How to Avoid Burnout

Vacations are wonderful, but they inevitably end with a return to everyday stress. How can you ensure that the burdens of life don’t burn you out? This is not a simple question to answer, but it is helpful to try and embrace three “R’s”:

Avoid Burnout

Everyone Needs REST
The other day I was sitting on the beach watching a large bird overhead. I noticed that it flapped its wings and then glided for awhile. Flapped and glided. Flapped and glided. Neither of these activities alone could keep the bird going. It was the combination of the two that worked. So it is for us. If we work and work, but never glide, we will be exhausted. Hard work is terrific, but it can’t be constant or it will eventually end in a lack of motivation, sloppy work, or even depression.

Distraction ≠ REFRESHMENT
In today’s world of technological toys, it is very easy to escape the worries of the day. Turn on the TV, pull out the iPad, surf Facebook… the list goes on and on! These activities are distractions. They are passive, so we think of them as relaxation, but they really aren’t. They simply shift our focus from stressful thoughts to mundane ones. There is nothing wrong with these activities – we all need to zone out sometimes. However, distraction doesn’t have the power to refresh us. Have you ever walked away from an hour on the internet saying “Wow, I feel terrific”? True refreshment is typically a result of activities which require physical exertion, creativity, or human interaction (exercise, hobbies, hanging out…)

RHYTHM Matters
Ever have a day characterized by chaos? Days like these can feel out of control and draining. Instead of working intentionally, we find ourselves simply reacting, which is unproductive, discouraging, and tiring. Periodic days like these are unavoidable. Constant days like these may be a symptom of poor planning. To the extent you can, try and set up a rhythm to your week. It may be scheduling certain tasks for certain days (e.g. laundry on Mondays, grocery shopping on Fridays, playgroup on Wednesdays.) It may be blocking time in your calendar for repetitive activities (team meeting on Tuesdays at 1:00, paperwork on Thursdays, marketing on Friday afternoons). It should include intentional time off  (e.g. see points above) so that you give yourself permission to be “off the clock.” By creating a predictable routine you will improve your ability to plan and to adapt when life’s complexities hit.

In a world that seems to demand more than we can give, everyone needs to be his/her own advocate. Set and pursue your priorities, guard your time, and take care of your body and spirit.

What do you find most refreshing and relaxing?


18 thoughts on “How to Avoid Burnout”

  1. great post babe…I know if things are too cluttered around me I just can’t function and get cranky…especially since our place is so tiny. So true about technology, yeah it’s fun to connect and read…but shutting it all down and napping or talking with your family is wonderful.

  2. So timely! I am going on a little trip today and I was wondering if I’d be able to relax.. I agree that we need to glide as well as flap our wings. What a great analogy.

    1. Thanks so much, Tamara. I hope you have a wonderful trip and get a chance to really relax and refresh. I’ll think of you gliding today as I work:)

  3. Oh did I ever need to read this right now! I am playing catch up from the month’s events but I need to learn to give myself a little time to relax instead of go, go, go! I’ll be sharing this tomorrow.

    1. Yes, Michelle… you do need a rest! This end of summer/start of school time is intense. Hope you can grab some refreshment:) Thanks for the share!

  4. Great timing. Boy, am I feeling worn out lately. I still haven’t found my rhythm since school started last week. Your post helped me pin down what was out of whack. Thanks.

    1. Yes, Robin!! The change of schedules so easily moves us off of our game. Sending you wishes for refreshment! Thanks for stopping by:)

  5. These are good tips — I am really working on incorporating more of a rhythm to my days (and generally organization in my life) now that I’ve got 2 kids to wrangle. Right now I’m trying to come up with a good laundry schedule (sheets on Mondays, whites on Tuesdays, etc) and a good meal-planning/grocery-shopping schedule.

    1. I love your laundry idea:) I used to do a load a day when the kids were younger. Best of luck with rhythm, and thanks for stopping by!

  6. I absolutely agree with you. We can work hard on our business and in life, but if we’re not taking substantial breaks, we will burn out. I do my best to schedule in breaks and mini vacations for myself, but last week I somehow forgot. By Wednesday, I was emotionally drained and mentally exhausted. At first I had no idea what was wrong with me, but once I realized I was able to give myself a much deserved breaks. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to run our life.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Keri. We are often so busy that days pass before we realize that we are tired and need a break! Thanks so much for your comment:)

  7. How true – I don’t know that I ever walked about from on hour on the internet feeling relaxed! I’ve just started scheduling time to meditate into my calendar – only when I close my eyes do I TRULY relax. Otherwise – I’m tempted to read, watch tv, work on the computer . . .


    1. What wisdom, Lisa. Closing our eyes is a wonderful way to block out distractions, a battle we all fight regularly. I face the same temptations.. great idea!

  8. You’re SO right. How many times have I taken a “Facebook break” when I’d have been much better walking away from my computer and picking up a book or going for a walk? As long as we’re sitting at the computer, we deceive ourselves into thinking we’re “working” even though we’re not being productive. We need to give ourselves permission to do these other activities which are so essential to our well-being!
    Janet Barclay recently posted…Using Content Marketing to Win Friends and Influence PeopleMy Profile

    1. That’s exactly it, Janet. We have more “distraction” available to us than ever, and we feel more drained and less relaxed. It’s important to prioritize our well-being, so we can give our all and be at our best:)
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