Want to know a fact of life? We all deal with burnout from time to time.
I know. Not a very nice way to begin a blog post. BUT FEAR NOT, MY FRIENDS. I have some very good tips that I hope will help you as much as they’ve helped me.
As a writer, and a student, and a musician, and an editor, and a lot of other things, I’ve known life to get extremely busy. And when I’m too busy, I burn out. This happens often, unfortunately.
In order for us to try to “fix” the burnout problem, let’s try to get to the root of it.
What exactly is burnout?
In my experience, burnout happens when too much enthusiasm urges me to go for a project, and once I step into the utterly overwhelming workload, the enthusiasm dies down and all I’m left with is a pile of work that I don’t want to do.
Work that I feel I have no passion for at all.
And this is my burnout point – when I try to keep pushing towards something, yet I’m out of steam. The passion – or, enthusiasm in this case – is pretty much dead. Or perhaps it’s just asleep.
That, friends, is where we find a spark of hope in the midst of burnout.
Your enthusiasm might not be dead, it might have simply passed out and now it needs to rejuvenate before it can work properly again.
Let’s look at some tips that have been known to turn burnout back into joy, ones that have helped me get through the most frustrating times of my life.
Tip #1: Identify if your passion was passion at all, or if it was short-lived enthusiasm.
One major mistake I’ve made when plunging straight into projects is when I think something is THE BEST IDEA EVER and realize later that it actually wasn’t. Because I’m an enthusiastic person, I hop into “good” ideas quickly, but often get in over my head too soon.
When I wait to see if my enthusiasm for something goes deeper than just a “new-thing-fling,” I can decide if it’s something I want to keep pursuing.
So while your enthusiasm is asleep, reevaluate – is this something I’d like to pick back up again, or is it better that I just let it go?
Tip #2: Take a rest and please, please, let yourself breathe.
I’m a writer, but I don’t write every day.
Sure, I’d like to, but when I feel so frustrated by my manuscript or my blog post, or something else I’m working on, I just have to stop.
I have to put down the laptop and go for a walk, pull out my journal, or read someone else’s book for inspiration.
And don’t be afraid to rest, because sometimes, all your project needs is a little bit of breathing room. Time and space alone to work things out by itself.
Some people say to push through writer’s block or keep working on a project that has you tearing your hair out. Sometimes that works for me, and sometimes a break works much better.
Do what works for you, but please, never be afraid to take a break. Your sanity will thank you later.
Tip #3: Read the Bible. If you feel too “locked in” to what you’re currently reading, then switch it up.
Little Perfectionist Me has a habit of creating Bible reading plans and sticking to them to a fault.
I sometimes wonder why I’m “in a rut” with what I’m reading, if I know exactly what I’m doing.
For all the rest of you perfectionists out there, I hereby give you permission to break up the routine. Perhaps read the Bible at a different time of the day when you can have a different perspective. Read in a completely different book, like the Psalms, if you haven’t in a while. Or Hebrews. Or Philippians. Or Isaiah.
Start journaling in a away you haven’t before. Start a prayer journal, if you don’t already use one. Or maybe just jot down your thoughts on a sheet of notebook paper.
The point is to get a spiritual fresh perspective, because that, above all else, will be the thing that bleeds in through the cracks of our everyday lives.
Tip #4: Find a bit of pleasure to make everyday life fun.
For you, this might be buying new music on iTunes (TWENTY ØNE PILØTS ANYBODY?), eating a little dark chocolate, starting a new book series, journaling, taking photos, sketching, playing an instrument, anything.
The key to this is finding something enjoyable, something that gets your mental energy off of life’s stresses and onto something healthy and relaxing.
These four tips are important in rejuvenating mentally (by reevaluating), emotionally (by resting), spiritually (by reading God’s Word), and physically (by changing physical focus).
Of course, you’ll have to find the perfect blend of things that work for you, but these are all things that have helped me in the past and are helping me now.
I promise I don’t have all the answers, so thank you for figuring this out alongside me and being patient as I struggle with burnout myself!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever experienced burnout. How did you “wake up” your enthusiasm again? Has rest helped you? Let’s chat!
23 Replies to “How to Effectively Deal With Burnout”
Sometimes a walk or physical exercise helps.
It definitely does help!
Thanks for this post, Amanda! Good reminders. I’m currently edging toward burnout with a painting I’m working on… hopefully a good break will give me new insights…
I’m glad you said what you said on getting “locked in” on Bible reading. I can be such a perfectionist OCD have-to-do-this-at-this-time sort of thing, and I always forget it doesn’t have to go like that.
