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  • Klein Visioneering Group

Burn Out: Can you identify it? Can you overcome it?

Updated: May 21


I was recently reflecting on a night I had been sitting at the dining room table with my husband, trying to pinpoint the feeling I had been having over the last few days. Was it despair? Was it loneliness? All I knew was that I was finding it impossible to find the joy or motivation that I used to have at work. All I wanted to do was bury myself in distractions, shamelessly bingeing on some silly Netflix show. As my husband and I talked, I realized I was experiencing burnout.


I was terrified of being with my thoughts because they would always bring me to my (seemingly never-ending) to-do list of what needed to be tackled next. I was overwhelmed. There was constant pressure on my chest, and I noticed random spikes in my heart rate. I knew I had hit a wall and had to do something drastic, or it would only get worse.  


This was not the first time I’d experienced some sense of burnout, and I was better at recognizing the symptoms. Most of us will experience burnout at least once in our careers or lives, so it’s important to recognize the signs before it becomes unmanageable. These include but aren’t limited to:

  1. Irritability with clients or employees,

  2. No energy or motivation,

  3. Inability to focus,

  4. Change in sleeping habits,

  5. Physical ailments including headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach,


So, where do we go from here? This round of burnout was a bit easier for me to take care of because I had discovered what worked for me the last time this happened. 


Deleting Distractions

The first thing I did was delete every app off my phone that I found distracting. For me, this was video streaming and social media. I knew if they were no longer conveniently located on my phone, I would have to physically open up my computer to access them. The ‘extra work’ makes it less likely for me to get off track from doom-scrolling or watching Kat McKinnon bloopers.  The results were amazing for my peace of mind once I removed the apps from my phone.


Meditation

The most important part of my self-care journey is meditation. If you are like me, my brain cannot sit still for more than a minute, and the constant running thoughts feel extremely overwhelming. Meditation is a tool that allows me to clear my mind, re-center, and focus on my breathing. Once I started paying more attention to my breathing, it was remarkable how many times I found myself holding my breath throughout the day. This was my cue to stand up, walk around, or put on a meditation track. There are many meditation apps available out there, or you can find many free meditation videos online, too. Do a quick internet search with keywords ‘mindfulness meditation’, this will bring an array of options up for you!


Here are a few other recommendations that can greatly help reduce your burnout symptoms:


Find help and talk to someone.

Many states offer counseling and therapy resources. You can find some examples here. While most online counseling will not be free,  this article from Everyday Health does a great job describing the different options out there and includes comparisons of online platforms. 


Make time for downtime.

You can go as big or little here as you want. If you are like me, you literally have to schedule time in your calendar for yourself. This can also be fluid throughout the day. Anytime you have a break in calls, meetings or projects, stand up and walk around. You can also take this downtime to play some mindful meditation or just follow your breathing in and out. This time could also include a cup of coffee in the morning before the kids/partner is awake or taking a relaxing bath before you go to bed.


Exercise.

We tend to think that exercise needs to be ‘pumping the iron’ at your local gym or training to run a marathon. It could be both of those things, but it could also be taking a brief walk around your community or office space. This could also look like doing some yoga when you have a break in your schedule. 


Get more sleep.

This one can be a doozy! Everyone’s sleep patterns are so different, but here are a few different things to try, no matter what kind of sleeper you are. Turning off your phone or getting Blue light blocking glasses - they have filters in their lenses that block or absorb blue light, and in some cases, UV light, from getting through. The Blue light emitted from screens can sometimes prevent your brain from shutting down properly at night. A cup of Sleepy Time tea, a warm bath, or reading a good book are other ways to help yourself wind down. If you are having trouble turning your mind off as you start to drift off, having a quiet show playing in the background or a bedtime meditation is a way to help your brain focus on the background noise rather than your internal checklist or concerns. 


Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as: a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Practicing mindfulness can lead you to be more aware of your emotions, help you overcome strong reactions to a situation, and help you move through life more meaningfully.  Listed above are some great examples of free or subscription-based meditation platforms and videos I’ve used. Meditation is, in essence, a practice of mindfulness and finding inner peace. Read this great Mayo Clinic article to learn more about its benefits. A healthy meditation practice can reduce stress and negative emotions and provide more patience and creativity in your life. 


Lastly, give yourself a break! I am, at times, an ‘all or nothing’ kind of person and feel like if I don’t do it all, I am not succeeding. Take it from me: this is NOT true.


So, if you’re looking at this list and making plans to do all five, don’t do that. Take one that you like the best and try it for a week. This is about finding manageable steps that work for your schedule. If you take it all on at once, you’ll be right back where you started- facing another round of burnout!.


Go easy on yourself, and remember that you are amazing and have one life to live. Find happiness and always practice gratitude.

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