I was recently in New York and it was absolutely amazing! I was there for a work event, but we also got to take time and experience the city. We bought tickets to see a play called The Book of Mormon. I spent a lot of money to see it, and was so excited to laugh! But, I fell asleep. I have no idea how it was, and I’m pretty bummed about it.
In reality, I had run myself ragged. Between back to back out of town work trips, two separate launches in a month, taking care of kids, and working when I had a break from my other work obligations, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. That, my friends, is burnout.
Recognizing and coping with burnout is important, but I still have times where I fall victim to it (clearly!). However, it’s important to take care of yourself so you don’t feel too burnt out and suffer for it… or miss a really cool show you wanted to see as a result.
Ideally, you realize you are burnt out before you fall asleep during a play! There are a lot of signs of burnout, and they are different for everyone, so it’s important to be aware of your own signs of burnout in order to cope with it. Some common signs are fatigue (don’t I know it!), depression, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, stress, or insomnia, among others. It’s that feeling when you have so much to do, and so much that you’ve already done, and you just want to escape all of it. My business life is busy now, but I’ve felt burnout as a new mom, as a student, and especially as a single parent. Recognizing when you’re burnt out is important in order to help cope with it.
Coping With It
Honestly, I sometimes feel like I have to just push through it. I don’t have the option to give up on a product launch, miss a work trip, or take a day off from taking care of my kids. However, I’ve learned that managing burnout doesn’t mean I have to just quit doing everything, which is good, since that’s not really an option for me. Or any of us for that matter. For me, coping is done with micro breaks, planning a vacation, and self-care.
When I’m experiencing burnout, I take time to give myself a micro break until I can take an actual break, or a vacation. Those look like five more minutes in a hot shower, a walk out to see the progress in my garden, a few minutes scrolling on my phone, or a few minutes with no technology whatsoever. I sometimes plan out a vacation. Even though that getaway won’t happen for a while, just planning it helps to calm my mind and relieve some stress. A big way to cope is to do some self-care. I might write something positive in a journal, spend some time in the gym, listen to a podcast I love, or sit in silence on my patio outside.
Asking for help is a huge coping tool that can work wonders. It can be hard, but when burnout is too much it’s vital to ask for help. Talk to your spouse about cooking dinner or taking the kids for an hour or two. Ask a team member, manager, or colleague to take some work off of your shoulders. Ask a friend to come help you fold your laundry in exchange for some wine. If you have a support system, don’t be afraid to use them.
I’m still in the thick of a lot of obligations right now, but I’m working on micro breaks and self-care to get me through it.
What are your signs of burnout, and how do you cope?