Wednesday, June 6, 2012

5 Surprising Tips to Avoid Burnout

Burnout is a bummer!
5 Surprising Tips to Avoid Burnout, by Kayelle Allen

Burnout: Melt, break, or become otherwise unusable. That's not a great definition when it comes to people. If you've experienced burnout, you know how hard it is on the mind, body, and spirit. No simple process can eliminate it, but even little things can help. Here are five surprising things you might not have considered before.

  1. Put off decisions. Procrastination is a sign of burnout. Did you know that? The mind stops being able to focus, so you put off doing things because you don't have the energy or ability to decide. Listen to your body. Allow yourself the freedom to put off making a decision until you've rested. Rather than say "no" say "I'll think about it." Then write it down, so that your mind isn't busy trying to remember. Come back to it later.
  2. Permit yourself to take a break. Notice that I didn't say "take a break." I said to "permit yourself to do it." One of the reasons we don't fully rest is that we feel guilty for taking time off. When you get away from the computer, or your job, or your family, or whatever is burning you out, let yourself relax. Give yourself mental permission for that break. You'll feel better than if you walk away but then mentally pace until you can get back to your desk.
  3. Pay attention to something insignificant. Pet a kitten and notice the underlying stripes in its fur. Feed a goldfish and watch it swim. Toss a ball for a toddler and watch how their legs move when they run. Unwrap a straw and look at the way the paper is fastened around it. These things are minute details, but each has meaning in its own way. Doing this can give your mind the kind of break it needs to think about other things.
  4. Put things in order. Straighten your desk. Make your bed. Fold the towels and put them away. Sweep the kitchen. Wipe down one shelf of the refrigerator. Doing mundane tasks that make your environment neater, cleaner, and more organized can free your mind for other tasks. When you're folding laundry, your mind isn't focused on the task, yet you are accomplishing something important.
  5. Purchase something you've wanted but normally wouldn't have bought. Not talking about a diamond bracelet, although if you can afford it and want it, then why not? I'm talking about some little thing that you would get as a impulse gift for a friend that you might not indulge in for yourself. I bet when you read that line you thought of something right away. Why not let yourself have it? You deserve a goodie.
Burnout is dangerous. When writers get it, they writers stop writing. Teachers stop teaching. Mothers stop mothering. Wives stop... well, being wifey. Avoid it if possible. If you've got it, deal with it. 

Want another source of ideas on handling burnout? I was inspired recently by a blog called The Freedom Experiment. There were many articles on self care. One of them inspired this post. How do you avoid burnout?


Victoria Adams said...

Fantastic advice.

Especially the giving yourself permission to take a break.

W. Lynn Chantale said...

Excellant post Kayelle. I'm definitely guilty of a few of these.

Savanna Kougar said...

That is great advice. Thank you!