When it comes to burnout, we don’t have a choice but to stop. The mind breaks down, and the body shuts down. There are a lot of things you can do to recover from burnout, but it’s important to know how and when to do it. We will guide you through a process that will help you to get back on your feet, and make the recovery last.
Should you follow this process?
If you suffer from burnout or you feel you’re moving towards one, this process will show you how to take care of yourself. If you are suffering from serious or long-lasting symptoms, these steps may not be enough and it would be beneficial to visit a doctor.
How does the recovery from burnout work?
Recovery from burnout is not something you overcome or fix. Recovery is a process of change. This means you have to be patient and take step by step. It took you months, years or even decades to develop habits that slowly worn you down, so you need to take all the time that you need to rethink them and develop new priorities, habits, and patterns in your everyday functioning.
As you will learn new self-care skills, you will gradually start to feel better. But, it’s really important and crucial to also prepare for setbacks. Recovery is not linear progress, so expect ups and downs and possible long periods of flat lines without progress. If you feel frustrated by these periods and downs, remember that they are a sign of your body and mind healing.
Think of recovery as building a house of cards. With new skills, you get new cards, and the house is getting bigger. When you fall down, the house may damage or break down, but this doesn’t mean you’re at the beginning. This time you already have the cards, which will make house building way faster and easier.
Now let’s take a look at how to take control of your healing process.
1. Make changes
Most experts will tell you to change what’s stressing you: look into your relationships, think about changing your job, take care of your body more, start living healthier, etc. This is all good advice, but this will only work if you take on two things most people don’t think of: how to do it and when to do it.
How to make changes? One at the time! If you are going to leave your job, break up with your partner, change your diet drastically and start to exercise heavily, you will put even more stress on yourself. Good changes are also stressful and it’s important to take it slow. Start with the one change you feel you will make it the easiest.
When to make changes? Start making changes when you get a few days or even weeks of rest! When you feel strong enough, make a change. And when you feel you are mastering a new habit, only then move to another.
2. Talk to someone
When you feel powerless, exhausted, depressed and anxious, it’s always a good idea to talk about it. Of course, it will make you feel better, but it’s also important to have someone by your side who will cheer you on. You will give up several times, and this is okay. It’s okay to feel powerless, but when someone reminds you of all the progress you have made and can’t see when feeling down, you will learn to recognize those downs as little setbacks, not as failures.
3. Let it out
Another great idea is to keep a diary. Write down all your progress, so you can read it when you feel you’re not going anywhere.
You can also write 5-10 good things that happened to you every day. This includes everything that made you feel good, for example, a good movie or a delicious meal, and everything you managed to do that day, for example taking a walk or taking a shower. Start small, reward yourself for the little things you manage to accomplish.
It may not seem worthy to write down such little things, but that’s the whole point. You will see that these things take effort or have more impact on you than you think. You will learn to recognize what makes you happy and everything that you already can do again while recovering.
With time you will learn what you need to stay calm and healthy. Repeat everything that makes your mind happy and your body feel good. Eat foods that give you energy, interact with people who bring the best in you and make you feel good about yourself, stick to your priorities, exercise in a way that feels right and fun for you, and keep doing it while you feel better and better.
To recover from burnout is a long and a hard process, but it will be one of the best things you will do for yourself. You will want to give up, but you will also want more and more for yourself. You will want to get better and you will take care of yourself. Being a long process is also a good thing since you will have an opportunity to develop new habits, learn new skills and let go of everything that’s not good for you. Recovery from burnout will bring you back to you.