I heard a joke about becoming an entrepreneur: “I quit my 9-5 so that I could work 24/7”. While this is funny, it also touches on the truth very closely. There is always something to do to be productive, and with the ability to work essentially always in our pockets, it can be hard to turn it off.
This is true not only for entrepreneurs. Many people are struggling to turn off work. This can be from the semi-addictive feeling of productivity, striving to live up to the pressure of pleasing others, or simply trying to make enough money for the life you want to live. Whatever the reason, we find it easy to rationalize sending that one email on vacation or taking that call at 10:30 PM.
While it feels helpful to be always ready for work, we must get out of “work mode” at the appropriate times in our life. Always being in “work mode” will break us and cause us to burn out. This will keep us from effectively handling the other responsibilities in our life and cause us to fail at giving the people we encounter the proper attention they deserve.
Furthermore, we should remember that our jobs are not always the sole cause of burnout. There can be other factors in our lives that can weigh us down. If you are on the brink of exhaustion all of the time or you feel like it’s hard to complete easy tasks but are not too busy with work, you could be dealing with one of these non-work stresses causing your burnout. You could also be experiencing a combination of work and non-work stresses.
If you feel like you are on the brink of burnout or already experiencing it, I invite you to reflect on what is causing it. This will help you with solving your problem. Just like realizing that you are allergic to berries allows you to handle your health by avoiding berries, by knowing what is causing you to burn out, you can begin to address the issue.
I have given a list of tools and methods to avoid burnout below. Most of these will help primarily with burnout from work, but I invite you to apply them to other forms of burnout as well. The critical thing to remember is that you are meant for more than living a life of feeling depleted and on edge.
- Change how you think about yourself.Indeed, burnout comes from treating ourselves as less than human. We mistakenly view ourselves as machines that exist only to produce. This misuse of ourselves will break us, just like treating a laptop like a Frisbee would not end well for the laptop. We have a deeper identity and purpose than just simply making money. The first step to avoiding burning out is to remember that you exist for more than just what you produce at work.
- Take one day of rest each week.This is really helpful. We feel like there is not enough time in the week to get everything done, so we can think that we are taking advantage of every day. However, the effects and benefits of taking at least one day off each week far exceed working every day. It relaxes you and rejuvenates your mind and body, giving you more energy and mental strength.
- Care about things that don’t matter.As humans, we need to let go of always being productive. We are not only meant to produce! We are meant to live a whole life filled with joy, peace, and love. Therefore, we need activities, hobbies, and relationships that bring us these, even though they do not serve us in terms of finances or furthering our careers.
We can and should care about things that don’t matter. We should have hobbies like collecting coins or stamps, taking long walks in a beautiful area, building model cars, following a football team, playing a musical instrument, or reading and writing poetry. There is so much out there that does not matter in the grand scheme of things that is very important for our lives.
Caring about what does not matter gives our brain a break. It’s also fun, so it inserts excitement, relaxation, and joy into our lives and helps to relieve stress.
I think of our energy as a big rubber band that can only stretch so far. Caring about things that do not matter allows the rubber band to be reset. It can even give it more elasticity. This will, in turn, let us better handle more stress in our lives.
- Think about things that do not matter.We need to give our brains a break by thinking about things that do not matter. This is different from giving our brains a break by consuming the Internet, TV, movies, and other passive forms of entertainment. These things can be good, but we need to think too.
Use your mind to think about things other than work, things that the world, obsessed with being productive, would say do not matter. It can be one of the things you chose from the last point or something else that interests you. The important thing is that you do it for fun.
- Set limits on thinking about your problems.Finally, a big cause of burnout is the stress that comes from thinking about your problems. This can feel impossible to turn off and will consume your life if you allow it to. I know because I have been there.
If solving a problem is within your control, or you need to plan how you will respond to something, you need to think about it. However, you do not need to let it wreck you.
The trick here is to set limits on when you think about it. For instance, one time, my wife and I were dealing with a significant life change that brought us many moving parts and unknowns to plan for. It was too much to think about at times, so we cut it off. We said, “no more thinking about that today.” We then moved on and started to implement points three and four.
Number four will help you do this because it will take up the space in your mind that you would use for thinking about your problems.
There are many more steps that you can take to help with burnout. I hope that you are already thinking of some. If you have any that you would like to share, please send them our way! You can comment below or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Furthermore, if you would like assistance with dealing with burnout, we can help! At Zenith Ministries, we have been running a successful one-on-one mentorship program where we offer insight, real-life solutions, inner healing, and spiritual guidance to those who need it. Reach out today to receive a free consultation to see how we can help you overcome your struggles and enter the beautiful life you were meant for. You can email us at email@example.com or call/text at 404-333-8978. More info at www.zenithministries.com/mentorship.