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.
Here is a blog post on how you can practise self-care.
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?