A good night’s sleep: I try to get eight hours’ sleep every night, so I’m awake and alert and ready to start my day! Sleeping badly just means I can’t focus and, over time, will fall ill.
Working out: This is the most important thing for me to avoid burnout. I run and lift weights, and I occasionally swim. When I’m at the gym, my phone is on airplane mode. It’s brilliant to help clear my head and give me an hour a day to just focus on myself and not on work or anything else. That hour every day translates into a better mood, better health, and a better night’s sleep. Endorphins are a wonderful thing!
After-work activity: I always have something to look forward to at the end of the day.
Whether it’s spending time with friends or family, or a book I can’t wait to get back to, I make sure to have something planned that makes me want to get up from my desk every evening.
Bonus points if it doesn’t involve my laptop or phone.
Minimum notifications: The only notifications on my phone are for calls, WhatsApp, and Todoist, and when I’m doing deep work, I put my phone face down, so I don’t even see those. I don’t have notifications set up for anything else. I have to manually check email, Slack, Notion, Twitter, etc. to see if there’s something for me. On my laptop I have zero notifications. It’s amazing how stress-free I feel when my phone isn’t constantly pinging.
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I consciously take time to socialize and spend time with my partner. Most days, I do my best to turn off around six-ish and focus on being a human.
Also, prioritizing the gym 2-3x a week helps me stay healthy and maintain perspective.
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I'll leave here a list of ideas you can go through that I've also tried and might be of help to you:
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Taking breaks in-between work is key for me. The thing is, that break isn’t something I take to play a game or just sit in my room. It has to be an activity, like taking a walk or a house chore.
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Ever since I had open-heart surgery due to stress, I have had the mantra of ‘hurry is my enemy.’
I must enjoy the kids, take time for family needs and my own needs unless I want to burn out emotionally and physically again.
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I once experienced it, and I’m smarter now.
I knew I had to find work that I would enjoy doing, to stop dreading Monday mornings.
I make sure to sleep well, eat well, get enough exercise —all the things we hear about ad nauseam, but that are crucial to our well-being.
Saturday is my sacred day - no work stuff, not even freelance projects or blogging. And I like to do fun things throughout the week: see a movie, go out to eat, meet up with a friend. Balance is key.
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Such a good question. I'm not sure there's a one-size-fits-all answer for this.
As a small business owner, I'm aware of the tendency to relax a bit when I've got a lot of work commissioned and then go crazy on new business development when things are quiet.
I know this is not the best approach, though, because really I should be drumming up new business when I'm already busy. As an intermittent nomad, when I'm traveling, I always plan to carve out some time purely for work and some time purely for play. It doesn't always work out as planned, though as it can be really hard to switch off. My workflow fluctuates, so I do try to ensure that I give myself time to relax when I can.
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To me, burnout comes when you do the same thing too often and too intensely.
I found the solution in two things that breaks both the frequency and the intensity of what I do that may cause burnout. One of them is making your body physically active. This is different for everybody.
For me, staying physically active involves things that occupy my brain’s active state. This could include things like skiing, ice hockey, basketball, and yoga.
I’ll give an opposite example. I used to swim super early in the mornings. Swimming is an amazing workout, but it becomes very automatic after some time.
For me, swimming is not a kind of activity that drifts my mind to other things than what I was working on. I actually think more about what I was doing, and it takes me back to the overwhelmed state of the work.
The second thing that worked well for me was finding something that was inspiring me. This can be in many different forms. Sometimes, seeing a live performance, reading a biography, or going to an art exhibition can accomplish this. For you, this may look like spending time with inspiring people.
So, find what will get you active and get inspired when you take a break. My long time go-to thing for me is an intense, fast-paced yoga class that resets me.
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Great question. Coming from an agency background, I've felt burnout HARD in the past. When it hits, it HITS, and it can be tough to recover. I truly believe mutual trust (between employee and employer) is the key to avoiding burnout, bitterness, motivation lack, or any other workplace poison.
When I know that I'm trusted and valued to do my job and do it well, that becomes a bigger motivator for me than even money, great benefits, or anything else.
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When I’m feeling burned out, I like to take a walk with my dog. I go offline for an hour, get some fresh air, and then come back to my work. If I’m working from a coffee shop, I’ll leave and go to another one or just head home.
Changing my scenery helps a lot when I start feeling stir crazy.
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