The 3 Most Effective Ways
to Overcome Burnout
Are you currently experiencing burnout? You might be exhausted, unmotivated and fed up with not reaching your goals again - even though you are working hard. Or, did you set a huge goal for yourself, that you were really excited to reach, but then you ended wearing yourself out in the process to get there?
If this sounds like you - I’m so glad you’re here. So many of us experience a cycle of over achievement followed by burnout that leaves us feeling beaten down and uninspired. My guess is you are capable, intelligent and driven - but your perfectionist tendencies might be keeping you from achieving your goals and dreams, as you constantly have to battle your way back from burnout.
As a Life Coach I help my clients find their way out of burnout all the time - and I wanted to share the advice that I give them in this post today. I’ll walk you through what burnout looks and feels like, why you might be experiencing burnout and what you can do to get yourself back on track so you can reach your goals. If you regularly experience burnout - you know the devastating effects it has on both your self esteem and ability to achieve what you desire out of life. I want to help you get back on track to living your best life!
This post will show you how to set up a plan to pace yourself through managing your mind, and give you the tools to recognize the unique patterns that contribute to your burnout. I’ve also created this free workbook so you can make a personalized plan to get you out of burnout fast.
The University of Bath, one of the leading research centers for burnout, identifies burnout as:
“A Syndrome associated with chronic stress that manifests as extreme fatigue, perceived reduced accomplishment and eventual detachment”.
If this sounds familiar - keep reading! Our first step to overcoming burnout is identifying it’s cause.
Step 1: Accept that burnout and perfectionism go hand in hand
The concept that burnout might be a direct result of perfectionist tendencies can be uncomfortable to accept. I personally struggled with it for years, and didn’t want to admit that the way I was approaching my goals, tasks and life directly contributed to my cycle of over achievement and burnout.
You might be thinking to yourself, but isn’t my perfectionism what keeps me so detail oriented, focused and driven? I would argue that this is exactly the problem!
Perfectionists are often highly intelligent and capable achievers. But there is a dark side to perfectionism too - and one that directly correlates to the instance of burnout, as it manifests and feeds into chronic stress.
Take a close look at the following perfectionist traits, and judge for yourself if they would contribute to an environment of increased stress:
- Excessively high personal standards
- Unrealistic expectations of self and others
- Attributing personal value to visible accomplishments
- Harsh self criticism
- Lack of patience with self (especially as a learner)
- All or nothing thinking (also known as “black or white” thinking)
- Feeling trapped by the pursuit of the “perfect” outcome
Any of these factors would contribute to burnout right? Now imagine if you were experiencing ALL of those factors at once. How could you not end up burnt out?
Some of you might be thinking, “Yes, but if I just work a little bit harder, or get a little bit more done - everything will be perfect”.
I promise, that will only lead to moving the bar higher the next time, and trying to squeeze even more out of your day/week/year. No human can keep up with or maintain the expectations set by a perfectionist. You may try for years - but at some point you are going to burnout as you constantly pursue unrealistic expectations and standards.
What’s important to recognize is that these perfectionist tendencies and traits are just a way of thinking. They don’t define you, and you can change and alter them if you truly want to banish burnout once and for all. It won’t be easy, but I’m here to help you through it! The next steps is taking a look at what triggers perfectionism and burnout for you.
Step 2: Identify Your Personal Triggers
While all perfectionists exhibit similar tendencies, the way they show up in your life might be different than for other perfectionists. You might get especially stressed about school or work outcomes, because your identity is tied to what you achieve and produce in these areas. Therefore, if you have a big work or school project coming up - you might be more prone to burnout as your expectations are already sky high.
Take a minute to think back to your most recent experience with burnout.
- What were the events, deadlines or milestones directly preceding it?
- What were your personal standards like during that time? What were your expectations of yourself and others?
- Did you criticize yourself harshly when every detail didn’t go as planned?
- Did you spend more time than was needed trying to perfect details and wear yourself out in the process?
If this was the case - please don’t be hard on yourself (another perfectionist trait!). The only way to make real change is to stop passing judgement on yourself, and open yourself up to be a learner.
Practice patience with yourself as you start to explore what might be triggering your burnout. Look for patterns of behaviour and events so you can recognize what triggers perfectionism for you. Chances are, burnout won’t be far behind.
Step 3: Pick one strategy and experiment with It
You read that right - pick just ONE strategy.
This is not the time to try “all the things” and then promptly getting worn out as a perfectionist would be inclined to do. That will get you exactly where you you started - burnout!
Instead, this is a great opportunity to practice pacing yourself, and dipping your toes into experiments. Experiments are a great option for perfectionists because they don’t require a huge commitment, you can try a behaviour or habit on for a few days or weeks, without having to work through your all or nothing thinking to adopt a completely new approach.
You aren’t giving anything up with an experiment, as you can always go back to what you were doing.
I go through lots of examples in the Free Workbook you can download in this post - and even break them into mind or body categories for you. But here are my favorite strategies for banishing burnout quickly:
- Practice self compassion
- Practice Gratitude
- Recharge your mind
- Recharge your body
- Focus on one thing at a time
Remember - PICK ONE!
Once you’ve incorporated it as a habit into your daily life, and you are recharging your mind and a body as a result of implementing it - you can add another strategy. You will wear yourself out if you decide to implement and maintain all the strategies at once!
If you want a complete list of ways to recharge your Body and Mind during burnout - download my Free Workbook on Banishing Burnout below:
Banishing burnout requires you to take a hard look at how you got there, and possibly accept personal responsibility for your current situation. I hope this post has shed some light on what might be contributing to your burnout, and given you some strategies to overcome it.
Don’t forget to download the Free Workbook for a more in depth exploration of your personal situation and to create a personalized plan for you to take action and banish burnout once and for all!
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