In today's audio postcard I share 6 ways to tell if you’re heading for burnout.
Today's question: How you can carve out time for yourself?
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I want to let you in on the dirty little secret about burnout… it’s super sneaky. Burnout creeps up very slowly and usually you don’t realize it until you’re well on your way to being like that charred and crispy marshmallow that falls off the stick. Its gooey insides end up splattered on the ground and covered in dirt.
In the hustle and bustle of your daily life, you slip into feeling stressed and overwhelmed without realizing it’s more than just day-to-day stress. That it’s actually evolved into burnout. Which is why regularly checking in with yourself is so important.
Here are 6 signs you can look for that may be evidence you’re in danger of burning out.
1. You’re a hard worker.
Here’s the thing, being a hard worker has gotten you where you are and you take a lot of pride in giving everything you’ve got to your job.
And, don’t get me wrong, there’s no shame in hard work. But you’re headed for trouble if you continue to take on more and more work when you truly don’t have the capacity. This is an easy thing to miss when you’re ambitious and want to prove your worth at work.
What ends up happening is you end up with no time for yourself or anything but work, work, work. You’ve become overloaded in the blink of an eye. And if that feeling of overload becomes a regular thing, it’ll give way to burnout.
2. You’ve been cranky and impatient.
Have you noticed yourself snapping at your partner or kids more than usual? Or maybe your manager or co-worker has really been getting on your nerves in a major way over the past few months.
If you’ve noticed your patience is wearing thin – especially when this isn’t usually the case – burnout is probably on the horizon.
3. You’re stressed out and tired.
Has feeling sluggish and worn out become your new normal? Most days you come home from work ready to veg out on the couch with a glass of wine and a few episodes of Scandal to wind down. You’ve gotten to the point where you dread Mondays and anxiously await the sweet relief of Friday.
Your stress levels have been through the roof. Maybe you’ve even noticed it’s been more difficult to make decisions, solve problems and resolve conflicts. If you’ve reached the point where you don’t feel like you have the bandwidth to deal with everything that’s coming at you, burnout may not be far behind.
4. You’re not taking care of yourself.
This is an important one to look out for, especially if you’re a hard worker. The people who struggle with burnout almost always come last on their own list. They put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own.
Are you losing sleep because you’re up late responding to work emails? Do you skip lunch to get through the huge stack of paperwork on your desk?
If you’re sacrificing your own needs because you’re busting your hump to get more and more done, you’re setting yourself up for burnout. It’s not sustainable for you to keep up this pace.
5. You have no time to play.
If you’re not finding ways to release the stress that’s been building up, your stack will eventually blow. One of the best ways to blow off steam is to devote regular time to play. But you haven’t been making time for it like you used to.
You used to get together with friends for frisbee golf at least a couple times a month but a few months have gone by since you’ve been able to make it to a game. Or maybe you’ve been planning and hosting regular game nights but lately, your schedule has been so jam-packed you haven’t been able to fit it in. Regularly skipping out on play time can put you on the slippery slope to burnout.
6. You’re neglecting your hobbies.
You used to find time, on a regular basis, for gardening, woodworking or mountain biking. But lately you haven’t had the time or energy to devote to much of anything besides work and your other daily responsibilities. In fact, you’ve been so busy, it’s possible you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve dropped your hobbies completely.
Slowly, over time you’ve managed to lose your connection to the activities you enjoy. And there’s a good chance you’ve replaced them with binge watching Netflix or spending hours scrolling on Instagram – because that’s all you can muster the energy for these days (and you’ve convinced yourself it’s a great way to relax). That’s a sure sign that burnout isn’t far behind.
Keep an eye out for these warning signs to prevent burnout from creeping up on you. In fact, have you noticed there’s a theme here? It turns out, that when you’re so intensely focused on work you end up forgetting all about you.