Sometimes there are topics that continue to resurface in meetings and conversations with clients. The issue of addressing burnout is one such topic.
Recently, I’ve been working more with clients who want to navigate chronic stress and burnout. As such, I get asked how does a person recover from burnout? I can see on the faces of my clients that they would love for me to provide them with a few quick ways to solve the burnout problem. I wish there was a speedy remedy, but the reality is – there is no quick fix.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout is not a problem that is assigned a formal diagnosis. Rather, it is considered a work-related health condition that results from unmanaged chronic stress. Also, once someone experiences burnout, it can take anywhere from between 14 months to two years before they may fully recover.
As highlighted in my previous blog post, burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.
Suggested reading: Leaders Navigating Stress and Burnout
I want you to have the inside track into what I share with my clients about how to recover from burnout.
Here’s one of the core challenges – when someone is experiencing the condition of burnout, they feel a sense of hopelessness where no matter what they do, they no longer feel it will make a difference. They lack the ability to feel in control and experience an emotional fatigue that is overpowering. Given what I’ve just described, asking someone who feels this way to just do more cardio, try Yoga, eat healthier, or get more sleep is like throwing a feather at a brick wall and expecting to make a dint. You’re asking them to do more when they feel hopeless and overloaded.
Let’s not give them more.
Let’s help them to prioritize and reduce what’s already on their plate.
Prioritize and Reduce
At this point, I like to reference the C.I.A. model (What can I CONTROL? What can I Influence? What can I Accept?)
Suggested reading: Building Resilience One Mental Muscle at a Time
When it comes to prioritizing and time management, there is nothing that has stood the test of time better than the work of Stephen R. Covey and his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Not Sure Where to Start?
Simply think about what matter most to you. As Mr. Covey said in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Take five minutes and consider…
- What used to light you up?
- What could you do that you wish you had the time to get back to?
- What would you do if someone waved a magic wand and granted you an extra three hours a day?
- How do you want to be remembered?
Suggested reading: Prioritizing Through Uncertainty
Create a Life Filter
Having clarity about what matters most will help you create a filter that deflects specific requests for your time that no longer align with what you most need in your life.
The more you’re connected to your values – whatever they may be – the more you’ll be able to start feeling a greater sense of control and slowly, yes, slowly, you’ll start saying no to people and situations that do not align with your core beliefs and values.
I’m not saying that this change will be easy either. It will be a process where some days you’ll feel as if that filter didn’t work, but the more you stick with it, the more you’ll find yourself in a place of choice and experience a greater sense of control.
Not sure how to determine your values or what’s most important to you?
Think of someone you respect and admire. It could be a relative, a person in history, a neighbour, a teacher, or a community leader.
Then write down the attributes you like most about that person. This could be a starting place to capture the values you want to live by as well. Once you’ve written down these values, consider how you embody them or would like to do so.
Read my blog post on the topic Consciously Connecting to Your Core Values
And then download the free fillable PDF.
Just Say “NO”
I know that saying no to someone or some obligation might seem frightening and untenable.
I promise you that “No.” can be a complete sentence. When you say “no.” remember that you do not need to “dexify” which is a made-up word to represent describing, explaining, and justifying.
In order to reduce the load that you’re carrying, try saying no to one thing in your day that doesn’t align with those core values you identified. Test it out for a few days and see how you feel. Just imagine what it would be like to get back a few hours in your week that are just for you with no self or other obligation.
Next: reduce your exposure to people that drain your energy.
Suggested Reading: Categorizing People in Your Life.
Let’s pause here and make some space to think and consider trying out these suggestions. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. Email me at [email protected].