Let’s face it. We all experience burnout from time to time — even if we love the things we are doing. I always thought burnout happened when your plate was too full of things that drained you. But as I learned when I was blogging full-time back in the day, even creative outlets can lead to the need to take a break.
But what do you do when there are things you can’t take a break from that require a lot of energy? Like parenting? Or caregiving? I find myself thinking about this a lot lately as a caregiver. I love nothing more than seeing my grandmother every night and helping her with dinner. We have created a nice routine, and she spends the whole day looking forward to it. So, it breaks my heart to miss one of those visits with her. There are some upcoming days in September that I will have to skip, so that I can tend to my own health — and the guilt is setting in already.
As someone trying to manage it all, one might wonder, how do I prevent burnout? This past weekend was rough. I always try to get a little work, some cleaning, and errands done before the new week begins, so I don’t start the week off feeling behind. But unfortunately, that did not happen for me last weekend. And instead of being super motivated at the start of the week, I felt like I needed a long nap. The feeling I was experiencing was burnout. There were so many things on my to-do list, and I wanted to tackle none of them. Instead of getting frustrated with my lack of energy, I decided to give myself permission to take a breather.
Since I figure that I am not alone with feeling burnout, I thought I would share some ways that have helped me manage it:
1. Give yourself permission to recharge: While it may feel like you aren’t being productive, this is actually the best thing you can do for yourself. You aren’t likely to accomplish a lot if you force yourself to do a task your heart isn’t into. So, give yourself an hour or a whole day to recharge. You’ll come back feeling more motivated and with a clearer perspective.
2. Tackle one thing: If time off really isn’t an option (or what you feel you need), then pick one thing on your to-do list to accomplish. Something easy can help increase productivity levels, and if not, you’ve at least taken one thing off your list. It could literally be as small as pay a bill or pick up the laundry.
3. Collaborate: Sometimes, the best thing to do when you feel burnt out is to reach out to others. Stuck on a writing project? Brainstorm with a friend over coffee. Need some help navigating caregiving responsibilities? Ask a family member for assistance. Working with someone can help introduce new ideas to spark creativity or ease pain points for you in other areas of life.
What works for you when you are feeling burnt out? I’d love to hear in the comments below!