I was 20 when I experienced my first major burn-out. I had been working full-time whilst studying full-time for about 6 years at this point. I’d pushed through all of high-school, went onto complete a year of University and then study Business and Marketing through TAFE. I had been survival mode for a while but I didn’t really know anything about it, I just thought I was living, you know?
When I was 20, I was working a job that paid quite well (especially for a 20-year-old!) but it involved long hours and doing something that I had no passion for and just simply didn’t enjoy. I stuck around for the money though. I was used to working hard, I just thought that was how people made money and I’d have to deal with it.
I still remember standing by the printer near the front door and breaking. Literally. I felt my body crumble and I had finally cracked.
Granted, it was a tougher day than usual, but it was my last straw. I just started crying. One of the men from my team told me to go and take a break in the bathroom and try to calm down. I went to the bathroom, locked the door, sat down and cried. I cried for what felt like hours. I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I was angry. I had ignored all of the earlier signs like exhaustion, forgetfulness, not having time for myself, causing issues in my personal life and not eating.
I was sent home from work that day because my boss knew I wasn’t going to leave myself. Everybody was concerned about me at this point, so I went to the doctor and he was able to pinpoint very quickly that I was burnt-out.
Unfortunately, burn-out can happen to anybody and a lot of us don’t even realise we’re on our way to burn-out until it’s too late.
Here are some signs you may be experiencing burn-out:
♡ Feeling drained and exhausted
♡ Cognitive problems
♡ Lack of motivation or productivity
♡ You’re no longer taking care of yourself
♡ Unhappy or frustrated often
♡ Reduced performance
♡ Difficulty concentrating
Now that I look back, it was evidently clear I was on the way to burn-out but as a 20-year-old, I refused to listen to my body and I refused to pay attention to the signs, which was the biggest mistake I made.
It took me a long time to ‘recover’ from my burn-out and to be honest, I never truly recovered until I left that position because I was in a highly stressful role that I didn’t enjoy. In saying this though, not all stressful jobs will lead to burn-out. It’s completely dependant on the individual themselves.
As I mentioned, I never really recovered from burn-out until I left that job, but there were things that helped me avoid that severe burn-out again.
If you feel like you’re experiencing burn-out or are on the way to burn-out, here are some ways to get yourself back on track:
When we are busy, our self-care is usually always the first thing to be put on the back-burner because we often forget how important taking care of ourselves truly is.
If you schedule your self-care into your daily routine, your risk of burn-out is going to decrease immensely.
Self-care can mean a lot of different things to different people, so you may find your own ways to practise self-care but I’ll let you know my favourites. I personally meditate, journal, practise yoga and ensure that I do something every single day that fills me up with joy, which for me personally, is writing for you guys.
I recommend you create boundaries around your work-home life. This is going to ensure that you’re not overworking yourself and using all of your precious energy on work.
I would also recommend you take a look into your boundaries surrounding your relationships. Do you say no to things you don’t want to do? Are you feeling drained from certain people? Do the people you spend your time with make you feel good or bad?
Creating healthy boundaries will help you understand but also the people around you understand what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you’re able to set clear boundaries which everybody adheres too, you can feel confident that you are on the right track to feeling better.
♡ Talk to other people
When we’re experiencing burn-out (or we’re on the way to burn-out), it is extremely important to let other people know.
By letting your friends and family know, they can support you however you may need support. This may mean they drop off a couple of meals when you’re busy or they offer to watch your kids while you shower properly for the first time in a week. Your friends and family love you and don’t want you to suffer, so please remember that.
I also thought I would mention that it’s just as important to speak with your manager or boss if you’re feeling burnt-out. If they are aware of how you’re feeling, they can reduce your workload, hire extra help or offer you whatever other support you may need.
♡ Re-evaluate your priorities
If you’re experiencing burn-out, I’m curious if you are spending your time on your priorities.
If you’re not, I have zero judgement. I’ve been there! Actually, I was stuck there for quite a few years before I turned things around.
I’d recommend you take some time to consider what’s important to you. Where do you want to be in 5-years’ time? Are you fulfilled by what you do every day? Are you spending time doing things that make your heart full of joy and love?
If you aren’t, I’d question why because if your priorities are really priorities, then please make the time for them. If you prioritise the things that are important to you, you will live a life that is more aligned to yourself and your future and ultimately, this will decrease your risk of burn-out.
♡ Take care of your physical body
I touched on self-care in the first point but I did want to dive a little further into taking care of your physical body.
When you’re burnt-out, your physical body takes a hit. Your stress, exhaustion and confusion will all causes triggers inside of your body that can lead to other physical issues such as digestive problems, depression, obesity and heart problems (after long periods).
By taking care of your physical body, you are reducing those additional risks and overall lessening the likelihood of burn-out.
So, what does take care of your physical body mean? It basically means to act as if you were a parent telling your child what to do each day. Honestly, what would you tell your children to do each day for their health?
You would give them healthy, nourishing meals. You would encourage them to play outside in the sun and fresh air. You would offer plenty of water. You would make the doctor or dentist appointment they need and make sure they’re there. You would go to the park and let the kids run around to get exercise and this is exactly what you should do for yourself as well.
♡ 30 days of self-care
Lastly, I would recommend you take a look at my free, 30-day challenge. For 30 days straight, my challenge will give you one simple self-care task to stay on top of things. I personally use the tasks in this challenge regularly and have noticed a huge difference in my days. You can download it for free here.
Burn-out is something that I truly hope nobody has to experience, but I know that’s not possible so I hope this information helps you to notice the signs of burn-out and/ or keeps you far away from burning out.
Counsellor + Wellness & Mental Health Coach
Hi, I'm Shorina and I'm an Australian Counsellor + Wellness & Mental Health Coach. I'm here to support you to redefine your relationship to self and life! I incorporate a mind, body and soul wellness approach to my work with a focus on healing and mindfulness ♡