Welcome to 2019 guys. You did it! You made it another year. Even better, you made it to the year where we apparently will all be dressing like this:
Rock on. Thanks Blade Runner.
But in all seriousness, I am really proud of you all for making it here. 2018 had its rough points, and I know how hard it was to make it through some of those days, so mad props to you. If I’m being real, I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. Not because 2018 was so over-the-top fantastic (on the contrary, there were definitely some poop-emoji days), but because I don’t like the pressure associated with “resolutions,” and I REALLY don’t like the sweeping guilt that comes with falling off the wagon. However, I’m not opposed to trying to make better choices and changes in my life, key word being trying. I liked this idea a heck of a lot better than making a resolution, because it means improving your wellbeing but still giving yourself the space to make mistakes.
I started thinking back to some of my hardest moments of 2018. I suffered with a TON of anxiety during the final months of the year. Mixed with whirlpools of depression and tidal waves of stress, I realized my darkest days in 2018 stemmed from one very under-discussed reality: burnout.
Essentially, burnout is when your mind and body are working in over-drive for so long that you become physically, mentally and emotionally drained. It’s kind of like constantly running a motor 24/7 without ever turning it off. Eventually, it just stops working. Everyone is different, but for some it can take weeks or even months to recover from burnout. The results of burnout can be devastating (they were for me), and I realized it was something I needed to try my hardest prevent in 2019.
I only noticed I was suffering from burnout after I had begun recovering from it. Sure, I noticed I was more irritable and constantly tired (All. The. Time), and I noticed that I found it harder to focus, my creative drive has taken a nose dive and that I was genuinely a less happy person. However, I just assumed my crazy work load over the past couple of months had morphed me into this new person. I didn’t realize that becoming a shell of who I am was the result of burnout. It took about a week’s worth of oversleeping, relaxing, spending quality time with my loved ones and unplugging to realize that the real me was still in there, she was just trapped under the hyper-drive machine that kept me afloat.
Needless to say, my mental health took a huge toll during my burnout. It was like the gates to my wellbeing were left opened and unarmed, allowing armies of anxiety and depression to sweep in as they pleased (and they did). My mind and body were completely exhausted, but I can finally feel my true self starting to swim through my veins again. Despite how draining my burnout was, I believe some good came of it. It gave me the opportunity to chat about my experience with you, and hopefully it can prevent you from going through the same thing.
Experiences of burnout can be different for everyone, but for me I noticed…
1. I was constantly fatigued, even when I had gotten plenty of sleep
2. I found it harder to focus
3. I found myself never taking “me time”
4. I was snappy and irritable
5. My motivation to work went down the tubes
6. I had trouble sleeping because my workload kept me up/would wake me up in a panic
I’m not going to sit here and make a bunch of unrealistic promises about how I plan to take better care of my mental wellbeing in 2019 (that won’t help anyone). However, here’s a quick list of small, doable tasks I think might help:
1. Take 5-10 minutes out of my day to just breathe
2. Force in some “me time,” even when I feel like I’m too busy
3. Be honest if I’m struggling to meet deadlines (huge one for me)
4. Incorporate some weekly exercise. One trip to the gym is better than none
5. Talk about how I’m feeling (another huge one for me)
6. Set a time limit for myself to work. After that point, it’s time to shut down the laptop and unwind. (Easier said than done, but I’m going to hold myself to it).
I’m definitely not saying this is the end all be all to preventing burnout, it’s just my personal experience. However, I think it’s important to acknowledge that our mind and bodies can only handle so much, that limit is different for everyone and it’s more than okay to protect our wellbeing as much as we can. I also think giving ourselves a little extra love can never hurt.
Thanks for reading, softies. Until next time.
All my love ❤
Twitter is @mariannroberts.