In todays’s post, Karen Chen of Rosethorns and Honeydew took over the blog to share her 4 simple yet powerful ways to beat burnout.
Ever since I was little, I had this mantra that “I’ll do this now so it doesn’t screw me over later”. Even now, as days get busier, I find myself following this principle. It’s helped me a lot in not procrastinating.
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However, when we’re constantly doing and barely resting, we tend to have horrendous burnouts easily. For example, in exam season, it’s impossible for me to stop cramming work every day, trying my best to be ahead of the game. It’s also a time of tears, hopelessness, and an average of one breakdown a day. It’s a terribly unhealthy way to live.
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I started my blog as a hobby where I can combine my two passions – writing and making an impact. I’ve always been more of a shy person to share personal things in real life, so my blog gave me a wonderful platform to speak on. However, without ever a strict deadline or an end to how much work I can do on the blog, workaholic disaster struck.
I compensate by taking on more and more work, hoping to inspire myself. I end up trapped in a hamster wheel of pumping out content, feeling more machine than human. Other weeks, I go completely numb, unable to conjure up feelings of happiness at all.
Writing feels like a chore, communicating with friends seems impossible, and I’m constantly tired yet I struggle to fall asleep.
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There was this one week in particular, where I remember sitting at my desk, staring at the pile of writing projects I chose to take on. I was angry with myself for overloading my days with work yet also frustrated that I couldn’t just flip on “work mode” and get it all done.
Above all, I was so devastated that writing, something that has brought me so much joy and freedom, now felt like a cage I was trapped in. I was worried it would no longer bring me joy, and held on to that passion with dear life.
I did complete all the writing for that week, but it was the hardest thing to go through. Working while you’re on low power and struggling to write every word was something I promised to never put myself through again.
I hope in sharing this story – you can spot the signs of burnout in your own life. Take a step back when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, and remember that it’s okay to open up. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to hear an encouraging “you’ve done so much today! You deserve a break.” from a friend.
Here are my go-to tips.
- Know your limits
This took some trial and error, but I figured out my limits to how much work I can take on weekly. Currently, I don’t take on more than three writing projects per week, and I’ll postpone or say no to some of the opportunities that come this way.
Learning to do that has installed healthy boundaries, and I also constantly remind myself that I’m not invincible, and that I need time off and rest.
- Value self-care over productivity
This is a hard pill to swallow, but knowing it really helps reinforce it. I take Sundays off, and although I’m itching to work, I direct that productive energy into other things.
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I recharge and do things I’ve been putting on the backburner throughout the week, such as working out, journaling, and setting goals. Taking time to take care of my body lets me recharge for the upcoming week and gain motivation.
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I encourage you to take a day in a week to completely unplug and take a detox. Spend time with your loved ones, and be present and intentional in what you do.
Being a recovering perfectionist, I struggle with letting others take control, and I often try to do everything by myself. Lately, I’ve been reinforcing the fact that I can’t control everything, and I’m not changing anything by worrying, only adding additional stress. Once it’s out of my hands, I try my best to let go.
In counseling, I’ve learned that you don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegation can be a lifesaver, and sometimes, participating rather than leading is okay.
- Not blaming everything on myself
When things tend to go wrong, I start seeking out all the reasons why this may have happened, and the blame typically comes back to something I did. I’m anxious about the little things, such as a change in the tone of a text. I’ll start thinking, “oh they’re probably mad at me” or “oh man, I blew it again. They definitely hate me now” out of no logical reason at all.
Lately, I’ve been trying to embrace the fact that other people have their own issues and bad days as well, and I just have to stop blaming myself for everything.
I hope my story has helped you out in taking in the importance of mental health and recognizing burnout. It’s a very serious thing, and if not properly taken care of, can lead to weeks in a bad rut. Hope you have a lovely day, and if you ever need to talk to someone, don’t be afraid to reach out!
About the Guest Contributor
Karen is an aspiring author from rainy BC, Canada, and her purpose is to help her readers achieve success in their academics, self-love, and creating a productive lifestyle.
Connect with Karen