If you’ve ever experienced extreme burnout, you know just how frustrating it can be. It’s something that happens to just about everyone at some point and it can be really difficult to get over it.
Over the last year of building my business, I had to go through a really important learning experience about building a business. The most prevalent thing that I had to figure out was how to schedule my time to best fit my schedule and how I work best. [You can read more about this in my post about 2019 Reflection + What I Learned In My First Year In Business.]
When you have a job, there’s already a process in place and you just have to learn it and adjustments are made when necessary. When you are building a business, you have to figure all of that out on your own. Especially if you are building your own business and just starting out, it’s most likely just YOU. A one woman/man show. Which is a very wonderful thing because you get to be in complete control of the business and build it exactly how you want.
But, it also means that you are to figure everything out by yourself. Figure out how to do everything, when to do everything. The best process that makes the most sense and works FOR you, in your favor.
What I learned is that you have no idea what you don’t know. You have to go through a learning/trial & error time period before the puzzle pieces start coming together. After the first year of my business, I definitely understand how a lot of people decide to stop pursuing their business because it can be incredibly mentally draining. You don’t know what you’re doing. You keep standing up, just to get knocked back down again. You question whether you have what it takes. You take on the wrong clients. Money isn’t flowing in like you wanted it to. You start feeling discouraged and maybe a bit burnt out.
You feel like you’re constantly shouting into the abyss, working way more than you have before and not getting very far. After you try so hard for so long with no system or understanding of what to do, it gets tiring, frustrating & overwhelming.
I’m learning that starting a business is a mental test.
It’s extremely hard and exhausting at first, but if you keep standing up, the pieces start falling into place. For me, I ended up falling into a really extreme burnout. I started despising my work. I had a hard time just getting myself to figure out what I needed to do when I sat at my desk in the morning. I was constantly exhausted and felt like I just needed to lay around all day.
It’s confusing and it’s hard. I’ve had to experience so many mental breakdowns. Moments of frustration because I just wanted to figure this out so I can finally get my career going. There were so many times when I just sat there and thought that maybe I didn’t have what it took to run a business and be successful like I thought I was capable of.
After dealing with what I describe as an extreme level of burnout for about 6 months, I can finally say that I have finally found myself climbing out of the dark whole that I accidentally worked myself into. It took lots of hard work. Lots of trusting the process. Lots of making myself stand back up even though I just wanted to stay down at times because it was easier… and less disappointing.
I know lots of people deal with burnout at some point and I know just how frustrating and exhausting it can be. I know my example I just talked about was about building a business, but burnout can happen to anyone at any time. No matter what situation you are getting burnt out from, all you want to do is feel excited and energized about what you are doing, but all you feel is exhausted and don’t feel like doing a thing. You want to get it figured out, but can’t seem to figure out how.
I wanted to share my tips about how I dealt with major burnout and how I managed to keep myself going, even though I really wanted to throw in the towel at times.
give yourself A BREAK
My number one tip is absolutely, without a doubt, TAKE A BREAK. When I say take a break, I mean give yourself a real break. I spent months trying to just lay down and give my body a rest, but I wasn’t giving my mind a rest. Meaning, I while I was laying there, I was still thinking about everything I still needed to do & trying to come up with a plan to get those things done. I would find myself scrolling on Pinterest trying to find helpful advice & get the inspiration I was so desperately looking for.
I was doing this pretty much everyday for several months, everyday getting more and more frustrated because I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was feeling an active resistance in my mind, just couldn’t focus on ANYTHING. Which was even more frustrating because I felt like I had so much to do and I was so deep in a mental funk that I couldn’t even figure out how to be productive.
It wasn’t until my business coach told me to take 3 FULL DAYS rest to do nothing. Clear my plate for 3 FULL DAYS and let myself [especially my mind] rest. The thought of taking 3 full days can be a really daunting thought at first. I thought there was no way I can take off 3 days because I have SO MUCH to do! I take about this more in 5 Steps For Getting Back On Track & Shifting Your Mindset!
But, it was either take the break, or let myself struggle with burnout & being productive. So, I took the break. I had to tell myself that this is what I needed to reset because what I had been doing thus far just wasn’t working. Sometimes, you just need to allow yourself to surrender and trust that this will work. I had to convince myself that what I was currently doing obviously wasn’t working & I HAD to try something different.
It did work. I came out of the 3 day break just feeling so much lighter and calm. My energy started coming back and I could just feel the difference. I am so happy I decided to trust that it would work because I would still be in that mental funk if I didn’t.
Take the break, friends. Like, a real break. It can be the best thing you do for yourself [& your business if applicable!].
