2020 was a year for the history books, and the pandemic affected us all in more ways than one. As we approach the year anniversary for the last lockdown, you might be feeling some major burnout.
Burnout does not just encompass stress, it’s a condition of emotional and physical exhaustion. You might be forgetful or irritable, or you might be finding it difficult to find the motivation to do anything.
You might not even realise you are experiencing burnout as it often creeps up on you when you’re overstimulated and overwhelmed for a long stretch of time (like everything that has happened since March 2020).
Here are some tips to deal with burnout and to rediscover your motivation:
Listen to Your Body
Many of us are guilty of committing to too much. Agreeing to do people favours or making plans we didn’t want in the first place. This practise is called ‘people pleasing’, and it’s where we put others’ feelings and needs before our own.
If you’re feeling tired, stressed, or even overwhelmed, then learn to put yourself first. If you do not pick a day to relax, your body will pick it for you.
Remember that you are not selfish when you don’t partake in something that doesn’t make you feel good.
Take a Social Vacation
Taking a break from social media is one of those things that sounds a lot easier than it is, but it can be worth it. You’ve seen the ‘What I achieved in 2020’ posts, and fair enough it’s nice to celebrate the small wins, but it doesn’t mean you have to see it.
If your social media channels are full of people who have found their dream career, gone travelling or have met the love of their lives in the middle of a pandemic, then this can leave you feeling irritable and you might start to immediately compare.
If being on social media makes you feel worse, then reduce the time you spend on it. Avoid going on Facebook first thing on a morning, have social free Sundays, or simply reduce your social hours per day.
The last 12 months have been tough. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and make sure you celebrate the small wins. With that in mind, spend more time doing the things that you love and give you inner peace. It could be morning yoga, listening to a mindfulness track, or writing down positive affirmations. Basically, what we’re proposing is a reverse ‘cheat’ day, often we get so busy that we don’t do the things that are good for us. Practising good habits for a short amount of time, like a week, will help you form better habits.
Talk to Someone
You might be struggling for energy right now, but talking to someone about how you feel can be a real game-changer for your mental health. You could talk to a loved one, trusted friend, or even a stranger – talking to someone helps to expel some of your built up tension and can also make you quickly realise that you’re not going through this alone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your burnout with someone close to you, there are always charities such as Anxiety UK (03444 775 774) or CALM (0800 58 58 58) where you can ring and get a friendly ear and some advice.
Reassess and Take Stock
We live in a society where we can think that our achievements define us, whether that’s how much money we make, our grades, or how many friends we have. The truth is, we are more than these external factors, and they do not define our worth as human beings. It can be tough to separate yourself from your achievements, especially if you find it motivating, but it can also enable major burnout. Try not to see yourself through the lens of what you do, and instead focus on the things that people love about you, and reaffirm them every morning.
We don’t know what 2021 has in store, but go easy on yourself and don’t put societal pressures on yourself. You are currently living through unprecedented times and that isn’t easy. Prioritise your wellbeing and spend time doing the small things you love – your goals aren’t going anywhere.