Have you been pushing yourself really hard and starting to feel burnt out?
How are you feeling? Tired? Exhausted? Uninspired? Unmotivated? Down? Deflated? Riddled with self-doubt?
Does any of the above sound like you?
Trust me, I’ve been there. I go through phases where I overwork and push myself to the limit. And, over time, I start throwing all other areas of my life out the window, just work-work-working… Eventually, I lose my focus, become less and less productive, and just start feeling worse and worse. Lack of motivation, exhaustion, anxiety, and self-doubt are only some of the feelings I start dealing with.
This is a common problem. Many think that if they just keep pushing themselves harder and harder, they’ll get to where they want to get to. But, this approach is not sustainable. Eventually, you run out of steam.
As someone who works really hard, juggling regular work and my side-hustle, I’ve learned that balance is everything. I need to balance my work out with other areas of life like health, self-care, and play. And, when I do this, I find myself more inspired and more productive than ever.
But, it’s not always easy to find balance. Sometimes there’s just so much to do that we just push push push ourselves into the ground.
And, before you know it, you’re feeling tired, unmotivated and down-in-the-dumps. Then what?
I’m here to tell you that there are ways to pick yourself up again and get back to your most vibrant, inspired and productive self!
Read on and learn 5 of the ways that help me pull myself back up and stay motivated when I’m feeling burnt out.
1. Free up some extra time for you.
It may seem crazy to suggest freeing up some extra time. Extra time, what extra time? Have you seen my to-do list!?
Believe me, there are ways.
Often we spend time on things that aren’t important or necessary right now. So, take a hard look at how you currently spend your time. Think about what’s really important to you and what activities are helping you achieve your bigger goals. Then, look at some of the ways you’re spending your time that don’t serve you right now. Make a list if it helps you.
This exercise should give you at least 1 or 2 activities that you can cut down or remove from your list. They may be total time-wasters or simply activities that you want to do, but that just aren’t as important right now. Don’t be afraid to put some of them in the parking lot for now. You can’t do everything all at once.
For me, one of my big time-wasters is watching movies and series. I’d work hard all day, and then, in the evenings I’d stay up until midnight or later watching series. While this did allow me to ‘switch off’ in a sense, it was time I could be using to spend away from the screen or sleeping more. When I identified this, I reduced my time spent watching series, started going to bed a little earlier, and found myself getting more sleep and feeling far more productive and inspired. What a change!
And so, what are your time-wasters? What can you put aside for now? Where can you free up some time for yourself?
2. Put your health first.
Now that you’ve got a little extra time, look at ways you can nourish yourself in the right ways.
By putting your health first, you’ll set yourself up mentally, physically and emotionally to take on each day better.
Many think that if they only do more – work harder, add more to their to-do list – they’ll get to where they want to get to. But… like mentioned above, without balance, you’re just going end up draining yourself and feeling burnt out. By nourishing all areas of your life, you’ll feel stronger and more motivated. And, you’ll get more done in the long run!
For me, this mind-shift was life-changing. I was sometimes working so hard that everything was falling by the wayside – I was sleeping less, skipping breakfast, not doing yoga, not taking breaks from my screen… And eventually, it was affecting my work as I was unfocused, anxious and felt like I was going around in circles without being my most creative and productive self.
So… I started sleeping a bit more, eating a delicious nourishing breakfast, and doing even just 15 minutes of yoga in the morning. Life-changing! I’d start feeling more and more like my vibrant happy self day by day.
When you’ve got lots on your plate, taking time out for your health can be tough. Spending an extra hour sleeping, making breakfast or working out can feel like you’re wasting time, especially when you’ve got ‘more important things to do’ like work!
I get it. But remember, when you’re burnt out your productivity decreases and you end up wasting time because you take longer to do things. Instead, by nourishing yourself, you get stronger, happier and much more productive. The latter is far more sustainable.
So, ask yourself “What do I need to feel better, stronger, more energized?
Is that more sleep? Some exercise? Better eating? Time outside?
Pick one thing you can do for your health, and schedule it in your calendar next week.
3. Get some extra sleep.
This fits into health, but it’s so important that I’ve given it its own section.
When it comes to feeling burnt out, more sleep was seriously a game-changer for me.
When I get into the work-work-work cycle, sleep is one of the first things that gets neglected. I stay up until midnight or later and still get up at 6 am. I feel like a need to get up earlier and earlier to maintain, but in reality, the less I sleep, the less productive I am. After a few nights of 6 or fewer hours of sleep a night, it starts to hit me hard. I start feeling sensitive, moody, emotional, unfocused, drained and pretty down in the dumps. Also, my lack of focus affects my work and I end up spending many more hours than I normally would on tasks. This just adds to the anxiety, and it becomes a downward spiral.
