So how do you recover from burnout? It's so easy to get caught up in a cycle where you just continuously have work to do. There's just never a break. And you feel like there's never a break coming. How do you stop yourself from getting burnt out? And if you are burnt out, how do you turn that around? How do you pull yourself back into a healthy state of mind? Because it's tough to recover from.
So many days, I've been going through, and just in the last 12 months to constantly be aware of when I catch myself feeling like everything is a priority, that I just ... and there's a lot of opportunity, it's so easy to constantly say yes. "Yes, I'll get it done. Yes, I want to do that. Yes, that makes sense." It doesn't always have to be a yes. But we feel like that things are always a priority. And we don't want to disappoint people.
I just know that as a kid I just felt that way. I just hated being let down. I still hate being let down myself, and I don't want to let other people down. So the challenge then becomes, "How do you create space in your life? How do you give yourself a break when you feel like there is no break? And how do you start to let go of some things, because ... " especially if you're an achiever, that you always want to be able to catch everything. You don't want to let any of the balls drop, per se, right?
"So the challenge then becomes, how do you create space in your life?"
But sometimes you just need to. So what I want to do is first just give you an example that this is something that I've gone through. I've been building the Sledge Hockey Experience. There was so many times where I felt like I had to create the next document or I had to get the next email out or I had to keep taking meetings to continue to network, because I was desperate at the early stages to get the momentum going, to get the business rolling, right? And so I burnt out. Back in April last year, I hit a wall hard where I was trying all kinds of different medications, over the counter, prescription, acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies. I even got a CT scan done on my head to try to figure ... I thought I might have had a tumor or something because the headaches would just not stop. But when I got to that point, I realized that enough is enough. And I just have been working too hard, and I need to turn around.
So here's what I want to do. I want to share with you three things, three strategies that I definitely still implement today that I know that you can apply and implement in your own life to help either avoid or recover from burnout.
You need to learn how to start saying no. Say no more often. Say no before you say yes. Become comfortable with that, and the thought and fear of disappointing people, letting people down, and that will instantly start to change things for you, because you'll at least stop the flood of work and conversations, everything coming in. And that sucks, especially if you're in a building phase to do that. But what you need to do is you need to start creating space for yourself to recover, because your body needs rest. Your mind needs rest. So start saying no. Practice saying no before you say yes. I promise you that's going to make a significant difference immediately.
You need to get more sleep. You need to give yourself, your mind and your body time to recover. I was averaging seven, but I was kind of like sometimes doing six and a half hour nights, and realizing that that wasn't cutting it. And I would notice a difference between the seven and a half to an eight hour sleep of an evening. And I was like, "Man, I just need that extra hour." So prioritizing my sleep was crucial by getting to bed sooner. And remember, if you want to wake up sooner, the trick is not to like set your alarm earlier. The trick is to go bed sooner. And you might need to research some strategies. I'm not going to go too far into that right now. But look up online of like whether it's like an herbal tea before you go to bed or journaling or reading before bed, something that makes you fall asleep. But start going to sleep earlier to give yourself and your body more rest.
Start thinking about time blocking your calendar. Six months ago I was told about this strategy, but it just took me a while to finally make that and integrate it into my calendar. But I'm telling you, I took tips from Rob Dyrdek who says, "I don't take ... " He doesn't take appointments before 11 a.m. Keep your phone on airplane mode from 10 p.m. when I go to bed to my 10:30ish now morning routine when it ends, like keeping your phone on airplane mode from the time you wake up. Don't immediately check your phone. I take my shower. I have my smoothie. I write in my five minute journal, and I dedicate an hour to reading or learning of some kind. And that's just my morning routine. So time blocking that first two to two and a half hours of my morning gives me the space to continue to rest my mind before I dive into the world of work.
So what I want you to do is to start to see and understand that the myth might be that burnout, you need to burn yourself out in order to reach that level of success you want, but that's not necessary. And if you do reach that point that you don't want to sustain that for a long period of time because it's so unhealthy, and that if you can start to integrate some strategies and have the patience that you see success is a very long game. It's a forever game if you do it right. So you can start to work some things like these strategies to give yourself the time and space to recover.
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About Kevin Rempel:
Paralympian, keynote speaker, and founder of the corporate team building program, The Sledge Hockey Experience, I help people change their perspective about life and people with disabilities. Visit www.kevinrempel.com for more information.