Overcoming Burnout

Overwhelming text treatment of the word Monday
by Amy Gunby

Does every day feel like Monday? This is burnout.


  1. Start saying “no.” Set firm boundaries with yourself and others. Accept that you can’t do everything. Be okay with pushing loose deadlines, canceling social plans, and asking for help when you feel overwhelmed. Just because you have an endless to-do list doesn’t mean you have an infinite amount of mental bandwidth to do it all. Give yourself permission to scale back where you can.


  1. Take breaks. Schedule time-blocks for tasks and breaks to prioritize balance in your schedule. Give yourself breathing room to leave the office and get fresh air. Stepping away from your workspace can help you overcome mental blocks on projects, and hopefully, you’ll return with clarity. Whether you’re taking a 15 at work, leaving the office for lunch, or taking the day off, breaks are a necessity. If you find yourself saying “I don’t have time,” revert your attention back to #1. Here is your sign. Get up. Go see the light of day. Grab coffee with a coworker, or just enjoy some quiet time. Your cubicle will still be waiting for you when you return.


  1. Disconnecting is recharging. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your job involves staring at a screen for 40 hours a week. In your free time, don’t allow moments away from your computer to be replaced by your phone. Doom scrolling on social media or news sites will most likely equate to more stress, anxiety, and restlessness. Try setting limits on screen time or find more meaningful ways to decompress. POV: You live a life of endless possibilities…and yet you chose to be covered in Cheeto dust, double-chin-slouched, staring lifelessly at Shrek memes on your phone for 5 hours straight. Sigh.


  1. Practice self-care. Are you giving yourself the fuel you need to keep up with your daily grind? Make sure you’re resting enough, eating healthy foods, staying active, and doing activities you enjoy. This is a marathon, not a sprint…if you don’t give yourself the grace to rest and recharge your body, it will inevitably do it for you.


  1. Get organized. It’s easy to fall into a nonstop work cycle and lose control of your physical space. Try allotting 15 minutes a week to turn off the computer and focus on cleaning, purging clutter, and organizing your workspace. Your environment is an extension of you, and it can directly affect how you feel. Create a space that comforts you rather than overwhelms you.


  1. Eliminate or minimize stressors. Consider what aspects of your life are causing burnout. Reflect on people, situations, and habits that make you feel emotionally exhausted rather than revitalized. Set attainable goals for yourself to cut back or remove the things that don’t bring you joy.


  1. Be present when you can. If your life is anything like mine…whether you juggle a second job, take classes, have a family, or just have a chaotic schedule…the rare leisure time you have is highly valuable. Ensure what free moments you do have are spent in meaningful ways. Do things that make you feel recharged, motivated, at peace, or just generally happy. Try forming a daily habit to express gratitude for a few things each day. When you are intentional with your thoughts, time, and actions, you will begin to find joy in simple things you may not have noticed before.


Remember, overcoming burnout is a process, and it may take time to find the right balance between work and your personal life. Be patient with yourself and celebrate the small victories along the way.