Have you ever stared at your computer or sat at your desk knowing full well you have a ton of work you need to do but for the life of you you can’t seem to care enough to do it? You feel like you’re well on your way to a burn out breakdown and your normal attitude of being the “doer,”and “goer,” is just not happening, no matter how hard you try. Welcome to the burn out blues.
I’ve become pretty accustom to the burn out blues, especially with the crazy hours I work and the constant to do list that I swear never ends. The burn out breakdown is especially common in millennials because we always feel like there are a million and one things to do and switching off? It seems impossible. There are some people I know that can push through being the ‘burn out’ phase by just continuing to work knowing the feeling will pass soon. I am not one of those people, although I’ve tried and failed epically. I think it’s harder for creative people to buckle down and push through their work if they’re burnt out. Usually when you’ve reached your limit creatively the juices stop flowing and the passion isn’t there.
It’s during this time that my work starts to pile up, I lack motivation to do anything – seriously anything, I’m tired, and all I want to do is be somewhere else, doing something else. If you’re anything like me, you’re driven, over-achieving self starts to feel guilty for not putting in the time to work which only makes you feel worse about everything, and then it’s like a giant snowball effect. You can see how it starts feeling like a no win situation really fast.
To find a balance in life, I promised myself in order to perform at an optimum level I needed to learn when I was headed for a burn out. So, here are some of the signs the burn out blues are near and what you can do to fix it.
You Don’t Care About Your To Do List
I love feeling productive. Call me a crazy but I have to do list that I have to work through every day. Nothing makes me feel like I’m totally kicking butt more then when I’m demolishing my list and I’m checking off things at rapid speed. However I’ve learned that when I start procrastinating with my to-do list and taking longer than I know it really takes to accomplish tasks, I might be headed for a burn out.
An option I like in this situation is to GET OUT! Yes, get out of the office, get out of your house and go and do something else. When you’re procrastinating a lot of the time it means you’ve been doing the same thing too much and you need to switch it up a little. Grab some lunch, take a half day and hang out with some friends. It’s good to get in some time where you don’t have to think about your list and enjoy simply existing for a second.
When The Simple Tasks Seem Like Mountains
I’ve been known to plop myself on the floor, couch, bed, whatever is closest, in complete defeat when I feel like I have too much to do and don’t know where to start. It’s like the simple thought of moving is way too much to handle. In this situation you’re probably a lot closer to a full blown burn out than you realise. When you’re feeling this way it’s your body telling you to stop. When I start feeling this way I make a consciences effort to “disappear.” I take a day, maybe two depending on how I feel and I disappear. Meaning I’ll put on my out of office, don’t answer emails, I leave my phone somewhere I won’t touch it, I stay off my computer, and I essentially take a ‘self-care day’ to unplug from the world. While I disappear, to get some much needed sleep, I order-in instead of cook, and I watch Netflix. I shut off my brain so it has time to rest. You never know how much resting is fundamental to your creative mind and soul until you simply don’t have enough of it.
You’re Burn Out Is So All-Consuming, You’ve Hit A Creative Wall
When my creative juices start to dry up and I have a deadline to meet, it feels so difficult when I’ve hit a creative wall. If your job requires you to use your creativity, you know first hand how much this type of burn out blows! It’s as if you’re staring at your project thinking, “Why isn’t it working? Why can’t I think of anything?”
Creative burn out is rough but from what I’ve learned, it often stems from pressure. Pressure you are most likely putting on yourself. I’m totally that person. I put way too much pressure on myself sometimes and it honestly comes back to bite me. What I like to do when I’m feeling creativity drained is take a step back to find some inspiration. Whether that’s spending time aimlessly watching YouTube videos, getting in a workout, or taking bath, some of my best creative ideas have come to me while I’m doing these things. If you haven’t tried it, I totally recommend it.