We say it all the time, but let's add some context. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by being under constant stress. Many of us experience burnout and don’t recognize it or ignore it. It can happen when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, or unable to meet deadlines constantly. Life can get very overwhelming, especially if we don’t taketime for ourselves to relax and reset.
I want to share some ways that we can continue to be productive and take care of ourselves. It may look different for everyone, but we all have the capacity to push past burnout. This really should be prioritized because we don’t want to slip into depression. We have to do the work to counteract it.
Gratitude can truly transform our perspective on life. I find it is easier to deal with disappointment when I focus on the good things going in my life and have faith in what God has in store for me. I want to encourage you to think about what you are grateful for, even if it isn't aligned with what you want right now. As a believer, “all things work together for my good”. When we are down, it may be harder to lean on God, but that is a really powerful tool to get out of dark spaces. I have learned to fill myself up with things that encourage me and can contradict the negative perspective I may have. For you, this may include listening to some uplifting music, video content, or reading a good book. I personally love starting my day with gospel music and listening to sermons regularly for an uplifting perspective. It’s important to be careful not to fall into a toxic relationship with yourself. We need to give ourselves some grace, always. There’s nothing wrong with knowing that you need a break. It’s more important to be at peace with yourself than to push yourself to extremes that can eventually lead to detriment.
I had a life coach for about a year and a major focal point was moving my body and getting fresh air daily. This really helps and is a good way to gain clarity. It’s easier to maintain when there is a schedule around it. For example, I had a homework assignment to start each day outside. I noticed that my mood and productivity increased. Our bodies respond to how we treat them. I want to commit to treating myself well.
Restoration is essential. Many people don’t prioritize sleep, but I have always needed a lot more than the average person. It has been this way since I was a baby. At this point in my life, I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for getting as much as I need. If I am rested, I will be more productive. We can’t perform well if we don’t give ourselves rest. Give yourself room to get real rest, without beating yourself up for needing it.
We have been in a pandemic that forced us to be isolated, but this may not be the best way to get in a healthier mental space. Isolation during low times can seem more desirable, but it is not the way to get out of that negative downward spiral. Of course we all need some time alone, but to stay there is not good. We need people that love us to help remind us of our value and worthiness. Try to build and rely on a community of people that will uplift you.
I am so happy that the stereotype of therapy is better in the black community than it used to be. We spend time and money taking care of everything in our lives, our minds deserve that too. I started going when I experienced difficult situations in life. I told myself I would keep up with it as a boundary system to prevent myself from experiencing some of the same lows of my past. It works and really helped me. If you have tried and maybe didn’t find the best therapist or feel discouraged, I want to personally encourage you to try again. You deserve it.
My Godmother always told me to fight for my happiness. I never understood what that meant until I experienced true sadness and being stuck there. I truly hope you can take some of these suggestions and apply them to your life. We deserve to be happy and healthy.
Here is my art, hopefully it inspires you to keep pushing forward.