Burnout is something that almost everyone experiences, sometimes people don't realise that they are going through it. I unknowingly experienced burnout around May/June 2021. At the time, I was incredibly confused, I had no idea what caused it to happen. In hindsight, 6 months later, I think of it as a combination of different things: adjusting to life after a 3-month lockdown, saying yes to too many things (Yes, I'm a people pleaser) and possibly overworking myself in the run-up to (pre-public) exam season. When I did eventually realise what was happening, I took a week off all responsibilities during the May half-term. This was the worst thing I could have done. It led to an increased amount of stress, and I fell quite ill at the end of June. Since then, I have consciously been trying to make little adaptions in daily tasks. I have realised that to combat this feeling, you need to incorporate strategies alongside your daily life and make time for what works for you. Just giving up is not the way to deal with experiences of burnout. It's about managing your stress levels, your productivity and planning your days better. It's inevitably the small things that add up to make the bigger things count.
What is 'Burnout'?
According to The World Health Organisation, Burnout is an 'occupational phenomenon' that involves 'workplace stress that has not been successfully managed'. Now you may be thinking that you are super organised and are on top of everything because you plan, organise, manage your time successfully, and meet deadlines, in which case this wouldn't affect you. Well, here's some advice. Read on. Particularly if you are THAT person, because once upon a time ago that would have been me!
After conducting meticulous research, I have gathered a few typical symptoms of the overwhelming syndrome of burnout. This list is not exhaustive and not all may apply, as I have included the ones I have specifically experienced.
- A general lack of energy or exhaustion
- Constantly worrying about tasks you previously found exciting/manageable
- Decreased sense of enjoyment
- Reduced efficiency to get tasks done
- Detachment from friends and family
- Extreme loss of motivation
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless/trapped/defeated
- Understanding that to be a good person, is not to be a people pleaser
- Sometimes, it's okay to have a good old cry. Whack on your favourite sad tunes and belt it all out. Don't hold back. Just go for it. It will get easier. Trust me.
- Listen to podcasts - I highly recommend ControlAltDelete for experts advice on wellbeing in the world we live in as well as productivity tips, advice and general things you really need to hear!
- Walking. That's it. Just walk. It does wonders.
- Being realistic in terms of goal setting and time planning.
- 'Desperate Housewives' for the escapism we all need!
- Understanding that productivity RARELY means sitting in the same spot for 8 hours, tapping away at a laptop.
- Know that time off is more VALUABLE. (obviously, this is in proportion. Don't take many days off, as I learnt from my mistakes)
- Make time to do your favourite things/hobbies.
- Find a new hobby! It was during this time that I resorted to running every time I felt overwhelmed and I still go for a run if things get a little too much.
- Read. Reading for at least 6 minutes has actually been proven to reduce stress levels by 68%! A quick (and you can make it productive) fix!
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