Sleep deprivation has many negative effects. From messing with your emotions, causing a lack of focus, all the way to causing an imbalance of hormones resulting in unhealthy food cravings.
And so, make sleep a priority.
Some of the ways I make sleep a priority include: Letting myself sleep in on the weekends, with my phone on silent in another room. Committing to sleep 7 hours on weeknights. I also spoke to my partner about needing more sleep so that I could have some support – this was really helpful as he’d start initiating earlier sleep – At 11 pm he’d say “Let’s go to bed”.
Once I was getting more sleep, I would feel so much better. This change has motivated me to always try and make sleep a priority, no matter how busy I get.
How many hours of sleep are you getting a night? What would happen if you added 1 extra hour a night?
Try it, I’m certain you’ll feel a difference.
4. Do something that gives you joy.
When we work work work, even if we love what we do, we can totally deplete our inspiration. Eventually, we start to feel unmotivated and can end up asking questions like ‘What am I doing this for?” “Is this all a waste of time?”
I’ve been there. When I start to feel really burnt out, I start questioning why I’m doing what I’m doing – “Why am I working on this health and wellness blog-biz? Am I really cut out for this? Am I crazy, wanting to be a health coach? What am I doing? Am I totally wasting time and messing up my life” When self-defeating thoughts like these start floating around in your head, and you start feeling really down and depressed, know that it’s time for a reality check.
One of the best ways to get out of a funk is to do something that really gives you joy.
For me, one of those activities is simply visiting a cool new cafe and spending time hanging out, drinking coffee or tea, and writing. I just LOVE it. Other activities include getting out of the house for a walk, visiting the park, journalling, visiting bookshops, and spending quality time with my boyfriend.
Doing something you really enjoy can help re-ignite your zest for life, and give you that extra boost you need to keep going. It reminds you of all the awesome things beyond work, and what you’re working for. And, at the same time, it refuels your inspiration that feeds directly back into your work.
Take the time to do the things you love, and enjoy life!
What are some activities that you really enjoy? What do you love that you haven’t done in a while?
Pick one of them and schedule a time to do it next week.
5. Revisit the reasons WHY you’re working so hard.
Why are you working so hard?
What are your goals and what is the motivation behind them?
It’s easy to get lost in the work and forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. When I start to feel burnt out, I lose sight of this and start to question why I’m doing any of it.
To get my head back in the game, I relook at my goals and the WHY behind them.
For example, I’m currently working long hours. While my normal daily work goes on, I’m also building my online wellness business – from refreshing my blog into a website, to writing blog posts and newsletters, to studying at IIN to become a health coach. It’s a lot. But, but revisiting my notebook where I have my big goals written down, I can reconnect with the WHY behind what I’m doing – I’m working remotely and building my lifestyle business because I want ultimate freedom. This gives me the boost I need to keep at it.
Revisiting your goals and the WHY behind them helps in many ways. For one, it can give you a boost by reminding you of why you’re doing what you’re doing. It can also help you refocus your time and energy – As in the first tip above, often you can spend time on things that aren’t important or necessary right now.
So, get clear on why you’re working so hard. What are you working towards? And why is it important?
Then, look at how you’re spending your time, and make sure you’re spending time on the activities that are feeding into these important goals of yours. From there, you can shift your mindset – instead of seeing all the things you need to do as ‘overwhelming and stressful’, you can start seeing them as ‘exciting and inspiring’ because they’re getting you closer to your big goal.
Are you ready to pick yourself up again and stop feeling burnt out?
I hope so!
No matter how much you have on your plate, you can take small steps to stay energized and motivated. You can find balance in your life, so that you can still hustle like a ninja, without running yourself into the ground.
It is possible to live a full and successful life AND still take care of yourself.
You can still work super hard AND have time to play and sleep.
Just the fact that you’re here right now, reading this post, shows that you are committed to finding balance and living your best life without compromising on your health and happiness.
Pick one or more of the points above, and start taking action. No matter how small, take a step in the right direction. Over time you’ll feel better and more motivated to take another. Step by step you’ll get there. And, before you know it, you’ll be feeling strong and motivated to conquer the world again. And… you’ll get better at finding balance in your life so that you don’t head for burn out again.
Keep going for your dreams.