With the new year in full swing and winter wearing on, it isn’t hard to find ourselves doing too much, and feeling a bit worse for the wear. Whether it’s a worn down immune system, waning motivation, or a growing feeling of dread, concerns about burnout may start to whisper to you.
I had a recent opportunity to moderate a roundtable discussion about burnout with some extraordinary leaders. Inspired by the commonality of so many experiences of chronic stress and feelings of burnout, I wanted to share three nutshell take aways in case you might be feeling the angst of burnout beginning to bubble up:
First, understand your feelings are happening for a reason, and paying attention to their meaning is the first step to solving their cause. Ask yourself where your worry is. Are you working too much, sleeping too little, struggling to say no, paying the price of overdoing with fatigue, frustration, and even apathy? If so, pay attention to where your anxiety is surfacing, and where your life feels out of balance. Most of us know intuitively what we need more of or less of, and what final stress has tipped us out of balance.
Second, forgive yourself. Even when we know we don’t have to be perfect, it’s still hard to say no, or make the difficult choices that are often required to strike a healthy life balance. Recognize you’ve been doing your best, even as you need to do better at protecting yourself.
Last, pick ONE and only one thing to improve. Teetering on burnout is not the time to take on multiple life changes that will require focus, attention, and discipline. But one strategic change is certainly possible, and can make a big difference.
Ask yourself what single change might have the most impact on restoring you to balance. Spend some time considering what change would have the most impact, and then how you could implement it, now. Successful habit change happens when we pick something we care about, and set ourselves up for success rather then overwhelm.
For more about burnout avoidance, optimal stress management, and self care, I’ve collected a few articles below. Hoping they might inspire you to better balance your many opportunities with your ultimate goals. No one deserves your best effort more than you.
Wishing you productivity, stamina, and balance,