Life has been... A LOT lately.
Between responsibilities at work, taking care of friends and family, and just the general sh*t parade that has been the world the last few years, it's easier than ever to feel burnt the F out.
Here's what they had to say:
1. "Number one: self-compassion. Change the way you speak internally and start talking to yourself the way you would a loved one. Life is hard. Stress will happen. But if you take time to take breaks, your stress levels will start to ebb and flow. The alternative is when you try to power through that last assignment, last email, etc. and your stress levels raise like a steep staircase. That staircase leads to burnout."
2. "Learn how to set boundaries. 'No' is a complete sentence."
"Setting boundaries in the first place is the most important thing to prevent burnout. Log off after work hours and don’t check the notifications. Say no to the new task of you don’t have enough time on your plate. Take your lunch break away from your desk and actually eat lunch. Take your vacation time and sick time when needed. These are not things to feel guilty about. You have earned these benefits, and you have legal rights to time away from work. Your employer won’t pay you extra for thinking about work in your spare time."
3. "My survival tip: timers. I started with an hour-on-hour-off timer schedule on the weekends. I do something fun for an hour. Then I do something productive (cleaning, bills, etc.) for an hour. Then I scaled back until I started utilizing pomodoro timers for work. It does not address the root causes or the emotions behind burnout, but it’s something that helps until life gets a little better."
4. "Open your mind to other opportunities. I was a middle school teacher for seven years. I had tenure. But I was the epitome of burned out. My mental health was at an all-time low. I looked into furthering my education, but ultimately I took a new job as a Technical Writer. I literally quit during the school year. I started from scratch. I took a pay cut and lost my tenure, but I ultimately don’t dread going to work every day and I don’t have to bring work home. Now I can also have adult conversations and go pee whenever I want!"
6. "Make the time to learn who you are, even if it’s through small or silly things. I take five minutes a day to do Korean lessons, but It’s taught me a lot about how I’m motivated and how I learn. If you feel like you’re growing into yourself as a person, you’ll be more motivated to keep going."
7. "Therapy. I hadn’t gone in quite some time because my last experience was not a great one (I didn't have great options under my insurance). I made the decision to pay out of pocket for outside care and started using Better Help. Since then, I have been noticeably better at coping with stress in my life, as well as getting to the roots of my trauma and how it affects me day to day. Best money I’ve ever spent."
8. "I take a long ass bath and read a book while I'm in there. That is my me-time and no one better disturb me. I will even bring in a drink and snacks. Bonus points if I use a bath bomb, bubble bath, or Epsom salts. I get to unwind and just unplug from the outside world."
"I’m a stay-at-home mom of three kids: a 4-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 1-year-old. How do I avoid burnout? HOT BATHS. Once a week at least. Just some Epsom salts, a little bubble bath, candlelight, and AirPods. The quiet, the ease for my many aches and pains. My kids go to bed, and mama soaks in the tub. Helps me reset, slow down, and also makes my skin feel great. It also helps with my many random pains from ya know… having three kids in four years!!"
9. "Relying on my crock pot. As a single mom, a teacher, and a generally over-scheduled adult, there is something so calming about coming home to a healthy, home-cooked meal that doesn't require a ton of clean-up. At the end of a work day, while trying to juggle pick-ups after practice, attending various sports booster meetings, and a ton of grading looming over my head, making dinner was the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back. My crock pot is my best friend."
"I definitely find that when I'm getting stressed out, cooking can feel one step too far! I make sure that when I'm feeling good I pop an extra portion in the freezer, and then when I'm crazy busy and feel myself beginning to spiral there is something tasty and nutritious to eat with minimal effort."
10. "The best way to get started is to take a break. I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you take a few minutes to do what you enjoy prior to starting a project you don't want to do, it puts you in a better mood, and it's easier to be more productive doing the things you have to do."
