After years of hard work, building your reputation and climbing the career ladder you begin to unravel. As you travel down the spiral of burnout, your confidence and old identity get lost along the way. You wonder if you were ever really doing your job properly in the first place and the overwhelming sense of guilt for not fulfilling your duties is heartbreaking. However, with a little self compassion and the tools I have listed, you can begin to rebuild your confidence and come back stronger than before.
Forgive yourself or others
Whatever the reason for your burnout, it is likely that at some point you have blamed your situation on yourself or others. This is a natural reaction when we are grieving the loss of a career or life as we once knew it, but it is also not a helpful one. Blaming can put us in victim mode and leave us feeling worthless. Try writing a letter of forgiveness to release any negative emotions. Send it, burn it, keep it – do whatever makes you feel good.
Accept where you are
In an attempt to regain control of your circumstances you may find yourself questioning why this has happened to you and start thinking about all the things that you could have done differently. The bargaining approach might make us feel better in the moment, but it keeps us locked in the past. When we can lean into acceptance of our current position, even if it is not where we want to be, we can begin to take our power back.
Find the facts
When we get lost in the spiral of burnout it can feel as if our rose tinted glasses have been removed. All the positives we once saw in ourselves and the world around us have suddenly disappeared, and everything looks grey and bleak. How you see yourself right now is not a reflection of your identity, it is a snapshot in time. Reach out to a loved one or friend and share the thoughts you are having, they will help you to troubleshoot and find the facts.
Take care of yourself
You would not expect your car to run without fuel, but often in burnout mode we expect our bodies to do just that. Take time to care for yourself; stay hydrated, eat nutritious meals and prioritise sleep and rest. Meeting your basic needs to survive, is the first stepping stone to thrive.
Celebrate the little wins
Many individuals reach a point of burnout because they are perfectionists and have a strong inner critic, constantly focusing on everything that they have done wrong or could do better. When is the last time you ever told yourself you did something well? For me the answer was never. Whether you have cooked a healthy meal, cleaned the bathroom or nailed a work project – congratulate yourself. Learning to celebrate the little wins is one of the keys to elevating your self-worth.
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