Ready to overcome burnout at work and get your energy back? I’ll be exploring and teaching you how in this article.
You’re struggling with burnout if:
- You crash at the end of the workday, and you have zero energy for other activities,
- You want to make a change, but you feel frazzled and frozen when thinking about what to do, or
- You feel anxious Sunday night or when you think about the week ahead.
I’ve gone through several bouts of burnout myself, and I’ve worked with hundreds of clients to overcome burnout.
When you’re a high-achiever, you’re especially at risk of falling into this trap. This could be because you’re taking on too much work, you’re questioning your career path or you feel dissatisfied with your current job.
To add to the stress, you know that you want to make a change but you have no idea where to start. Making a change might feel too exhausting – even though that’s the exact thing you need.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, I promise you that change is possible.
Imagine spending your day knowing exactly what you’re going to say yes to and what you’re going to say no to.
You’re also doing work that you love, and you end the day feeling energized. You have time to start that new hobby, go to the gym, make healthy meals, or even take that much needed vacation you’ve been thinking about.
It all starts with first giving yourself space to process the burnout.
From there, you can start making a plan that better aligns with your needs, wants and goals, getting you to the type of life you’ve been dreaming of.
If this sounds like you, keep reading for the 4 steps you can take to overcome burnout and get your energy back.
Focus on self awareness first
Before you take any action to make a change, you want to pause and look inward.
We know you’re burned out, but what are you feeling and thinking? What are the actions you’re taking or not taking? And when do you especially feel exhausted or drained?
I notice that my clients who are experiencing burnout spend a significant amount of their day in the Away State.
When you’re in the away state, you’re in fight, flight or freeze. Your brain is using all of its resources to get you through the day, and your ability to think creatively, plan for your future or collaborate with others is significantly limited.
This inability to plan your burnout exit then exacerbates your situation. You’re in a cycle.
Spend some time observing your mental and emotional state, and asking yourself questions like:
- How am I feeling right now?
- What thoughts am I having?
- What’s the impact of these thoughts and feelings on my day?
- What adds to my stress, and what eases it?
Going inward may lead to a new insight about your situation.
Make a different choice
The first step to overcome burnout is to recognize when you’re shifting into the away state.
What causes disconnection for you? Or what puts you in a position to have consistent negative thoughts?
Is it your work schedule?
A full calendar?
Is it doing work that doesn’t align with your strengths?
Through self inquiry, you can shine a light on the beliefs and behaviors that are keeping you in a cycle. You can then choose something different.
For example, if you find yourself feeling agitated when your calendar is full, consider the choices you have:
- You can cancel meetings.
- If canceling certain meetings isn’t possible, you can block out your calendar in the future.
- You can ask for help with certain tasks.
- You can reframe your thinking around the meetings – what are the meetings helping you to accomplish?
These are just some examples. Spend some time brainstorming about what’s possible.
And don’t rush yourself in this process. See what comes up for you and what feels right.
It takes time to overcome burnout. If you’re a high-achiever, you can especially be hard on yourself when you’re not seeing results right away.
Taking consistent, small actions is a significant part of making lasting change.
To support you with that, you want to put structures in place that support your wellbeing, commitments and needs.
For example, you can:
- Set SMART goals that have a specific timeline.
- Lean on community and friends to support you with accountability.
- Commit to specific, daily practices that keep your commitments top of mind and integrated with your day, such as meditation or journaling.
Taking consistent action and creating a structure for yourself to support your commitments will lead you to the following.
Cultivate new habits that support your wellbeing
New, healthy habits are developed through repetition and consistency.
Our clients who have taken these steps have made massive changes:
- Kait, a new mom who works in a high-stress project management role, sets clear boundaries and expectations at work and no longer lets work run her life.
- Jenn shifted from a full time role at a top pharmaceutical company to a part time position with a great salary doing work she loves.
- Alex left a high-stress industry to do work that’s more fulfilling and aligned with his values.
Overcoming burnout means that you:
- Feel healthier everyday
- Feel more connected to yourself
- Have time and space to focus on areas in your life that are important to you
- Have daily practices in place that align with your goals, such as regular exercise and healthy eating
- Speak to yourself with compassion
- Feel fulfilled in your everyday life
Ultimately, you’re engaging with life in a more present and connected way. I promise you it’s possible.