“I hope you’re healthy and safe during this strange time!”
That sentence, an attempt at half-heartedly acknowledging the Black Mirror episode disguised as the year 2020, is laced into every other email.
2020 has given us a health and economic crisis, an upward trend of people working from home, and a social justice movement against systemic racism.
These days, opening social media is like opening your front door to disagreement. We are inundated with headlines about police brutality and death.
Crises are happening around us. We’re in the middle of a pandemic. And it’s a completely normal, human feeling to feel burnt out.
According to Mayo Clinic, burnout is “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
No matter what situation you are in, there are a few things you can do to put your happiness into your own hands. Instead of letting burnout take over, you can create small accomplishments and get in touch with your personal identity.
- Imagine feeling refreshed.
- Imagine being more productive.
- Imagine working from a place of expansion, freedom and creativity.
Here are 5 things you can do to heal from burnout and find a flow state to work from.
“I’m not going to stop what I’m called to do because of a pandemic.” — Sylvester McNutt III
Stay on your own path.
When I talk about my interest in professional eSports, I hear the same comment over and over again:
“Wow, I wish I could get paid to play video games professionally!”
The problem I have with statements like this is they fail to acknowledge the nuances that come with playing professional eSports. People who say that only see the glamorous highlights of the profession without understanding what else goes on behind the scenes.
In the entrepreneurial space, social media makes it easier than ever to see what everyone around you is creating and accomplishing.
It can be difficult to remember that most people only post their glamorous highlights on social media.
Instead of spending energy comparing your life to the highlight reels people post, redirect that energy to yourself.
- It’s likely you’re not seeing the human experiences of tears, struggle or raw insecurities that show up as a creator.
- You don’t know how much those same people invest in outsourcing — for example marketing ads, ghostwriting services or virtual assistance.
- Even if people do post about what they are struggling with, they select which struggles to post.
At the end of the day, you get to decide your own metrics to success and happiness — and you may measure those things differently than the people you follow on social media. Your competitor may value working 14 hour days in exchange for a specific income goal, but do you value that same thing?
This is why it’s important to stay in your lane.
It’s easy to compare your accomplishments or projects to what others are doing. But how much will you get done when you’re too busy comparing your life to someone else’s highlight reel?
Revisit your why.
If there’s one thing 2020 has given us, it is the time to slow down and rethink what matters to us.
At the end of the day, what kind of footprint do we want to leave on the world, individually? Having purpose gives us direction. And when you do catch yourself comparing your life to someone else’s highlight reel, having your “why” to lean on helps you stay in your lane.
What is the point of what you do? Why do you do what you do?
- What goals do you have for yourself professionally?
- What goals do you have personally, outside of your career?
- How can you take steps now that push you towards those goals?
Having this type of clarity — knowing your purpose — can also guide your decisionmaking. Maybe one part of what you’re doing doesn’t align with your “why” — so you can focus on something more purposeful and energizing, instead.
Schedule time to show up & to decompress.
Last year, I started running. After Covid hit, it became harder and harder for me to maintain my habit of leaving the house for a run.
Before I knew it, I wasn’t leaving my house to go for a run.
It took two months for me to make the active decision to schedule that time to leave the house and go on a run. After months of playing these mind games with myself, I know that scheduling that time and actually leaving the house is one of the most difficult parts of this task.
And it’s the same with our work. Sometimes, all we need to do is get started.
Schedule time to show up and do the work.
When you feel burnt out, it may feel difficult to even start. But when you do schedule that time to focus and get started, you set yourself up to have a non-zero day.
You might surprise yourself when you make the decision to just sit down and get started.
At the same time, schedule time to decompress. Scheduling time to take a break increases productivity and creativity.
Have you ever experienced some of your best ideas coming to you when you are away from your work? Prioritize your self-care by scheduling time to decompress.
- Keep your laptop off on your days off / weekends
- Make a list of things that bring you joy (eating a delicious meal, going for a walk, reading a book, playing a video game)
- Schedule time to do something that brings you joy daily
Make your life easier: outsource and automate.
What tasks do you drag your feet doing? Are there any tasks you can do that can be automated? It’s possible these tasks, albeit a small part of your day, contribute to your burnout.
Sit down and make a list of things you do every day. Your task list probably has tasks similar to this: check emails, onboard clients, focus on client tasks, make lunch, do business admin, have meetings, write content, debrief, check-in on Slack, do laundry, make dinner, clean the house.
Go through this task list and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this necessary? If it’s not necessary, what’s an alternative?
- Can I automate this? Using a tool like Zapier.
- Can I outsource this? To a virtual assistant, specialist or other contractor.
Here are some examples of things you can outsource or automate:
- Software: Quickbooks, Social Media Scheduling, Client Management software, Zapier, etc.
- Assistant: Proofreading, writing, outreach, email/calendar management, graphic design, etc.
- Home Tasks: Housekeeping, cooking/meals, childcare, dog-walking, etc.
These tasks might take up just an hour of your day — but imagine what your life would look like with an extra hour in your day. What could you do with an extra 5–7 hours per week?
Appreciate the journey.
Feeling burnt out, unmotivated, or down is totally human. Everyone goes through it, even the people whom you admire.
One way you can gain clarity during the hard parts of the journey is to find parts of the journey that you appreciate.
The struggle is a part of the journey, too.
Instead of giving yourself a hard time for feeling burnt out, practice self-empathy. Everyone goes through burnout, including you! And anything you’re feeling is just a part of your journey.
This journey of turning towards yourself to heal burnout will result in more happiness, more productivity, and more money flowing through your life. Even if things don’t get easier, you will be more equipped to tackle them.