Our bodies are like phones. We ask a lot of our phones and rely heavily on them. They are what we rely on for much of our communication. We depend on them to store the information we get and need as we move through our day-to-day lives. They hold a lot. It is only natural that we need to recharge our phones daily, reset them, and update their software in order for them to function. These internal batteries can be depleted and need recharging. We often live in fear that something will happen to our phones, so we try to treat them with respect and care so they can work how we need them to. Whether we like our bodies or not, it is crucial that we treat them with respect. When we feel our batteries depleted, our bodies are saying, “Please recharge me.” When it comes to managing burnout, here are 6 tips for recharging your depleted battery: 

Know your signals of burnout

Familiarize yourself with the signs and signals that you are burnt out. Note specific aspects of this particular emotional experienced. Ask yourself when you feel depleted, how does my body feel? What are the physical symptoms of burnout for me? What do my thoughts tend to look and feel like when I am in this state? How do I act when I feel this way? How do I perceive myself and the world when I feel this way? Are there any triggers leading to this experience? 

Keep track and identify patterns

We may not have a charger symbol in the corner of our bodies to indicate our power levels, but that does not mean we cannot track our energy levels and body cues throughout the day. Take note of the signals identified above. If we can get good at understanding our body’s signs and signals, then will be able to manage them better. Awareness is power. Collecting this data will illuminate patterns that can help you alter and adjust your behaviors and self-care as needed to help you manage your burnout. 

Check-in with your body

Find moments each day to check in your body. We live in a society that struggles with chronic productivity. People are constantly overriding their bodies needs in order to get their tasks and to-do lists done. Make it a point each day to check in with your charge several times. Notice your energy levels. Notice your feelings. Familiarize yourself with what it feels like to be at different charge levels. 

Identify “micro-shifts” for recharging

Lets face it, we do not always have the time to charge our phones to full. However, some mini charges throughout the day can prevent our phones from getting to low power mode and powering off. Being in tune with your power levels throughout can help you gain insight into when you need a bit of a reset or charge to power you through the rest of the day in a more mindful and helpful way. I have been talking a lot about “micro shifts” or little changes you can make throughout the day to help you reset your system.

Simple things like going for a quick walk, getting fresh air, going to another room to have lunch, or 30 seconds of deep breathing. Micro-shifts can also look like finding small ways to do less. Maybe delegating a task that does not need to be completed by you. Maybe this looks like lightening up your schedule in any small way where you can. These small micro-shifts may not feel like much but they add up and are the big changes over time and maybe the very way you keep yourself from needing a large break from your day-to-day in order to feel engaged. 

Cope Ahead Plan

Being aware of triggers is the best way to anticipate future triggers. Awareness of patterns over time can be great information for how to cope with situations in the future. These emotional situations can be anything, i.e. maybe be occur at a certain time of year, particular social events, work-related events or scenarios that lead to burnout. Ask yourself what has been helpful for coping historically? What aspects of this experience have been difficult to cope with? What skills and support can I use to help myself be proactive (without catastrophizing) to prevent burning out? 

Identify ways Ways of decompressing

Burnout is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is not your fault. And that does not mean we are helpless and cannot better manage it by shifting our mindset and behaviors. Often times we are in environments that require us to operate in fight/flight, which inevitably leads us to feel burnt out and disconnected over time. It is a natural part of life and something we sometimes need to accept.

Navigate how your body recharges and comes back to the present when you fall into this extreme. Are you putting your basic needs first? Are there boundaries that need to be implemented in your life? Is there a particular self-care activity that you need to prioritize or make time for? Is this a good time to schedule with your therapist if you have not? Do we need to plan something to look forward to in order to help reboot our minds? 

Burnout happens. My hope is this blog will help you feel better able to prevent burnout, manage situations that tend to trigger burnout with more intentionality and find ways of managing burnout when it inevitably arises. If your burnout feels unmanageable consider getting some extra support in managing it through psychotherapy.

Article by Dani Parmacek, LCPC, R-DMT

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