Are you trying to do too much?
The answer is probably: YES! Holy moly, I was trying to do too much at once, it’s no wonder I started feeling burnt out when I looked back at everything I was trying to do. It’s really important that you take a step back and really think about all that you are doing and trying to do and if it’s really worth your time & effort at the moment.
However, I’m glad that I was trying to do a little bit of everything because I was able to figure out where I really wanted to focus most of my time. Everyone always tells you not to try to do too much at a time, which I agree because you simply can’t. But, if you find yourself getting overwhelmed, make sure you take a step back and really figure out what is worth your time at the moment and what can take a back burner.
Being able to identify the things that overwhelm you the most will be helpful in figuring out what you can hold off on at the moment. It’s OK to not do everything at once! This was also where I found it helpful to hire a business coach, because she was able to help me identify where I should be focusing my time and would give me the OK to hold off on some other things.
When you give yourself permission to let go of some things, you are letting your mind focus on ONLY the things that are really important at the moment. Trying to do too much is just exhausting.
JOURNAL & journal some more!
Am I sounding like a broken record yet? If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I’m a HUGE fan of journaling! I’ve mentioned journaling so many times in my most recent posts and you’re probably like, “OK Jess, we get it! You think journaling is great.”
I’m just saying… Maybe if I keep talking about it, you’ll start believing me! I just think that journaling about what’s going on can really help with getting everything that is bothering you out of your subconscious and onto paper can be incredibly powerful. This is one of my favorite things to do to start my work day because it helps me get some kind of clarity. It helps me understand what is going on in my mind and what I am struggling with that particular day. It also helps track progress and notice patterns.
TALK ABOUT IT
In addition to writing about what’s going on, I also find that talking to someone helps as well. This doesn’t have to be in a therapy session, it can be a friend or anyone who you trust with what is going on at the moment. I’ve noticed that there’s certain people that are easier to talk to about certain things. But, just talking to someone about what’s going on can make a HUGE difference.
Not to mention, they can help you see more clearly. Some things that might be foggy to you, might help getting some outside perspective. There are just some things that are helpful to seek help from and this is definitely one of those things.
move your body/EXERCISE
I think everyone can agree that you feel so much better after getting in a good, sweaty workout. Even though you feel like just sitting on the couch all day doing nothing, just getting up and getting your sweat on can help turn your mood around.
I have been going to the gym first thing in the morning on weekdays for a year and a half now and it has been a game changer for me! You can check out my blog post on How/Why I Go To The Gym At 5AM & My Fitness Journey | Choosing Yourself First. Going to the gym early has ultimately helped my mental health, helped me stay on track with my workouts and has become my non-negotiable. Some of my best workouts have happened when I felt like I didn’t want to workout.
However, I do agree with giving your body a physical rest if that’s what you feel like you need. As long as you don’t continue to stay there. Give yourself a rest from the gym and get right back into it. I personally did this a couple times and I think this is also a good idea if you feel that’s what you need. Definitely listen to your body!
Seek inspiration, where ever it may be
For me, I get inspired by reading into and watching other women do what I want to be doing. I love to watch YouTube videos and even insta-creep. There’s something about seeing others killin it that gives me inspiration to keep going.
Try not to get too consumed by social media! There is such thing as too much of a good thing. If you find yourself going down a rabbit hole and not getting much benefit, it might be a good idea to turn it off.
This might not work for everyone! But, this is something that works for me. Maybe you find inspiration in other ways?? If you do, maybe try exploring that and see if it helps you at all!
Read a good book
I have also been talking about reading a lot lately. I’ve been talking about it a lot, because it really has helped me a lot. I’m not usually one to enjoy reading, but I have found reading to be very helpful when I was going through burnout.
I remember feeling desperate to find answers. I actually craved reading, which was odd for me, because I usually don’t like reading. But, I ordered some books and I started feeling myself get motivated.
I would give myself time to myself, away from social media, away from work to just read for 30 minutes to an hour. I was hooked and I started feeling better. But, you have to be consistent with it.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Trust me when I say I understand how frustrating burnout can be. I was struggling with burnout for what felt like 6 months and I just couldn’t seem to pull myself together.
For me, giving myself a break and taking a step back from everything is what really helped bring myself back together. When I’m in a constant state of chaos and overwhelm, it’s hard to do just about anything & I think that’s true for a lot of people.
Just know that you are not the only one going through this and you are going to come out on the other side stronger and more knowledgabale than you were before! These times can be seen as a great learning experience and opportunity for growth. Coming out, you will have a better understanding of yourself and know more about what to do and not to do in the future!