On Monday, I wrote about the need to avoid burnout, especially when pursuing your dream. Our culture tends to idolize the busy — making heroes out of those who sacrifice everything in order to achieve their dream.
There was so much chatter about the post — on Facebook and LinkedIn —mostly from people asking how to avoid burnout. Knowing the need to avoid burnout is great, but taking the steps to build a life that is burnout-free doesn’t come easy to most.
We live in a society that is all about go-go-go-go-go. We’re constantly plugged into email, social media, and the latest news. Down time is deemed laziness in our new culture.
Avoiding burnout isn’t part of our world.
So we need to be proactive.
Here are five tips on how to avoid burnout:
1. Take a day off. Seriously.
You weren’t created to work all day, every day, even if it’s pursuing your dream. Your body needs rest, your mind needs rest, and your soul needs rest. Take one day off a week from all your work, be it your full-time job or your part-time dream, and spend that day doing something you love. Yes, there are excuses as to why you can’t take that day off. Yes, it will be difficult. No, you won’t really like it at first. But you need it. Try it for 6 weeks and see if you don’t notice a difference in your creativity, passion, and energy. I dare you.
2. Do something every day that brings you life.
Burnout, in it’s simplest form, is being empty — empty of passion, empty of emotion, empty of the ability to care. It’s having nothing within you to give out. So, you need to fill back up, and the best way to fill back up is to do something that brings you life. We all have at least one thing — reading, writing, playing an instrument, going for a walk, having coffee with a friend, running. Whatever your something is, do it. Once a day. It’s how you will fuel back up to pour out even more.
Journaling is a long-lost art. Taking time to write down the plethora of emotions and thoughts running through your head will inevitably relieve stress and help you find clarity. It doesn’t need to be fancy or eloquent. Just write down what’s going through your head: the list of things you need to do, the anxiety or stress you’re feeling, the overarching feeling of being overwhelmed. Getting it down is one way to deal with it. Try it.
4. Find someone to help.
We have this notion in America that successfully pursuing your dream requires you to do it alone. That’s stupid. Really, really stupid. We don’t know it all, and we can’t do it all. Recruit a few other people into your dream and take the load off yourself. Delegate the tasks that drain you, and focus on the tasks that bring you joy. Trust me, that simple step will help alleviate burnout.
5. Realize you don’t have to do it all today.
What if you didn’t achieve your dream? What if you pushed that task off to another day? Would your life really be a waste if you didn’t send that email today? Recently, the idea of pursuing your dream has been elevated to a high priority in our culture. If you aren’t pursuing a dream, and killing yourself in the process, then you are wasting your life. But is that really true? At the end of your life, do you want to be known as the person who achieved their dream, or who loved and made an impact for others? Your value doesn’t diminish if you don’t achieve your dream, so stop acting as if it does. I’m not saying to stop pursuing your dream, but to put it in its proper place of priority. As you do that, you fill find more energy to pursue your dream. It’s a crazy paradox.
Question: What else would you add to this list? Which tip is the hardest for you to follow?