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I was the queen of burnout until I decided to give up my crown.
But I learned a few things along the way—the signs, the symptoms, and why it’s better to take a step back rather than go too far and be forced to stop.
When I experience burnout or exhaustion, my body crumbles, my mind races, and I can be indecisive. I also become emotional and hard on myself as if I am failing miserably at life. After recovering, I can always see that life was fine, and things weren’t as bad as they seemed.
With a tired, stressed brain, we can feel like life is doomed, and it’s hard to move forward with clear, intentional steps when we are on this cycle.
The three reasons for my burnout:
>> Taking on other people’s stuff and neglecting myself.
>> Doing way too much or spending too much time perfecting things (perfectionist tendencies).
>> Being too serious about life.
I used to be proud of these until I realized they lead to an imbalance in the mind, body, soul.
I also had some healing to do.
For me, it’s taken multiple pit stops until I was forced to rest. Unfortunately, I had to become ill or feel like I was hitting a brick wall before paying attention. Downtime showed me that I was ignoring the signs along the way, and this badge of honor, or crown I was wearing, was a false idea of ability and worth.
I was driving myself into the ground to say to myself (and others), ultimately, I am good enough.
Unfortunately, I allowed myself to go too far rather than be intuitive about how I was moving through life. So, this mentality had to change.
We must check our tendencies to over give or overdo because when we look closely, we may find some hidden belief or mentality pushing us in this direction. We’ll go around and around until we burn out, feel exhausted, become ill, or injured—but we don’t need to.
I now endeavor to live consciously, and these things have helped me be more in tune with myself and be wise about how much I give to others, myself, and my path. I’ve also included 13 bonus responses from our readers to the popular question: “How do you stay grounded and not take on others energy?”
Five ways to avoid exhaustion and mental burnout:
1. Allocate time every week to pause and practice being in the now.
This becomes a compass, a northern star for us so that during times when we are starting to go a little too far, we have a reference point of what it feels like just to be.
Without this point of reference and practice, our mind and body will feel like it has nowhere to go because it doesn’t know what it feels like to pause or rest. Practicing regular breaks will give the mind an island to retreat to.
2. Spend less time on socials and be intentional with social media use.
Again, this was a game-changer for me. A few years ago, I shut down my social media accounts for over a year. (I recommend deactivating, not deleting, as I lost all my images and had to start over due to my impulsive decision to delete.) The time away from checking socials and uploading taught me to live in the present moment and get off the rat wheel.
It allowed me to sink deeper into my own life, goals, and direction and not worry about what anyone else is doing. I now use social media mindfully and no longer feel I am in a race against the world.
3. We need to take care of our bodies as a priority.
A tired mind is susceptible to negative thinking and going back to old patterns no matter how much we have worked on ourselves. When old ways rear their heads, I know I need to rest. When we take care of our bodies, we can bounce back after a tired or stressed week.
Regular movement shifts out stagnant energy, wholesome plant foods raise our energy and vibration, water cleanses junk from our system, and daily sunshine refuels our vitamin D levels.
There are times when my body needs to rest and it’s influencing my mind. In this case, I completely switch off or do something that requires no mental power, and let my body power down properly.
4. Allocate time daily to pray, meditate, journal, and sink into the soul.
I prefer first thing in the morning before the day begins as it helps me hone in on what I need to focus on and not waste time or energy on things that are not useful or valuable to my path. It also helps me connect with God and my spirit and seek guidance for the day ahead. I waver in my direction and decisions when I have neglected this routine because I start to rely too much on my mind power and less on my intuition.
There’s an old scripture that I love, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” ~ James 1:8. When we are tired, exhausted, and haven’t spent much time tuning in, how can we expect to be clear, energized, and intuitive about our path?
5. We need to be mindful of our environments as they influence our mood, energy, and creativity.
One of my favorite ways to shift my energy into a clear and lighter place is to rearrange or refresh my home and office space. It symbolizes releasing heaviness and allowing room for new learning and growth. For years I would declutter and give away my belongings (because I had so much).
I now live moderately, so I move around furniture, create a new space, or do a deep cleanse. I also invest in indoor plants as decor, and I feel instant calm, grounding, and pure energy in their magnificence.
6. We also need to be mindful of the people we surround ourselves with and ask ourselves the purpose of each relationship.
One of my favorite quotes about trauma and addiction is, “You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick.” ~ Anonymous. It relates to being around people who keep reminding us of who we “were,” who complain, or do not encourage our growth.
We’re going to feel unnecessarily depleted when we spend our precious time with people who want to see the worst in us or where the relational transaction is imbalanced such as us over giving to meet their needs.
The healthiest connections are those that let us be and vice versa and are built on unconditional love, freedom, and warmth. I have learned to trust my intuition and distance myself from connections where my boundaries are not respected or where I feel I have to “guess what someone is thinking.”
7. We need to check our ego, our belief systems, and take time to heal or address why we over give or overdo.
This may be the hardest thing to do on the list because it requires us to take a deep look at ourselves and why we resort to over giving and overdoing. It’s not always the prettiest process, but it is liberating.
8. Lastly, take time out to have fun, be adventurous, and become lost in the moment.
Perhaps find a new place to explore, sit by the water, lie on the grass, and be immersed in the present moment. Sometimes what we are missing in life is a little bit of spontaneity and the here and now.
Letting go of our need to give and do can spark up new energy, revitalize us, and shake off the serious vibes. It also helps us to learn about the power of receiving and noticing all the beautiful things life has to offer us right now.
My favourite ways to get out of my head is to walk, hike, or find a new breakfast cafe. It doesn’t have to be a grand outing. Most days I lay a blanket outside under the sky, or play with my dog. On hot days, I will watch YouTube videos or do something creative like writing and journalling ideas. I also love having a laugh, being silly, and letting my inner kid come out and play.
Maybe venture out on a trail with a friend and notice a butterfly sitting on some poop:
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Our readers gave so many responses to the question, “How do you stay grounded and not take on others energy?” Here are 13 more suggestions:
1. “I do a grounding meditation every morning to protect my energies.” ~ Samantha
2. “Nature, reading, being surrounded by people that love me, deep breathing, repeating to myself that it is not my sh*t.” ~ Marianna
3. Not easy, a never ending learning process.” ~ Marianna
4. “Alone time. Solid boundaries. Knowing where you end and someone else begins.” ~ Joy
5. “Alone time and time outdoors. Laughter breaks up energy as well and revitalizes. Find your happy, its your compass.” ~ Jessica
6. “Meditation. Mindfulness. Drink a lot of water. Meditation. Journaling. Crystals. Mediation. Boundaries. Meditation.” ~ Jessica
7. “It’s a practice you have to develop. If you want to, you can do it.” ~ Lucinda
8. “By not concerning myself with what others think when I veer off to the sidelines by myself for a break as often as I need to and don’t feel compelled to engage in idle chit chat.” ~ Colleen
9. “Stop caring about people who have no positive impact on your life.” ~ Darren
10. “I don’t let empty boats hit me.” ~ Kathryn
11. “Walk.” ~ Jill
12. “Set up your own boundaries and learn on how to convey them firmly but still so people get your point. You get to determine what you’re allowing into your life. You’re not there to please everybody, but to stand on them firmly, but still manage to find peace in between them. People will eventually learn that. If they can’t, that’s probably because they’re still learning the new you.” ~ Syuziani
13. “Remove yourself from the situation.” ~ Jenny
How do you avoid exhaustion and mental burnout? Share in the comments.