Burnout can get the best of us if we don't take time out of our busy schedules to rest. However, if you're someone who has a particularly busy schedule and not much time for taking vacations, there are a few tricks that you can master in order to avoid burnout to the best of your abilities.
1 - Take Regular Breaks
Probably the most given advice when it comes to avoiding burnout is taking regular breaks. However, it can't be advised enough! I know from personal experience that when you're simply told to take regular breaks, your first thought may be "I'll take a break when I'm done", but usually the work never stops so that is impossible.
It's important that you take regular breaks, regardless of how far or close you are to being finished with your work. Your brain doesn't keep track of work like that, it simply needs rest when it needs rest, or else it will stop working for you, and you'll be forced to rest.
Something that helps me remind myself that it's okay to take breaks is telling myself that "I can't work unless my brain is functioning" - it's important to know that you should be taking breaks simply for your mental and physical health, but this advice is still a step in the right direction if you have trouble taking breaks from work.
2 - Block Schedule Your Day
Block scheduling your day isn't only useful for staying organized and on task, but it also helps enable you to schedule breaks ahead of time in your day. If you are someone who struggles with stepping away from work, just remind yourself to stay on schedule and that your break is a part of your schedule for the day.
This way, there are designated time frames for when you need to be prioritizing certain things throughout the day, including your mental and physical health. Breaks should be just as important to you as eating and sleeping are.
3 - Eat Whole Meals Regularly
One thing that I struggle with is eating whole meals on a regular basis - however, when I do manage to stay on top of eating, I feel so much better!
I encourage you to find meals that you're excited about eating during the day so that you are more likely to eat enough and regularly. It's often difficult to take time away from work to focus on eating, instead of work being in the back of your mind, or eating while still working, but it will be so much more beneficial for you in the long run.
4 - Talk to Yourself Nicely
Burnout has everything to do with your mental health. Because of this, it is important that we talk to ourselves like we're someone we love. It is all too easy to hold ourselves to impossibly high expectations, be disappointed in ourselves, and speak discouraging words, but when we treat our brains better, they treat us better as well!
Instead of succumbing to the negative thoughts that we all have when we don't meet our own expectations, I encourage you to speak to yourself this way instead: "I did my best", "I can try again", "I can try something else", or "I can ask for help". There's always a way that you can encourage yourself when you feel down.
5 - Be Patient with Yourself
Patience is a virtue that we could all use a little bit more of. If you can't be patient with yourself, you will only hinder your ability to do work, and cause burnout faster.
Much like talking to yourself nicely, being patient with yourself is also a part of taking care of your mental health. The more you try to rush your progress, your work, your schedule, or anything else for that matter, the more stressed out you will become - and who wants to be stressed out?
Having patience with yourself will teach your brain that it's okay to mess up and take the time that you need to complete whatever it is that you're working on. Rushing a process can create instability and possibly prevent it from being the best it can be. So, I encourage you to have patience with yourself in all areas of life.
6 - Know Your Limits
Knowing your limits can be a tough one - it takes consciously making the decision of when to stop and realizing that you should step away from your work.
Once you start to feel overwhelmed, it's always a good idea to step back from the situation, and return once you are in a stable state. You can't put your best foot forward if you feel overwhelmed or overworked. If you know that you get overwhelmed by certain things easier than others, then I highly suggest giving yourself a longer period of time to do the work, if you have that option. This way, you are able to step back from it when you need to, so that you can still complete it in a timely fashion.
7 - Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is something that feels impossible once you move into adulthood!
The more work you do, the more rest you'll probably need. Sleeping is God's gift to all of us - if you're not fueling your body enough, then you won't be able to live your life the way you want to.
I know that people can sound like broken records when they repeatedly give this advice, but the importance of getting the right amount of sleep is exceptional!
8 - Reward Yourself
Many times, we can feel burnt out because we're doing great work, but we lack reward. Although many of us have bosses who should be doing the rewarding in the workplace, many people work for themselves these days. In both cases, you should reward yourself if you aren't feeling appreciated for your efforts enough.
Sometimes the small successes are the biggest ones in our books, and those deserve rewards too.
9 - Decrease Your Work Load
If you have the option to, decreasing your work load when you start to feel burnout coming is always a great idea, especially when a vacation from work isn't an option at the moment. Even though we want to just get the work done as soon as possible, sometimes we just need to accept that we need a smaller work load.
This can also look like asking others for help or sharing your workload with somebody else for the time being.
10 - Prioritize Your Relationships
As humans, our relationships are extremely important to us, whether we realize it or not.
Personally, I feel my best when my relationships are strong and healthy. Having strong relationships in your life can help you face burnout much easier because you won't be going through it alone. When the going gets rough, lean on your friends and family to help you out.
With these tips, it is important to understand that the main priority in taking care of your mental health, is your health, not maintaining yourself so that you can do more work. Our bodies are here for us on a daily basis and do the best they can with the cards they're given - it's our jobs to take care of our bodies as well.
"But you, O Lord, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of my head"
-- Faith Blackshear