Breaking Through Burnout
Have you ever hit your burnout point? This week, I hit mine.
Motivated by November’s NANO WRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) Challenge, I committed myself to writing as much poetry as I possibly could in 30 days. I started out inspired and determined to succeed. Each night, after work, I would sit at my computer and write, revise and edit until I proudly printed off a finished poem. The process was exhilarating. But after two-and-a-half weeks I hit a road block. Out of nowhere, my motivation slipped out from beneath me. Writing turned into a chore, and I was left glum and disappointed with myself. I felt drained and uninterested.
Perhaps you have experienced similar burnout symptoms when working towards your own goals. These feelings may have surfaced while working on a difficult work project, while training for a race or while trying to lose weight.
When burnout hits, there is still hope. Here’s how to move forward when you feel yourself slipping backwards:
1) Go Be A Couch Potato. Make time to relax and rejuvenate. Read a book, take a walk, watch TV, workout, take a nap or hang out with a friend. Do anything that will get your mind off your goal and give you some breathing room. Recharging your batteries can help you return to your goal refreshed.
2) Reassess Your Approach. Are you squashing your motivation by overcommitting yourself to a goal? Are you putting too much pressure on yourself? Go back to your initial goal and think about the image and vision that drove you to action in the first place. Decide how you can alleviate some of the stress you have placed on yourself, so you can put the joy back into things.
3) Change It Up. Mixing up your routine can help you regain interest in your goal. For example, if you’re training for a marathon, try out a new running trail. Try running at a different time of the day. Try running with a new friend. If you’re writing a book, try working on a new chapter, or bouncing ideas off of someone else.
4) Slow Down. Rushing to achieve a goal can cause serious burnout. Figure out steps that are sustainable for you over the long run. Setting big goals is wonderful – just be cognizant that the bigger the goal, the more steps may be needed to achieve it. Congratulate yourself on how far you have come. Mark the milestones you have made in a journal. Think about how you can inch forward, accomplishing your goal little by little. Give yourself a realistic time limit.
5) Get Extra Sleep. Get more sleep, and improve the quality of your sleep. When you are feeling drained, it is especially important for you to get some extra shut-eye. Go to bed early. Get rid of distractions before bedtime. Take a nap during the day if you find it reenergizes you.
6) Don’t Give Up. If you are set on achieving a goal, don’t let a little burnout stop you. Be patient with yourself and keep your eyes on the prize. You will soon regain your enthusiasm and energy. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it.