J. WRITES: With back to school upon us and the stress of so many time-consuming tasks, how do I manage my schedule well and avoid burnout?
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Hey! I copy/pasted from an article that I read the other day!
“The Confessons of a Burnout Junkie (and How Not to Become One).
My cursor maintained its steady rhythm while I sat and stared at the blank document on my computer.
And in that moment, I finally admitted what I had been denying for weeks.
The warning signs had appeared—inability to focus, lack of excitement, feeling like a failure, my normal Pollyanna attitude turned to dark cynicism—but I had pushed through, telling myself it would be different this time.
But I couldn’t deny it any longer.
I was burned out. Again.
I felt like a failure. I had allowed myself to get burned out for probably the 10th time in 4 years.
You see, I’m a burnout junkie.
I push myself hard and attempt to do ALL THE THINGS. I succeed for a while. But after a few weeks or months, the tell-tale signs of burnout show up.
But rather than fix the problem, I ignore the warning signals and press on, thinking this time will be different.
You’ve probably heard that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
That about sums me up. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Burnout is real and is very common for college students who have a lot on their plate. It can be tempting to just muscle your way through it, especially when you feel like you have no other option.
But speaking from more experience than I’d like to have, that’s not the best way to go about it.
So, for both you and myself, I put together this Burnout Guide of how to avoid burnout, the warning signs, and how to recover.
How to avoid burnout
The best way to recover from burnout is obviously to not get burned out in the first place. Novel thought, right? What are the best ways to do that?
I know. Relaxing is a lot easier said than done. There’s a never-ending list of things to do, people to be with, problems to solve, and things to accomplish. But scheduling time to relax is just as important as scheduling time to study, go to work, or anything else in your busy life.
And “relaxing” doesn’t necessarily mean “veg in front of the TV” (in fact, that may not relax you at all). Take the time to think about what actually relaxes you—reading, painting, a bubble bath, playing a game, talking with a friend, going on a walk—and do that.
And don’t feel guilty about it! It’s okay to take time to recharge your batteries. You weren’t created to be “on” and producing all day, every day.
We all know we should eat well, but usually we think of it in terms of “I don’t want to get fat,” and not “I want to do what’s best for my brain, hormones, and emotions.” And while the old adage “you are what you eat” isn’t entirely true (I can already hear all the dad jokes about turning into a chicken when you eat a chicken), what you eat does impact more than your waistline.
Take your vitamins, eat your veggies, and slow down on the pizza. You’ll thank yourself later.
You know how you always feel better about a problem after sleeping on it? You just don’t think clearly when you’re tired. That’s why sleep is vitally important to preventing burnout.
And if you’re too busy to sleep, that’s a huge warning sign that you’re probably doing too much. Cut out some things and take care of yourself! Your body was created to need sleep.
Know what energizes you.
Not only do you need to know what relaxes you, you also need to know what energizes you. Make a list to consult when you need it. Otherwise you’ll spend hours letting Netflix autoplay do its thing and not actually feel better afterwards.
Do you feel like you can do anything after you go on a hike? Write that down! Does talking to your best friend/coach/accountability partner keep you going? Add it to the list. Are you inspired and excited about life when you have a canvas and paint at your fingertips? Put it on there.”
That’s basically the first part of the article. Another thing I would do, is just take time out of the day to read you Bible and pray. It always helps me!
Also, (sorry for the super long post) I make an easy-to-follow schedule that I try to follow every day. I make sure there are some 10 minute breaks in between hours of study, etc.
Thank you so much for posting this article! It really encouraged me because this is something I struggle with. 🙂 Thank you.
I enjoyed it too! Thanks (:
LOL, I hear Brett smiling. I’ve only heard him say this at least ten times… Great post Emma!
Hmm, I tend to burnout really quickly but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. It’s okay to be tired, just make sure you’re pouring your energy into things that matter. And don’t let the business or exhaustion make you neglect the Word or the church, which is where you’ll find rest and encouragement to keep going. Hope this helps!
Sometimes I find myself taking life way to seriously, which always causes me to be frazzled and burned out. I have to step back, take a deep breath, and remind myself that my life isn’t going to fall apart if I don’t get every single thing done.
I am currently suffering from burn out, and I think its because I am a huge over achiever. Along with that, i take things way to seriously (like Aubrey French, read her post, its gooood) Sit down and prioritize. What are the most important things? For me that was time with God, sleep and school. Maybe you have to cut out sports or extracurricular activities until you are recovered and have your schedule mastered. Remember, you are far from perfect and you cannot expect yourself to preform at your best when your health (spiritually, emotionally and physically) is in bad shape.
If you’re able to, I highly recommend reading “Crazy Busy” by Kevin DeYoung. Very short book – maybe 100 pages – but extremely helpful!
I can definitely sympathize with you though. I work a fulltime and a parttime job; I teach Sunday Sunday, sing with my church’s music group, and help run the video slides for services at church; I’m quite involved with various friends and old coworkers for encouragement and helping them learn to deal with anxiety and depression; learning sign language; and living on my own. Needless to say, I’m still working on figuring out not to burn out again like I did 3 years ago, but God is slowly helping me to know what I need to continue and what I need to stop.
But yeah, definitely read that book – I’m going to reread it again as well 🙂
I forgot to mention this earlier, but Brett gives helpful advice about avoiding burnout in Do Hard Things University.
When experiencing burn out I try to step back and remember what’s most important. The most important thing is the gospel and sharing it, everything else is secondary to that.
This year I’m trying to learn to say no. I tend to glorify being busy; I also tend to love helping people, which is great, except I don’t always prioritize. I generally say yes to everything and then regretting it later, but still having to follow through. So I’ve been praying about prioritizing and that God would show me what is the most important, and what I really need to focus on at this time in my life.