5 Ways to Prevent Burnout and Being Overwhelmed
Feeling Burned Out? You’re Not Alone
Wouldn’t it be great if finding the right work-life balance was… easy? Unfortunately, it’s something that most of us struggle with on a daily basis. If you give too much energy to work, your personal life suffers, and vice versa.
But when you don’t balance out your home and work life, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience burnout. How could you not? Sometimes, it just seems impossible not to feel overwhelmed by the totality of everything you have on your plate.
And you’re definitely not alone in feeling like you’re completely tapped out these days. Would you believe that the average worker experiences career burnout at 32? That’s so young!
Yet another study found that women over 55 experience more burnout than anyone.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped matters. With so many more people working from home, it’s not surprising that burnout is on the rise. People are working more hours than usual since it’s harder to unplug, plus, some are juggling homeschooling or distance learning as well.
It’s enough to make anyone feel like they just can’t take it anymore.
Signs of Burnout
Signs and signals of burnout include (but are not limited to):
- Trouble sleeping or a change in sleep patterns
- Lack of energy and difficulty getting out of bed
- Digestive issues
- Feeling a need to use food or alcohol as a coping mechanism
- Difficulty focusing
- Sadness, anxiety, and/or irritability
While some of these things may have other causes, the majority of us are pretty in tune with ourselves and realize when we’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. The key is to recognize the signs when they come up and take extra steps to try and avoid winding up at your wit’s end.
How to Prevent Burnout
Here are 5 simple ways to keep burnout at bay.
1. Time Blocking/Planning Your Calendar
One of the best ways to make sure your to-do list doesn’t take over your life is to plan out your calendar so that you know what you need to get done at any point in the day.
Block out time for work tasks, doing the school run, making and eating meals, paying bills, studying, taking your courses, and even “me” time! If you’re focused and organized, you’ll be much less likely to feel overwhelmed by everything on your schedule.
With working from home, it can be easy to just work straight through lunch or to open the laptop after hours. Setting boundaries for work time, family time, and leisure time is crucial.
Let your loved ones know when you are available for them, but also make it clear that there are times during the day where you shouldn’t be disturbed.
This way, you’ll be able to conquer all of your tasks during work time so that they won’t run over into personal time at the end of the day.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
This is a biggie, and it can be a tough one to stick to. It’s really hard to turn people down when they ask for your help, both at work and when it comes to family and friends.
But it’s so important to set clear expectations not only for others but for yourself. Don’t overpromise on things you know deep down you probably won’t be able to deliver.
Get in the habit of saying “no” when you don’t realistically think you can take something on. This will stop you from being totally overloaded, and it will also prevent others from being disappointed when you realize you “just didn’t have enough time” for whatever was supposed to get done.
4. Turn Off Notifications
This is another one that is tricky since we’re so addicted to our phones!
When you are in your personal time space or it’s after hours, turn off notifications so that you aren’t tempted to hop right back into work when you hear “ping!”
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re expected to be reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On the flip side, when you are focusing on work tasks, silence notifications then, too, so you don’t wind up scrolling through Instagram when you’re supposed to be completing a project.
5. Schedule Time For Breaks
Don’t just say you’re going to take a break every now and then. Schedule them out on your calendar.
Whether it’s a lunch break (a real one), a walk around the neighborhood, taking time to meditate, or just some much-needed unplugged time, breaks will (almost) literally make or break your day.
Even if it’s just a 5-minute movement break so you can step away from your laptop and stretch out your body, it’ll help stop you from running on empty towards the end of the day.
While there are times when feeling burned out and overwhelmed may seem inevitable, you can at least reduce the chances of it happening by incorporating some of these practices.
But above all, cut yourself some slack! You’re only one person, and you can only get so much done in any given day. By following the tips above, you’ll feel less stressed, more in control of your schedule, and your mental health will thank you.
How do you avoid burnout and being overwhelmed? Leave us a comment and let us know!