I Hit A Stage Of Burnout
Welcome to this post, “I Hit A Stage Of Burnout”!
This post is going to be a little different than most of our posts. It is going to be more of a personal reflection of my life. There won’t be any advice for you readers. No tips or things I suggest. Just me and things I am struggling with.
You see a little over a month ago I wrote this post called, “How I Budget My Time As A College Student“, and at the time life was great. I was about a month into college. Everything was still so new and unfamiliar. I was just starting to figure out what I wanted to get involved in and how I would make it all work.
To be honest, I thought I had it all figured out. I knew when I had to be where, I had time blocked out to work on each area of my life, and I had a to-do list system that was functioning perfectly. Time was flying by. All the days, weeks, and months blurred together. I had never felt so busy in my life.
Through all of this time, I felt like I was crushing life. To be fair, I was. From the outside it probably doesn’t look like anything changed, but from the inside I’m seeing things from a new perspective.
It feels like everything caught up with me. The sleep deprivation, the lack of down time, and the constant social pressure hit me all at once. My life had been just moving a million miles a minute. Then, all of the sudden it felt like everything just came to a screeching halt.
How I Became Burned Out
Burnout: “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration” – Merriam Webster.
I think it hit me for the first time about a week ago. But, before I explain what happened, let me explain how I got here.
After my trip home in the middle of October, I was crazy busy trying to get back and in the groove of things. I knew I would have exactly 30 days from when I got back to when I would leave again and I wanted to make the most of it. I had the vision of setting crazy goals and really just crushing life for these 30 days.
But, I struggled to set these ambitious goals. I’m not sure why but I just wasn’t really in the mindset for goal setting. Instead, I decided that it was smarter to just take things a week at a time. I decided that I would set goals each week that would align with the next steps I needed to take for each one of my businesses. I still stand by this decision and think it was the right move.
I’m thankful that I chose to not get too ambitious because the next week ended up being quite the test. I don’t know about you, but there seems to be some weeks where you’re crazy busy. I’m talking about when all of your school assignments, business work, and other meetings align on the exact same week.
I remember feeling extremely overwhelmed, stressed, and slightly burned out with all that was going on. But, I preserved because I had to. There was no other choice than to get these things done. I knew I just had to buckle up and get my work done because I had deadlines to meet.
So, I got through the deadlines and then was left with all of the work that didn’t have deadlines. All of the things that I should do, but don’t necessarily have to. It was these things that I started to procrastinate with and defaulted to other activities. This was right around Halloween weekend which was a very social weekend. I spent nearly every night with friends for almost a week straight.
While all of this was a blast and something that I wouldn’t trade for the world, I grew weary of it. I realized that I spent slightly too much time with the same friends (or just people in general). I was ready to be anti-social and go back to my introverted self.
Which brings me to this week. Finally, things started to slow down. It felt like a bomb had gone off in my life and it was now time to pick up the pieces (both literally and figurately). No, a bomb hadn’t actually gone off, but my room was literally trashed after the crazy Halloween weekend.
While I still ended up having an okay week, it didn’t go as planned. Yes, I got my room cleaned up and my life reset. I still went to all my classes and meetings. And I still spent a decent amount of time being productive. But, looking back now it was definitely an off week. Things just didn’t feel right and now I think I know why.
Yesterday was a perfect representation of how my week went. I woke up with the intention of having a crazy productive day. I had a few meetings planned to work on some really big goals of mine. While I went to each of the meetings and they all went well, I was no where close to accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish. Towards the end of the day I was just feeling like I had hit a wall with each of the projects I was working on.
Finally, that brings me to today. I knew I had no obligations or anything going on today so I figured it was the prime opportunity to rest and recover. After weeks of hardly any sleep, I slept in late and got more than 8 hours of sleep. I played some video games with my brother. I gave myself permission to lie around in bed all day, take naps, and be on my phone. While it felt really unproductive and not like myself, I think a day like today was really necessary. I hadn’t done anything quite like this since coming to college.
Changes I’m Making Going Forward
I’ve noticed that in the last few months I’ve had more and more of these “off” days. I seem to alternate between a few days of being really productive and then a day or two of being more lazy, unmotivated, and unproductive. It’s like I can only push myself so far before things catch up with me. I don’t know whether I do this intentionally or not, but it is a reality nonetheless.
Going forward, I think my focus needs to be on sustainability. I’m growing an increasing awareness for how important sustainability is in all aspects of life. I would rather have more balanced days where I have a mix of productivity and free time than entire days of one or the other. I want to start being better about having some free time each and every day rather than forcing myself to be productive for the entire day.
I’ve noticed that my tendency is to either mark the entire day a success or failure based on how the day starts. If I start the day productive, I want to spend the whole day being productive. If I start the day unproductively, I usually don’t feel like doing anything else the rest of the day. Ideally, I lose this mindset and start to take things minute by minute and hour by hour.
The last few months have been rather unsustainable which has had several negative side effects. I’ve had to sacrifice important things like sleep, workouts, social events, functionality, and my general wellbeing. While I’m happy about all the progress I made, it is never worth sacrificing these things in my opinion.
I’m trying to be better about recognizing my energy cycles throughout the day. I’m taking advantage of times when I feel productive, times when I feel creative, and times when I feel social. When I’m not feeling this way, I try to pick up on it and not force myself to do anything that I don’t want to do. I’ve been trying to embrace more free time and power naps throughout the day as well.
The last few months have made me realize that sometimes you just need to buckle up and get through whatever you are going through. You can’t change the deadlines you have, the things you need to do, or the unexpected things that come up. You can however change how you show up each and every day. I know for a fact that I’ve given it my all every day since being here.
That said, everyone needs rest to. Without time to slow down and recover, any lifestyle is unsustainable. I’ve felt myself reach a breaking point the last few weeks and knew that I needed to give myself some time to relax. Now that I got through what I needed to, I know that I can slow it down and be okay.
My main focus right now is slowing down. I’m feeling called to take a breather, give myself some time to recover, and really soak up what life has to offer right now. I don’t plan to change anything I’m working on, but more so how I go about working on things. I’m realizing I don’t need to be so ambitious and feel the need to go so fast. The only way I see myself overcoming this burnout is by giving myself some time to recover.
I’m grateful for everything going on in my life right now. Each day I’m continuing to have a better understanding of myself, how I operate, and how I succeed. I’m loving everything I am involved in at the moment and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the years to come.
That’s it for this post! I hope you found something valuable in this that you can translate to your own life. Also, please feel free to share any comments, questions, or advice in the comments down below. I’m genuinely interested in hearing what you all have to say about this subject! Until next time, take care!
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