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!