11. "The best burnout advice someone ever gave me is, 'You're not as indispensable as you think you are.' Which sounds mean, but what they were really saying is that I needed to stop feeling like if I ever took any vacations from work or time for myself or said, 'Sorry I don't have time to take that on,' everything would fall apart without me. It's important to be responsible and not flake out on people unnecessarily. But for a certain type of personality (the 'responsible one'), I've learned it's important to just accept that if I say no or take time off once in a while, people will manage without me. It doesn't make me a horrible, selfish person."
"The world won’t stop if you don’t get something done immediately. Very few things are actually urgent. Someone once asked me, 'Are you as important as the President of the United States?' Obviously, I’m not! He then said, 'So that email can wait. They can get by without you until tomorrow.' I think of that scenario each time someone says it’s URGENT and needs to be done IMMEDIATELY. Nope. Very few things in life actually have that type of urgency."
12. "For some anxious people like me, exercise that includes problem-solving can be really great for interrupting cyclical thoughts. Repetitive exercise like jogging or weight-lifting never quiets my brain. But put me in a dance or aerobics class, and my brain has to shut up and focus to avoid crashing into other people!"
13. "Your job title doesn’t go on your headstone. Productivity anxiety is real, but find a way to stay still even if there are a million things you could be doing. Book a massage and just chill out."
14. "Whenever I start to get stressed I remember this saying: 'Don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm.'"
15. "Sometimes you need to take a mental health day. When I start to physically burn out, if I don't get a good night's sleep, my immune system will give out and I'll be sick for a week. Sometimes a day off of work now saves me from having to take three days off down the line."
"Stop. Everything. I legit just stop and take a whole day to process and get my perspective right. I actually just did this yesterday and read for the majority of the day. Then when my butt got sore from all the sitting, I made a nice dinner for the family and drank some wine. Perspective is important. Work to live, not live to work."
16. "Give yourself time in nature, even if it's nature surrounded by highrise apartments in NYC. Change your scenery and take deep belly breaths."
17. "Develop your own personal feedback filters for your work, personal, family, and social lives. Think about the negativity you’re hearing, the person(s) who delivered it, the context in which you encountered it, and the tangible impacts it could have on your life. This kicked in for me when I was bartending in college. After a particularly bad tongue lashing from a patron, I found myself thinking, 'Wow, your existence actually has no bearing on my life. Whatever happens to you outside of this place, I won't know about it and it won't affect me.' It’s become an essential survival strategy for my anxious, over-achieving brain."
18. "Always have healthy distractions available. Even when you're not doing the thing that's causing burnout, you're thinking about it. If you can do something that provides a bit of mental sanctuary from it each day, you will do much better. I tend to keep a craft project around to ensure I have something to do other than think about all my problems all at once."
20. "Make exercise a priority. Bonus points if you can get out of the house to work out. My time at the gym is sacred."
"I go for a walk and/or lift weights when I feel burnt out. It seems to really help to clear my head. I also listen to music while I work out."
"Spin class! I know it seems counterintuitive when you’re tired and overloaded with things to do. But working out is something that has a huge and instant reward - I feel full of happy chemicals and it energises me. It took me YEARS to learn this."
21. "I turned my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' during a short break from work. I wanted to receive calls from friends and family and get a few notifications, like reminders to do Duolingo and other things I actually enjoy. I can't ever go back now. I had to turn on a few more app notifications for work, but it is so much better than it used to be."
22. "I try to make sure I give myself an hour each day where, no matter what, I just focus on myself. As long as it's time where I'm not focusing on everything else, it gives me a chance to wind down."
23. "To help cope with stress in my personal life I go for walks before my family wakes up. To cope with work stress, I take two fifteen-minute coffee breaks and my lunch, even scheduling them in my shared calendar so the expectation of no interruptions is clear. I make a list of tasks for each day so I don't lose focus, and when I am asked to do additional tasks, I can make accurate assessments of whether they will fit in my day without overextending myself."
24. "Scream. Sometimes I just scream. A good screaming can help me from being pushed over the limit when I just need to keep going a little longer (like right before an exam or a stressful workday)."