As I super-busy high-achiever, one of the most important things I’ve had to learn in life is how to avoid burnout. If you read my blog often you probably remember this post in which I talked about how important it is to spread out breaks and doing the things I love so that I don’t see-saw between two extremes and end up living for the weekend. I’ve found the same principle can be applied when avoiding burnout. Smaller regular breaks are important to me when making sure I’m getting all the rest that I need and I’m not building up to a major crash. Here’s how I do it.
I pay attention to my limits
When I’m tired and worn out, I start not wanting to do things. I start procrastinating. The lack of energy to do things usually builds until doing nothing is ALL I can do. That’s the point of the crash. At first the things are small, such as I don’t feel like going out with friends or doing the washing at home seems like the dullest things around. When I get these feelings, I go with them. I know that I’m a really productive, effective and goal driven person. I didn’t believe that when I was younger though, so when I got feelings of being apparently ‘lazy’, I’d beat myself up over them. Now I understand it’s not laziness, it’s my body’s first signal that I need to chill. The sooner I catch this, the smaller the amount of rest I need.
I know the best ways for me to rest
So, as I said, listening to what my mind is telling me helps me take smaller breaks. That also must pair with my knowledge of how to take breaks properly. Things that constitute a good break might be: dancing around the room to Christine and the Queens; going for a walk without iPod or phone; reading a book or watching a movie or TV; scrolling around on Pinterest; taking the night off from seeing people. This also helps me at work. If I find I’m procrastinating or dreading a task, I go for a walk to help my mind think about other things. I’m mostly an introvert, so I know that time away from people and technology helps me recharge.
I know how to say no
This was probably the hardest thing for me to learn. I’m the kind of friend that will do anything for anyone, even if it puts me out of my comfort zone. It means I’m often double and triple booked. It means I’m constantly worried about letting people down. So I have learned over time to say no and not to justify it to people. I don’t say I can’t do something as though if a person twisted my arm I’d cave in and do it. I say politely that I can’t come to the thing they want me to do because I’ve been doing a lot lately and I really need a night/day off. I used to worry that people would be hurt or take it personally if I turned them down for things, but I learned gradually that if they are going to be hurt by me caring for myself, then I shouldn’t have helped them out in the first place. My good friends are all supportive of me looking after myself, just as I work to be for them.
I know what my limits are
I know this because I’ve explored them. Last year I was studying full-time, working full-time, undertaking an internship, writing this blog and a thousand other little things that I can’t remember. So when I live through stuff that I find really hard I reflect on it and I think about what I can learn for living situations like that in the future. That experience means that I know what I’m willing to work 15 hour days for and what I’m not. It means I know how taxing travel is for me. It makes me much better at forecasting what will exhaust me. This part also includes knowing what to let go. The saying ‘done is better than perfect’ is so important to me in this regard. When I know my limits, I’m willing to let things be before they are perfect, instead of destroying myself for something that isn’t as important as my health.
It’s kind of like all of these things are making me better at being my own Personal Assistant. I know when I’m well rested and taking time for myself when I can, that’s when I’m the most effective at the stuff I have a responsibility to do or the stuff I actually want to do.
Now, if I’ve said something here that you hoped I had expanded on further, ask me below. And tell me, how do you avoid burnout? Are you a busy bee just like I am? Thanks Noelle from The Classy Junk for your question on my earlier blog post asking about avoiding burnout. This post is for you!
These photos are from a recent adventure cherry-blossom spotting with my sister! We love exploring the world around us and taking photos of it (wait until you see the photos I took of HER). This spot with the white blossoms and sweet white shop was too cute and we ended up taking blog photos here as well. I'm glad we went exploring when we did. There has been LOTS of rain here in the last week with flooding and all sorts of horrible things. Rain strips the blossoms off the trees though, so we caught these ones just in time.
Top: Cotton On
Belt: David Jones
Skirt: Review Australia
Photos: Goldfields Girl
Location: Golden Point, Ballarat