How to Deal with Burnout

This weekend, I found myself searching for jobs on Craigslist. That’s right—me—the person who runs a blog about quitting your 9-to-5 job is looking for jobs. And while I’m being honest here, I have to admit that I probably do this same search-for-a-job routine every few months.

What’s the deal??

Do I want a job? No. Am I qualified to do any jobs at this point in my life? Probably not. Would I get a job and then start hating my life? Probably.

So why in the world am I searching for a job?

The answer: BURNOUT.

As an entrepreneur who’s still in the “hustle” stage of growing my business, I have to tell you that it’s not always an easy gig. I live day-to-day never knowing where my next client is coming from (or even if they are coming at all). I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay my bills from the income I made that month or not. I waffle back and forth between worrying about long-term income strategies and trying to make money now. I check my credit card balances to see how much cash I could borrow if I had to.

While all this is going on, I’m working my butt off. I’m churning out content. I’m trying to provide value. I’m attempting to harness the next great idea. I’m reading. I’m writing. I’m giving, giving, giving.

And then comes the burnout where I question all of it and wonder, “Wouldn’t it just be easier if I got a job?”

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, it’s just different grass.[/quote]

Now, even though you’re probably on the other side of the fence—feeling exhausted by your job and wondering, “Wouldn’t life be easier if I could work for myself?”—it’s still the same feeling of burnout.

graphic_grassWhen you feel burnt out, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. When you have a job, it seems better to be a full-time entrepreneur. And when you’re running your business full time, sometimes a steady paycheck would feel like an absolute godsend.

Of course, there are pros and cons of each. The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side, it’s just different grass. So if you’re currently on one side of the fence (have a job) and feeling the effects of burnout, the solution might NOT be to jump to the other side of the fence (quitting your job) as quickly as possible (or vice versa). Jumping the fence is only a temporary solution to the exhaustion and frustration that you feel.

When you’re feeling burnt out, here’s what you DON’T want to do…

  • Make any rushed decisions or dramatic changes to your life/situation
  • Take your frustration out on others
  • Play the victim (“Why does this always happen to ME??”)
  • Work even hard to “plough through” the burnout

 

The problem is that most people who are feeling burnout start looking for a solution that will “fix” the immediate situation/issue that they think is causing the burnout. (In my case, searching for jobs online was my way of trying to “fix” the fact that I don’t have a steady stream of income which causes lots of stress and frustration.)  But here’s the deal…you can’t make rational, healthy decisions about your life or career when you’re feeling tired, stressed, depressed, over-worked or de-valued. If you do, you’ll just end up on the other side of the fence with a different set of stressors, but no better off.

So instead of trying to fix your situation, you want to focus on relieving the burnout.

Once you relieve the burnout and get your life and energy back on track, you can start to make new decisions that will help prevent more burnout in the future.

Here are 7 ways on how to deal with burnout and prevent it in the future. All of these techniques will help with burnout in your job, your business, your daily life, your relationship or anywhere else you’re feeling stressed…

1. Take a break

Taking a break is critical. Remove yourself from your current stressors and give yourself permission to completely detach for a little while. This might mean taking a break for an hour, the weekend or going on a longer vacation. During your break, focus on relaxing and/or doing something you love to do. When you get back to it afterwards, you will have a fresh perspective and renewed energy.

2. Get some exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress and burnout and also to prevent it. Make exercising a top priority in your life and a daily part of your routine. Don’t think of it as a chore, but instead as a critical component of your long-term success.

3. Get plenty of sleep

Burnout can be caused or exacerbated by a lack of sleep. Truth be told, most Americans aren’t getting their fair share of shuteye, so if you’re one of them, you’ll want to make an effort to factor it in DAILY. You can’t operate your life without sleep just like you can’t drive a car on an empty tank. Try building in a relaxing bedtime routine and turning off all electronics at least 2 hour before bedtime.

4. Meditate

Meditation can help you get calm and re-centered which will help dissolve burnout. When you cultivate an inner sense of peace, your outer world will begin to reflect this. Keep in mind there is no “right” way to meditate, so find what works well for you.

5. Connect with nature

In our fast-paced, multi-tasking society, it almost seems silly to say “connect with nature”, but let me tell you, this works wonders when you’re feeling burnt out. Humans are meant to be out-of-doors, so it’s always refreshing and rejuvenating for your body to get outside. Try taking a hike, watching a sunset, sitting by a stream or any number of other activities from biking to kayaking.

6. Hang out with friends

Make an effort to surround yourself with people that you love on a regular basis. Spending quality time with friends or family can allow you to take a break from all the other worry, frustrations and stressors in your life.

7. Get help/advice from an unbiased source

Sometimes when you’re feeling burnt out, the problem is that you’re in your own head too much. Getting help or advice from an unbiased source can help you put things back into perspective again and get a fresh outlook on your life. (Note that if your burnout is severe, seeking professional help might be warranted.)

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What To Do When Your Small Business Doesn’t Go As Planned - Go Fire Yourself - 3 years ago

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Naomi@homebusiness - a couple of years ago

Hi Laurel,

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels ‘the burnout’. Sometimes I’m literally falling asleep at my desk!

If I increased the amount of sleep I got at night and exercised more my business would be better. Also the shear feeling of worrying, by trying to get everything completed leaves me exhausted.

I really like your take on the grass being only different instead of greener.

Thanks

Naomi

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