Have you ever found that no matter how much you do, it doesn’t seem to be enough? For many of us, the more stress we feel, the harder we work. This is counterproductive—we cannot just work harder to make the stress go away.
And yet, it seems that we are ever more determined to stick with this approach. This strategy is one that comes with a big price. Burnout can damage our health, relationships, and livelihood. Good news is you are not alone, and we can all learn from those who have successfully dealt with stress and burnout. It really is about guiding yourself, to get yourself to a healthy, safe place where you can do your best work and live your best life—even during times of disruption when you are experiencing major change.
If we know that burnout is a problem, why do we continue to push ourselves to the point we experience it? Sometimes we don’t know of any other way. Some of us are workaholics, or type A personalities where we are constantly competing with ourselves or the clock. We just don’t know when to stop. Or we know and resist stopping. So, how do we make ourselves stop prior to experiencing the burnout?
To stop the cycle of working or stressing ourselves to the point of burnout, we must first address why we act this way. By doing so, we start to break down the misconceptions we have that lead to high stress and burnout in the first place.
4 Reasons We Burnout and How to Free Yourself from Them
Here are four of the main reasons we fall into thinking that we can handle more work and the stress. This mindset can be a learned behavior that we adopt early on. I challenge you to embrace a new way of thinking about work.
We don’t fully recognize our options. I have heard this one a lot. In our society, we are accustomed to having information available to us in an instant. And yet, we trust unreliable sources or waste time by not tapping into the wisdom of experts.
We fail to set realistic boundaries. It’s easy to see how this happens. We fill our calendars to the max. We are constantly busy, any free time we have we sacrifice it to the next activity that comes our way rather than protect the time we’ve set aside. Eventually, we never have time set aside. Our calendars are full and we begin to feel the squeeze, the stress creeps in, and overload happens.
We don’t ask for help enough. We know we can accomplish more when we work with others rather than attempting to do all of the work ourselves. Yet we hesitate to ask and keep plugging away, trusting in our own abilities by themselves. Rather than trying to do everything yourself, ask for help and delegate what you can—lean on those who are willing to help you. And reciprocate, be there for others when they need help.
We don’t take better care of ourselves. We know that regular physical activity and rest are good for us. How many times do we choose work or other activities over exercise or rest? Instead, intentionally schedule and preserve the time you’ve set aside for exercise and relaxation. Regular exercise can help you manage stress and prevent future illness. Equally important is ensuring that you receive enough quality sleep each night.
If you are stressed and feeling exhausted, think about what’s really at the root of your challenges. You can save yourself from feeling overwhelmed and position yourself to live a happier life if you approach your challenges from the right perspective.