Burnout is something that pretty much everybody has to deal with. Whether you can’t face another evening writing that novel you’ve been secretly working on in your spare time, or whether you’re drowning in paperwork at your day job with no end in sight. It’s basically just your brain telling you to give it a rest for a while (we’re not doctors, but we’re pretty sure that’s a good way to describe it) and it’s something you definitely need to listen to. We’ve put together a few tips for how to cope when your brain is simply refusing to co-operate any more.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Burnout happens to everybody, and telling yourself that you’re a failure isn’t going to help. Letting other people tell you that you’re not working hard enough is also going to do more harm than good so try to remove yourself from those, well, arseholes.
If you’re feeling the beginnings of burnout, try something that’s still productive, but different. You might be writing a report, but you could try recording yourself talking instead of actually typing, and then transcribe it later. If you’re doing research, find an artsy way to present your notes. If you start to look at your task in a different way it can help you to figure out whatever has you stuck.
We don’t necessarily mean you have to go out of your way to sit on the floor with a group of people you don’t know and start chanting. However, grabbing a moment to clear your mind and take some deep breaths can actually act a little bit like pressing a ‘reset’ button on burnout. Apps like Headspace are really helpful if you need somebody to talk you through it.
Have a night off
Another way of ‘resetting’ your brain when you’re trying to work through a problem is to go away and have a laugh. It sounds simple, and it is, which makes it great. If you can get away from what you’re doing for an evening, rally a few friends (or a bottle of wine and something good on Netflix – no judgement) and just have a good time, you’ll probably find you’re feeling more refreshed and ready to work in the morning (depending on exactly how much wine ended up being involved).
Of course, these tips are all worth trying, but they don’t replace the more long-term solution of facing up to how much work you have to do and deciding if it’s actually possible. If it’s not, and it’s something you’re doing by choice outside of your normal working hours you need to be realistic about what you can handle, and have a reshuffle if necessary. If you’re struggling to keep up at work, sit your boss down and talk about how to make things more manageable.
But definitely also have a night off and a glass of wine. Because that’s just fun.