Burnout is something that is so real, and so common that you might wonder, “how can I avoid burnout? Is it even possible?” If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, a performer, a student, or simply work at a very demanding job, burnout is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on you. But you can’t let it take over. The best way to overcome burnout is to avoid it at all costs.
A True Story
I recently read a number of Tweets from a young woman who is very successful in her dance business and dance career, where she explained that she’d decided to sell her dance studio (to two very qualified individuals), and begin focusing more on her other business endeavors, and also, “spend more time with my family, and start cleaning my house”. This is tremendous! If there was ever a good reason to make a dramatic change such as this one in your life, that is it!
See, when you’re operating in burnout mode, you don’t have much time (or energy) for something as simple as spending quality time with your family, or cleaning your house. You’re just going and going and going. But at some point, you have to just give in, and say, “hey, the way things are isn’t working for me. It’s time for a change.”
I was recently interviewed on a wonderful dance site called, Concrete Dance Couture, and one of the questions that I was asked was, “What gets you down?”. I don’t think anyone has ever asked me that in an interview before. But, I very naturally answered, “when I feel drained, I can start to feel down”. Isn’t that something? So not only can burnout dominate your very valuable (and limited) time, but it can also cause you to feel down. All the more reason to avoid it like the plague!
Here are my top 5 life-changing steps to avoid burnout:
1) Prioritize – I don’t mean some pie in the sky prioritization either. I mean, get real with yourself. Of course you have to work in order to survive, but do you have to work so many hours? Do you have to do work when you get home from work? Do you have to work on the weekends? More importantly, do you have to let your work stress you out to the point that you’re not able to fully enjoy your family, friends, spouse, or children? The answer is, no. Which means, it’s time to prioritize. What are your real priorities? List your top three. Now begin readjusting your life’s order to be consistent with what your real priorities are. This is the first step to avoiding burnout.
2) Make Necessary Changes (Now!) – Have you been saying for months (or God forbid, even years), “Yeah, I really need to cut back on my work hours” or, “I really need to hire some help” or, “I need to make more time for rest and relaxation”, but you still haven’t done it yet? Well, here’s your chance. Do it now! There’s no time to waste. Either do it now, or get one step closer to the inevitable burnout that awaits you.
3) Let Go of Guilt – We all feel guilty from time to time when we have to say ‘No’ to someone, or step away from a certain position or involvement in something. But, the reality is, that’s normal, and you can’t let it stop you from doing what is best for you (and your family). Any decent human being is going to feel bad about stepping down from a position in an organization that they really believe in, in order to spend more time with their family. You may even need to go back to someone that you’ve already said ‘Yes’ to, and tell them that you actually can’t do what you originally agreed to do. Do you feel the guilt temperature rising? If you do, guess what? It’s ok. Do what you need to do, and let go of the guilt. And remember, it’s always easier to change a ‘No’ to a ‘Yes’, than a ‘Yes’ to a ‘No’. (Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way).
4) Make Time For “Me Time” – This is uber-important. We all need some quiet time to ourselves in order to regroup, and rejuvenate ourselves. This “me time” activity will be different for everyone. For some it may mean, working out at the gym, walking your dog, taking a dance class, reading a book, meditating, or even treating yourself to a mani/pedi or massage. Whatever it is, make it happen, and make time at least 2-3 times a week. Everyday would be ideal. By the way, don’t even think about making excuses or giving reasons whay you can’t do this. We all get the same 24 hours a day to work with. Use them, or lose them (to burnout).
5) Think Positive. Do you know a negative person? Do you work with one? Do you live with one? Is it not draining being around that negative energy? Did you know that someone else can burn you out? Yep, I said it. It may not be you. It may be the people that you surround yourself with that are burning you out. You already know what I’m going to say…get away from those people (if you can). Distance yourself from them. If that’s not possible, then you have to get your positive energy flowing at an optimal level everyday to combat their energy. Don’t just think positive however, to fight off other people’s negativity. Do it for yourself. All the time. It will help you to enjoy, and have a better outlook on life. This will also help to keep burnout at bay. So, think positive at all costs. Need help? Read my archived blog post, “5 Ways To Overcome Negativity”.
I hope and pray that you’re not feeling burnt out today. But if you are, I really want you to make a change and implement these 5 steps immediately. The sooner, the better. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Did you find this post helpful? Have you ever been burnt out? Which step out of the 5 listed here, do you think is the hardest to do? Please leave a comment, Tweet this post, “Like” it, and share it on Facebook.
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