Feeling burnt out and you’re not sure what to do? Burnout is now so prevalent in our society, and it brings up an important conversation around the recovery process. We all want to feel energized, vibrant, and active- especially in the areas of our life that we love and want to succeed in- so feeling like you have no energy at all- especially when you so desperately want to feel good or get ahead- is devastating.

For so long we’ve been subject to the expectation that fast is best. Getting things done quickly is good. ASAP is standard. If that’s true then, slow must mean bad. Taking your time is bad. Time spent resting? Definitely bad. We may *know* that is not true, but we sure hold ourselves to those standards.

Readjusting your expectations

I believe the first step to truly recovering from burnout is to rethink the expectations you have of yourself. If you are unknowingly holding yourself to a “bounce back fast” expectation- then your recovery is going to feel longer and harder than it needs to be.

Recovery takes time, and the amount of time to heal from burnout depends on what you’ve been going through.

It’s time to give yourself permission to truly slow down. This may mean building more rest into your daily/weekly schedule, and possibly rescheduling/canceling certain events that you’re not up for- and not because you don’t want to but because it’s not the best thing for you.

When you are burnt out the goal is to give yourself the time you need, and you cannot do that if you’re constantly forcing yourself to push through. That will only make you feel more burnt out.

Escaping Is Not The Answer

The next phase of battling burnout requires a ton of self awareness and self acceptance. One thing that people will often throw out around the burnout topic is “well just quit”- like getting out is the only way through.

Not only is this unfair advice- because who doesn’t simply want a straight forward way out? But it’s typically not really a viable option, and ultimately there’s something here for you to learn from this all. When you are burnt out, only you can decide what being brought to this point has meant to you and what you can do about it.

It’s likely time to get honest about the the major factors in your exhaustion, and what’s in your power to do something about it. Sometimes it comes down to that serenity prayer “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Small but Steady Progress Is Key

Finally, give yourself the real permission to consider how you spend your time, without judgment. Most of us have a handful of avoidant activities like watching TV for hours, scrolling on your phone, getting stuck in your car, playing games, etc. all of these are examples of the behaviors we cling to to feel better when we’re burnt out.

But what’s actually helping you get better? And how much time time are you dedicating to those things? Perhaps it’s time to incorporate self care activities and tools to your schedule that will support your recovery.

Can you get in any more sleep? Carve out 10-15 minutes of your day to get outdoors, go for a walk, spend 5 minutes in meditation before bed, say affirmations aloud while brushing your teeth, journaling, calling up a friend, seeing a therapist, or perhaps reclaim your favorite hobby (yoga, painting, hiking, whatever it may be).

These are just a few ideas of things you can add to your life, and they certainly don’t have to replace every moment you’re spending just trying to get by. I say that because so many of us feel that black or white / all or nothing kind of pressure to change everything all at once- but that’s not the path here. Remember, be kind to yourself. It’s not that there’s anything bad about what you’re doing- it’s just worth understanding how you’re moving through life right now and why.

Do these ideas and encouragement help you feel as though you can keep tackling the burnout that you feel? I hope so! You can also hear more of my own story with burn out on this week’s episode of The A Bit From Within Podcast: Getting Out of Burnout. On the podcast I share some of what I’ve realized as a business owner surviving the pandemic, and how important some of the revelations I’ve included here have been to my healing process. Listen below, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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