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Helen HayesHilary

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5 signs of burnout

tokyo-2805508_1920In my last post, I talked about ways you can prepare for social events. I wanted to continue with this theme. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when you’re starting to get burned out (other times it’s pretty obvious). I wanted to share a few things to look for.

1. Easily irritated.
Normally minor annoyances don’t bother me. I usually ignore them. But when I’m getting burned out, my tolerance level is pretty low and I feel like snapping at people.

2. Brain fog.
It feels like there’s a haze over my thoughts. I can’t think clearly and it takes me a long time to process anything. I usually speak slower than normal and can’t always find the words I’m looking for. My sentences will often trail off before I finish them because I’ve forgotten what I want to say. Even small decisions like “what do you want to eat” become difficult. I usually end up zoning out of conversations.

3. Feeling ill.
When I get burned out, I get headaches, sore muscles, fatigue, and nausea. The more burned out I am, the worse it is. But even minor burnout makes me feel unwell.

4. Exhaustion.
As burnout sets in, I start feeling more tired than normal, but it quickly progresses to total body sluggishness and fatigue. Just staying on my feet becomes a difficult task. All I can focus on is moving forward. Conversation becomes impossible.

5. Need to be alone.
When I’m burned out I just want to be alone. I’ll sometimes get panicky or feel trapped if I’m surrounded by people and there’s no immediate escape.

If you’re feeling burned out, and you can’t leave, there are still a few things you can do to help. Take breaks as needed. Take a short walk outside, move to a less crowded area, spend some time in a washroom stall, or plug your headphones in and drown out the surrounding noise. Also, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically too. Get plenty of sleep beforehand, stay hydrated, and eat when you’re hungry. It may not solve the problem, but it can keep it from getting worse.

Do you have any other tips?

5 tips – prep for social events

kyoto-210092_1920.jpgI recently wrote about my busy weekend and my struggles before and during. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. One of my biggest problems was that I didn’t prepare for the weekend like an introvert. I was so focused on finishing all the tasks that I neglected to take care of myself. I assumed I’d have enough energy. Even though I hadn’t taken steps to recharge along the way. I wanted to share a few tips I’ll be using to avoid this problem in the future.

1. Schedule quiet time.
Plan for quiet time both before and after the event. Choose activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating. Write it in the calendar. Then follow through. If you can’t take a large chunk of time, take advantage of small moments of quiet. Some time is always better than none.

2. Embrace the unexpected.
As an introvert, I’m a planner. There’s nothing more satisfying than when a plan works out perfectly. But life is unpredictable and messy. I need to be okay with this. Having a flexible mindset doesn’t make the problems go away. But accepting that things can go wrong helps me to react more positively to changes and difficulties.

3. Mentally prepare.
I know that by going to a social event, I’ll be interacting with people. It will be draining. I try to remind myself that this is a perfectly normal feeling. I’m not weird or strange. I may not experience social events like an extrovert but I can certainly enjoy it my own way.

4. Dress for success.
When I wear something that makes me feel confident, that feeling extends to my interactions with others. I also try to wear something that’s fairly comfortable. When I start getting burned out, my physical sensations are heightened and wearing chafing or tight clothing makes me feel worse.

5. Plan your exit (in advance).
Before you even arrive at the event, set up a rough timeline. Decide what time you’re going to leave and give yourself permission to do so. If the time arrives and you want to stay longer, that’s great. But keep checking in with yourself. Try to leave before burnout sets in. It’s a lot easier to recharge a partially-filled battery than an empty one. Don’t feel guilty for leaving early. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.

Do you have any other tips?

Another busy weekend

japan-2014615_1920This past couple of weeks has been insane. I’ve been in preparation mode for a number of events, activities, and projects. With everything culminating this past weekend. As the deadline approached, I spent every spare moment finishing projects, organizing people, and working out last-minute details. Everything went well and it was a fun weekend. But I failed to get the necessary solitude during crunch time and it made an impact.

As a result, I was really struggling with burnout during the weekend, and especially on Sunday. My roommate and I had social activities on both Friday and Saturday. We then attended a local convention Sunday morning and afternoon. After that, we went out for bowling and dinner with friends. By the end of the night, I was highly irritable, emotional, and incapable of communicating coherently. I sat there miserably while the conversation flowed over me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been that burned out.

It’s Friday now and I’m still in recovery mode. Fortunately, this week has been a lot kinder. I went to dance class on Wednesday which was amazing. Both workouts and dance are great stress-relief outlets for me. I also spent all of Thursday evening relaxing quietly in my room which helped a lot.

I failed to plan for quiet time to recharge as I went through those two weeks. I thought I’d be okay if I just kept pushing myself. But I can’t survive on a filled-up social calendar with no time to recharge. Spring and summer are already looking pretty busy. So I need to be more proactive so I don’t end up burned out again. Lesson learned for sure.

Do you have any plans this weekend?