The last several months have been on quite a journey. One thing we all share in common right now is that “we are grappling with…” What we each grapple with on a daily basis differs – for some, it’s about children at home; for some, it’s about aging or struggling family members; and for others, it’s about unemployment or overwork. Whatever the struggle(s) we face, the grappling part is a common experience we all share, one that perpetuates ongoing, underlying stress.
It’s natural that during this time we may be feeling a range of emotions and experiencing some degree of burnout – physical exhaustion and the belief that things will not get better.
As we look to the fall, many with children heading back to school and a growing list of unknowns, I want to share with you a few tips and resources that may be helpful to you.
3 Tips to Reduce Burnout Through Inspiration Practice:
1. Get moving.
One of the keys to reducing fatigue and burnout is staying active. While this may seem obvious, it can be especially challenging right now. Be creative in finding opportunities for movement: take walking meetings on Zoom (encourage colleagues to do the same), walk while talking on the phone with a friend, download a fitness App that has 2-5 minute workouts and do a few throughout the day. Be strategic about getting active during the times of day when you are likely to struggle the most. If it boosts your mood to combine the activity or walk with a friend, music, or a podcast, get creative and add them in!
2. Make Time for Connection.
Part of burnout includes cynicism, the belief that people are motivated by self-interest rather than care for others. Activate your hope in humanity by connecting with people who care deeply about you – this may be family members, community members, spiritual leaders, friends or caring colleagues. Consider ways to connect creatively – like, cook a dinner and eat together over video, use an App like HouseParty to make the conversation more interactive, or combine with the first tip and take a walk together!
3. Create Mental Space (and Rest).
Another part of burnout is mental fatigue, which leads to a belief that you can’t create change or achieve goals. The technical term is “lack of self-efficacy,” and it’s very discouraging. Rather than pushing yourself even harder to get things done, give yourself some mental space and rest. We have found that unstructured time, essentially giving your brain a sabbatical for an hour or more, is a powerful way to reduce mental fatigue and even spark inspiration. To create unstructured time, carve out a period of time where you are off the grid and not actively trying to solve any problems or achieve goals. Instead, take a walk, sit and let your mind wander, listen to music, read for pleasure, or simply do nothing at all.
- 5 Simple Habits To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing When You Feel Stuck from Well + Good Magazine
- Intentionally Resetting to Fight Workplace Stress from The Economist
- Five-Minute Coronavirus Resets from The New York Times
- 6 causes of burnout and how to avoid them from Harvard Business Review
Taking time for activity, connection, and mental space requires… well, time and space. So I ask you to consider: what’s something you can say no to that will create more space for you?
By making some of these small shifts, perhaps we can begin to shift “grappling with…” to “thriving through…”