By Vivian Zhang, originally published by Shift Collab
Feeling burnt out? You’re not alone.
Coping with a pandemic can feel overwhelming, exhausting and leave you drained.
Burnout is what happens when you’ve reached your limits mentally, emotionally, and physically. It may appear to show up suddenly after a long week from working long hours or after a sustained work sprint toward a big deadline. Most of us are not strangers to stress and anxiety, however when these moments are sustained we end up in new territories of not being able to feel replenished or as if relief will come soon enough. Especially in a pandemic, where there is a high level of stress being prolonged over a period of time without respite or opportunities to recharge (think being stuck in a space with others who may need something from you).
Simply put, burnout shows up when you’re exhausted due to excessive and prolonged stress. Some signs of burnout include feeling overwhelmed, emotionally drained, lacking energy, empty and unmotivated, and unable to meet your daily demands. You may feel an increase in irritability, notice increased conflict in your relationships, or feel like you want to crawl into your bed and never get out. You feel stuck, exhausted and hopeless.
If it becomes constant, burnout can make you more susceptible to physical and/or mental illness.
I learned the hard way recently that persisting and pushing through while you’re experiencing burnout can cause more damage than I thought (for ex., I couldn’t fulfill my commitments as I had promised, my body felt like it wanted to collapse, I didn’t have any motivation to complete my work, and I had to take more time off than I usually would for a vacation). So, to make sure you’re at your best, take care of yourself with the following tips:
Know your limits. It’s normal to feel stress and anxiety, however it is not normal to feel constantly drained.
Pay attention to your body. What is it saying to you? If you’re feeling tired and drained it might be important to check-in and understand what is going on.
Sleep. Make sure you rest. For the average adult that means at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
Connect with your support network.
Spend time alone.
Say ‘no’. This is to make sure you don’t overextend or overcommit yourself to more than what you’re able to at this moment.
Take time off. If you don’t, soon your body will make you.