Last week I wrote about burnout and interesting it was to compare countries and their workplace culture with the amount of stress that workers were feeling. My hometown of Sydney came in at number 11 on the list and I have both experienced and seen burnout at work.
While burnout is often caused by a management issue or an overload in work or company culture, I find that there are some things that you can do in your personal time to relax so that you can restore yourself to the productive person you know you can be.
I should note right now that I’m not a medical professional of any kind and that these are based on my own personal experience when dealing with burnout.
Take a (Strategically Planned) Mental Health Day
If your workload is still high or you know you have something due, taking a mental health day can do the opposite of relaxing you. As emails and tasks pile up when you’re not there, coming back to work can feel a bit like walking the plank, and if you get your emails to your phone, there will be no relaxing on your day off as you see them all come through.
I’m very supportive of mental health days and if I’m managing staff, I’m open about encouraging them. I’m blessed to be in a job where there is flexibility in doing this and I think it is important to take a day off once in a while to focus on yourself.
Taking a mental health day (that isn’t going to stress you out further) is so important for feeling like you have some time to yourself and letting your mind take a breath. Switching off from work on that mental health day is even more important.
I know. I know. Trust me. I know that exercise can be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re burnt out. However, exercise releases endorphins and as Elle Woods once said: ‘Endorphins make you happy.’
I like to take on an unstructured form of exercise when I’m burnt out and I try to choose something that is outside or has music that will lift my mood. Swimming, walking, running and dancing are great for this.
Read Something Light
Reading for enjoyment instead of work is so liberating. My mum told me that when she was younger, reading was frowned upon because it was seen as lazy. Growing up on a family farm, if you weren’t out working…well, you should be.
My mum always encouraged me to read for enjoyment, so when I’m burnt out, I fill my TBR with fun, bingeable reads and even re-read favourites.
Watch Something Relaxing
This one is tricky because I feel that sometimes watching TV can feed burnout because it makes you feel a bit useless. However, if TV is what you do to relax after a long day/week/year(!) I’d recommend setting a timer.
For me, watching a few episodes of House Hunters and a cute movie like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the perfect way to recover from burnout without falling down a rabbit hole of a series addiction.
And please note: don’t choose TV over sleep!
Go To Bed Early
Which brings me to my next point: we need more sleep. We so often do other things that we think are more important than sleep. Let me tell you, they are not. Go to bed early for a few nights (or every night!) and feel the difference in yourself.
I’ve never regretted going to bed early, especially when I have been feeling run down and burnt out. Those extra zzz’s will make you feel so much better.