Striving to do it all, to look like we’ve always got it together, and to be uber-successful comes with a price. The price is burnout. Burnout affects you adversely on all levels of your being—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Burnout is currently showing up in Baby Boomers more frequently than in any other group of individuals, since the effects of our fast-paced, high-stress lifestyles are cumulative. Baby Boomers have just been doing this longer than Gen Xers and Millennials—the possibility of burnout is more like a ticking time bomb for you younger folk!
Fortunately, the earlier you identify the signs that you’re experiencing burnout, the easier it is to make changes that’ll get you out of your burned-out state and keep you happy, healthy and in love with life again.
Seven signs that indicate you’re suffering from burnout
If you can relate to any of these, you’re depleting yourself energetically, and it’s time to restore your body’s balance before your burnout begins to destroy your relationships, your career and your health.
Four steps to taking your life back from burnout
Acknowledge you have a problem
The first and most critical step is acknowledging that you have a problem, just like an addiction, that needs to be addressed. This is particularly difficult with burnout, because the signs of burnout have actually become the “new normal” for many of us.
How many times a day do you, or someone you know, talk about one of the seven signs mentioned above as a natural part of your life? I was at the gym just this morning, and five of the seven signs were discussed within the period of one 45-minute class. It’s almost as if that’s what’s expected of us now. In fact, we’re often encouraged to strive for more.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, either. The term “supermom” was used for decades to refer to someone who has really made it as a woman who can do it all.
The only thing is, it didn’t take long for each “supermom” to realize that being one wasn’t sustainable. Actually, all these supermoms realized what a problem it was and how it was affecting their physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Consequently, the term “supermom” went by the wayside, yet all the lofty expectations placed upon the supermom didn’t go away. We only succeeded in replacing her with the “wonder woman” of the new millennium. We can still do it all, and then some! Right?
Acknowledging that stress, anxiety, over-medicating, sleepless nights and such are signs of a deeper, systemic problem of burnout is the first step to actually doing something about it. If you don’t do this first, you won’t be motivated to make the changes that are critical to moving out of burnout and back into a life you know you deserve.
Find a support network
Just like an addict does when they go into rehab, and then after rehab, when they go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, you’ll want to do things like join a Yoga or meditation class and go to it consistently. To make sure you follow through, set a specific time in your week for your downtime and don’t let anyone take that away from you—put it on your calendar as if it’s an actual appointment and don’t cancel it for anything!
You’ll also need to take yourself out of situations that have been toxic for you in the past. Maybe you have a friend who’s constantly triggering you. Why not take a step back from that friendship, for a while, to give both of you some time to regroup, refresh and start again?
The third step is to find mentors/coaches/teachers who’ll help you make the necessary changes in your life. In AA, they have mentors. If you don’t think your problem is equivalent to an addiction, remember that almost all successful people will also tell you they have mentors and coaches on their “team.”
For example, Oprah Winfrey has several coaches/mentors, and Olympic athletes don’t get to the level they’re at without the support and guidance of their coaches. Just because it’s possible to do it all by yourself, that doesn’t mean it’s the best, most effective and fastest way to do it!
Commit to making changes
Finally, to truly enter recovery from burnout, you must commit to making the changes outlined above. You have to really want to change in order to make it happen.
Won’t it be great to actually wake up every morning excited about what the day ahead of you will bring, instead of facing it with stress, anxiety, dread and fatigue from another sleepless night?
If you’ve experienced burnout and are in recovery, or have managed to recover, please feel free to share your story in the Comments section below.