Google ‘How do you keep from burning out?’ and in just .50 seconds, you’ll get more than 162 million search results, the first of which is from an executive coach writing for Harvard Business Review.
Post the same question to my personal Facebook account, and in less than 24 hours, you’ll get more than 20 witty, thoughtful, moving comments that reveal how good my friends and family are at taking care of themselves. Mostly.
When I started this month’s Editor Letter, my thoughts turned to the obvious: spring, rebirth, renewal, song pon de replay. Tulips, bunnies, sunshine.
All. I. Want. To. Do. Is. Sleep.
Burnout? You’re soaking in it. How do other people do this? Is everyone else just better at hiding that they’re burned-out husks inside? What gives? So I turned to the font of inspirational wisdom that is Facebook.
Originally, I was going to pose the question just to other women business owners, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Opening the question to the wide and wacky world of everyone I know on FB gave me a much-needed reminder of what life looks like on the other side of a regular paycheck, paid vacation and a boss who isn’t me.
Without further ado, here are insights from my amazing Facebook friends and family. Love and thanks to everyone who responded!
How do you keep from burning out?
Alcohol, obvi: “Wine. Copious amounts of wine.”
Yoga: “Yoga + Have a passion that allows you to be yourself completely.”
The magic of pottery: “Find a passion outside your 9-5 job, something that’s intellectually challenging and totally different. For me, that’s pottery. (It’s total therapy. You need an ugly cat dish?)”
Meditation: “My job began offering meditation classes last month. Boy, was I missing out. I’m a completely different person.“
Steaming: “A little rock climbing followed by some yoga. And I love a great steam, I find it relaxing. It helps me let go of tension and knowing that the steam is pushing toxins out makes me also feel good mentally.”
Boundaries: “Understand your limits and boundaries. Best way to do this is to set manageable daily goals and once you’ve hit them, move onto something else (unrelated to work) that brings you great joy – whether that’s cocktails with an old friend, meditating, or a good workout at the gym.”
Structure: “Stick to your schedules. Making it a priority really try to stop work at my designated stop time, I find motivating throughout the day and rewarding when I’m done. Makes the next day more bearable. Of course, I’m in a deadline-oriented field, so that’s not always possible, but I also work for myself so I control the schedule more than the average bear. And I’ve always been super-compartmentalized so work time is work time and art time is art time and play time is play time. (Of course, bedtime is bedtime and lunch time is lunch time … I recognize that this doesn’t work for everyone.)”
Time management & self care: “Work life balance was always something I was trying to achieve. Since having a kid and getting a job that requires travel and some late hours, I have stopped seeking that. However, I have become incredible at time management (as I think many working parents are) and transparency and boundary setting with work (which has led to some great conversations and even a morning coffee happy hour so those of us on child care pickup could participate in work socializing). We also take self-care seriously in our house: tea, green smoothies, vitamins, herbs, therapy, acupuncture, yoga, daily gratitude time, impromptu dance parties, long walks while the baby naps in the stroller, no phone time, long reads/books, and sleep, glorious sleep.”
Gratitude: “Surgeons, who I work with daily, are in constant danger of suffering burnout with long hours, pressure to stay current, mentoring young surgeons, conducting research, applying for grants and so on. Fighting burnout can be simple: Express gratitude. Celebrate small victories. Take care of your physical being. Find a mentor. Learn time management skills. I could write volumes more.” Editor’s Note: I’m trying to get him to write a book. Stay tuned.
Me time (& treats) in the morning or afternoon: “Carving out time for myself in the morning. Whether it’s meditating, working out, journaling or reading a devotional. I have to have my “me time.”
“Carve out time for yourself every day – even if it’s 30 minutes – to do something that’s just for you. Schedule it, so you can look forward to it during your late aftetnoons (for example), when burnout feels eminent. Take yourself on a date. Buy yourself something that’s not necessary.’ A little treat yo self moment every day.”
Just sayin’ ‘No.’: “I say ‘no’ more often at 50 than I did at 30, and I know better what and who my priorities are. Getting enough sleep regularly is a priority.”
Self love: “Sex! Masturbating! Other non-sexual things but masturbating sure helps!”
Knowing when to hit the reset button: “My only way to cope is to take advantage of the control of my schedule and take time off as needed. And if time off isn’t on the agenda for the day but the day starts to go south, I have the ability to shut ‘er down until tomorrow.”
Getting out: “Change jobs & escape the broken system! I switched from private practice with billable hours to in-house counsel at a nonprofit a few years ago. Best decision ever – even with the huge pay cut.”
Literally, get out: “Move to Australia!”
Misc. others: Live music, movies, venting to friends, vacations & the Google suite.
I hope these are as helpful for y’all as they have been for me! If you’re reading this on the social medias, please feel free to comment with your own tips for beating back the burnout.
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