Have you ever been so tired that a good night’s sleep doesn’t fix it? Have you ever been so drained that eating is hard? What about working for so long that your vision blurs? I’ve been there. And it’s a scary place to be. By the time you’ve reached this point you’ve fluxed through laughing and crying and wanting to disappear.
Burnout is a real freaking thing.
What Causes Burnout?
I want to share a meme with you that I saw the other day.
This cape and tiara mentality is what is causing burnout. People experience burnout for a variety of reasons but one overarching theme I have found is the be everything to everyone mentality. This is a problem that reaches across industries, genders, how long you’ve been in business, and every other small little demographic there is. Burnout is a person issue. If you are a person, you are at risk. If you are not a person, email me because I want to know what species I’m not including.
But the good news is that there are ways to combat this on a long term scale. There are ways to stop working yourself useless.
1. Stop Trying To Do It All
Let’s be really real here. You can’t do everything. I can’t do everything. And we shouldn’t be trying to do everything. Now I know there are some circumstances in life that make us everything to everyone, but the fact is, most of us can get help. It’s ok if you aren’t a domestic goddess, working full time, and taking on your side hustle work to. Let hubs make dinner. I want you to say it with me. Pinterest is a search engine, not a way of life. Say it out loud. Embrace the mess. It’s yours to embrace. Give it a hug and snuggle it and get used to it.
2. Understand Your Limits
This goes back to stop trying to do it all. It’s all about knowing where your limits are. This is a trial and error process, but you generally know where they lay. You know how much sleep you need, so go to bed at a time that will allow that to happen. You know you need to eat something. So make time to eat something like you ought to. Setting these limits of work is all about managing your time around meeting your basic human needs.
3. Set Your Boundaries
One key point I want to make in this post it to set those really hard boundaries. Those “I will eat three times a day and get a minimum of six hours of sleep a night” boundaries. Like making sure you are a functioning person boundaries. After you set those, then you need to work in things like set work hours, who is cooking dinner on Thursdays, and so on. Then place accountability on those boundaries. Like real accountability. I do not work on Sundays. This is a boundary that hubs and I have set for me. And you know what? I can’t check my personal email without him asking why I’m on my phone on a Sunday. He’s let up some since I’m really good about not working on Sunday, but he still asks sometimes. And I love, love, love it.
4. You Time Is Not A Myth
Sometimes it feels like you time is this amazing unicorn that is prancing around with the words “you time” branded into its flanks, running amok and being elusive. You time isn’t a unicorn. It’s a necessity. As in nonnegotiable. Even if it is meditation for 15 minutes a day, hitting the gym for a workout, or even just sitting in your car for ten minutes reading a book before you walk in the door at the end of the day (I’ve done that last one) you time is essential. How you spend it should be relaxing, not productive, and nurturing for your soul. Do it. Really.
5. Ask For Help
Dun dun duuuunnnn.
This is the one everyone dreads but it may be the single most important thing you can do to avoid burnout. I hate doing it, but when I have shit to do, I ask hubs to make dinner. It’s not asking for a lot, but it’s the little things that make a huge difference. Like keeping me on my rocker for one. This one is real. Do you know someone that can help you? Don’t be afraid to ask. From mom, to hubs, to that friend that for some reason has no formal training but takes pictures like a boss. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength.
Not Quite The End
These five are just barely scratching the surface of what you can do to stave off burnout. We hear so much about self care, but let’s be real. When dinners in the oven, you're writing a blog post that will go live in six hours, the cat is on top of the fridge, and your husbands back is out, sometimes just being a proper adult and taking a shower can feel like a win. But making the time for yourself, even if just for a few minutes a day, can add up to make a huge difference. Really what, in my opinion, can stave off burnout is just taking the time to respect yourself and your business.