It's all fun and games until you burn out completely.
You know the feeling.
You’ve been CRUSHING it lately.
Work deadlines, crushed. Kids to activities. crushed. Meal planning and prep, crushed. You even remembered to get birthday cards out to the nieces and nephews this month.
You’re on top of the freaking world!
And then … one day … all of those systematic wins that felt like they were on auto pilot … they’re an absolute drudge.
What happened to that full head of steam? What happened to the willingness to even care?
You, my friend, may be experiencing burn out.
More than just a cyclical up and down, burnout is a sign that you’ve been doing too much for too long. If you don’t deal with it soon it can easily turn into a full blown depressive state.
It’s so easy to do. We’re busy go-getters with big ideas and strong passions! It all feels equally important and in a very real way it all energizes us. Until it doesn’t. And that’s ok.
The important thing to know is that you haven’t done anything “wrong” necessarily. But you definitely want to redirect some of that passion toward some different, more inward needs that you may have ASAP.
The earlier you spot these 6 signs of burn-out, the better.
1. Sudden dietary changes.
If you’re putting down the donut and coffee as you read this, then you may already get it. Junk food cravings — sugar, simple carbs, fatty foods — and a “need” for caffeine are one of my own first warning signs that burnout is nigh.
Your body is in need of a quick, energetic fix. Your mind doesn’t help when it’s asking for comfort foods as a reward for working overtime.
2. Unexplained sense of boredom.
Everything you’ve loved and worked so hard for suddenly seems burdensome. Deep down, you do still want that brass ring, and you know that getting it is worth the struggle.
But somehow you can’t seem to muster the will to take your next steps.
3. Decreased sex drive.
It kind of goes without saying but if you don’t have anything left for yourself, you sure as heck don’t have anything left for your partner.
4. Short(er) fuse.
The smallest annoyance seems huge. If you've been asking yourself question, “What is wrong with me? That normally wouldn’t bother me,” that's a sure sign that you’ve run your battery low.
5. Sleep changes.
Need more sleep? Can’t sleep? Surprisingly, both of those are signs that your body and mind are exhausted and out of whack.
6. Lack of focus.
You have the to-do list right in front of you and still have a feeling that you’re not sure what comes next. Hint: it’s because what’s next isn’t even on the list.
Next, if one or more of the above sets off a warning bell of recognition, follow these 6 steps to make sure you head off burnout at the pass.
1. Take a break (or at least a lot of little ones).
Be honest — you’d tell your BFF to do the same thing. If you need a break take one. If you can only fit in 5-10 minutes at a time, savor those minutes with intentionality.
Ask your body, mind and spirit what it wants, and then provide it. A mindless round of Candy Crush isn’t going to cut it.
No amount of rest will help if you’re not tending to your true inner needs.
2. Let go (at least a little).
Loosen the timeline. Schedule time for yourself. Delegate. Everything is only all on you if you make it that way. The relentless pursuit of perfection simply is not sustainable.
Let "Progress, not perfection" be your new mantra.
Healthy boundaries garner respect and model to how others how you expect to be treated. Sit down with your calendar and your job description with your personal and professional goals in mind. Decide what balance looks like and then lay out your expectations to your boss, your coworkers and even yourself. Draw that line in the sand and stick to it.
You’ll be surprised at how many people step up — and those who don't make room for the kind of people who will.
4. Identify patterns.
Is there a trigger? Are you still feeling connected to the people most important to you, such as your partner? Often when we’re operating with a full head of steam we go on auto-pilot mode and lose some of the habits that fueled our productivity in the first place.
Check in with yourself. Make sure you’re building success consciously and in balance.
5. Give credit where credit is due.
If you had someone keeping track of everything that DOES get accomplished in a day (even a day you know you slacked off) you’d be stunned at the miracles you pull off.
Give yourself credit for your accomplishments! Not only is self-credit fuel for your battery, it’s proof that on the days you really need a break, you’ve more than earned it.
6. Recognize the cycle.
Every growth season has a dormant season, and that’s ok. Fighting against your peak-and-valley cycle will only delay the inevitable. The struggle against your natural cycle robs you of the chance for self-care and self-advocacy.
If you really want to shorten your recuperation time, you need to actually take recuperation time.
Remember — what we resist, persists.
The more you fight burnout, the faster you’ll get there.
The key is to have compassion for yourself and your cycles, and to understand no one phase will last forever.
Triffany Hammond dreams of a world where we all love ourselves again. She creates and delivers content that helps strong women realize their dream of creating both success AND happiness in their lives. Get started by downloading "The Squeeze."