Just curious, but what are you currently reading? 🌳
Thank you for commenting, Jeneca! Eep…good luck with that painting! And a nice break is definitely healthy. 😉
Ah, same here. I just finished reading Hebrews today for the second time in a row this month, so I’ll have to start something new tomorrow! (I have no idea what yet. xD) How about you? What are you currently reading?
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I’m reading Acts along with the She Reads Truth devo that goes live every morning, and I hope to finish Ecclesiastes tonight for Church. 🙂
I love She Reads Truth! I just recently finished the Proverbs study. 😀 How is the Acts study?
These are awesome things, Amanda! I’ll definitely have to try them. I definitely relate to what you say about being a perfectionist. Sometimes I think I just need to let go and not try to be so perfect. =)
Thanks for posting this!!
Thank you, Hannah Joy! Hehe, I totally have to do the same thing sometimes. Thank you for your comment! ❤
I am very much a ‘go go go’ person, so I tend to deal with burnout too. I am the one who powers through a project, even if I am feeling uninspired or stuck, and I tend to work myself into a frenzy doing so, and end up not doing a very good job on the project, AND be exhausted afterward. Great tips! I need to remember to just REST every now and again. And more importantly, rest in my Savior, and trust HIM to take care of me and help me out of the rut I dig myself into. 🙂 Thanks for the tips Amanda!
BTW, what instrument(s) do you play? I am a musician too! 😀
Same here, Sarah Grace! I’m a goal-oriented person, so I often PUSH PUSH PUSH through something and collapse at the end. xD So true! And yes, rest is so helpful, and YES! Trusting the Lord really carries us through anything. 😉
I mainly play piano and sing, but I also can play guitar and ukulele. What do you play? 😀
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Goal oriented, yup that describes me! XD I have taken to using the word “goal” instead of “deadline” because deadlines get me in trouble. 😉
I play the piano too! 😀 I love it! I also play the viola. I love that too. I would love to sing, but I possess absolutely no talent in that area. 😉 My sister is an amazing vocalist and she plays the uke! A uke is a really cool instrument! 🙂
Ahh, so true! I find the same thing. 😉 Goals are good, and deadlines have so much pressure! Haha!
That’s awesome! I loooove the piano. Ooh, viola? Super cool! Eep, awesome!
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Those are wonderful suggestions and I can so relate! Once again, I have been so mentally and spiritually nourished by your writing.
Thank you so much! If encourages me so much to hear that. ❤️
Those are some great tips, Amanda! I can be a bit of an overachiever also… And I burn out really quickly. But I’m definitely going to try some of these next time it happens! Thanks for this post!
Oh and twenty one pilots! *screams*
Glad to know I’m not alone, Ashley! 😉 Thank you!
(EEEEP. YOU LIKE THEM TOO?! *squeals*)
Great advice here, Amanda! When burnout happens, a break from things usually happens. Switching the gears to drawing or reading a new series or going out for coffee, anything to rest the mind. 🙂
Thanks a bunch! 😀
Oh yes, definitely. It feels so good to get our minds off of our stresses with a break!
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I’m totally a “dive-into-this-new-exciting-idea-right-away” person, too. Twinsies… 😉
These are really great tips! I think sometimes I forget to balance all sides like this. I’ll go do something else, but forget to get back into God’s word. Most of the time I’ll forget to just rest and be for a bit. I tend to get restless (ha, see? Restless. Without rest) without something to put my energy into, but I’m needing to learn that there are other good things besides, say, studying. So far this year I’ve thrown so much of my energy into studying like crazy that when I get tired of that, I end up slacking on the internet rather than doing anything restful because I feel like I should still be studying…it’s a terrible feeling.
This weekend, even though I could’ve been studying, I decided to take the time I had off work and hang out with a friend and celebrate my mom’s birthday and Independence Day. I had such a good time–and it actually was very restful! I need to do this more often. 🙂
Thanks for the post!
(#Twinsies should be a hashtag for the sheer amount of times we use that word in our conversations. It’s just. so. usable.)
Thank you! Yes, I get so restless as well. And there are good things to do besides studying – I allllways have to remind myself of that because I can get so sucked into it also. I’m so glad you had an enjoyable weekend! Yay! Breaks are so good. 😉 Thanks for sharing!
(I know, right?)
Yes! I was actually thinking more about this yesterday, and I realized I tend to let my schoolwork blur into other areas of my life, which ends up leaving me feeling a) unproductive and b) exhausted and stressed. So I’m going to be working on that. 🙂