living the life you’re meant to live, it wouldn’t cause you so much strife. Therefore, if you’re burning out, something’s not in alignment.
Your lifestyle should fit you, you shouldn’t have to run yourself dry to fit your lifestyle
If you’re experiencing burnout, I sincerely hope you can find your way to a more-well life. I hope the tips I’ve provided help you along your way and if you need to have a conversation with anyone, I’m here for you 💛