How To Recover From Burnout (One Year Into The Pandemic)

These days it is easy to get caught up in the back to back, day to day meetings, that you find yourself spinning your wheels, struggling to get back into a groove.

According to the Morneau Shepell Mental Health Index Report (January 2021), over 80% of respondents have indicated that the pandemic has impacted their mental health and burnout has tripled in comparison to 2019.

If you have struggled to learn how to avoid burnout, you are likely reading this asking yourself “How do I recover from burnout?”.

Well, I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that it doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time to get yourself back to a place where you feel like you have the work life balance in your life that you deserve.

The good news is that it’s absolutely possible to do so.

As I left Team Canada in 2015 to create my team building program, the Sledge Hockey Experience, I quickly found myself hitting a wall while working from home 24/7 and not understanding the strategies I have today from inside of The Resilience Toolbox, such as how to say “no” and maintain your boundaries.

And so, if you find yourself in a situation today that you are struggling to get yourself back on track, here are five tips to help you in your personal and professional life, recover from burnout.

Spiral Up, Not Down

Now, I have written about this before in by autobiography, Still Standing: When You Have Every Reason To Give Up, Keep Going, as well as in this blogpost about how to get out of a funk, but this is worth reviewing one more time.

In order to turn things around, the goal is to develop your self-awareness as to what got you to your low spot in the first place.

In order to turn things around, the goal is to develop your self-awareness as to what got you to your low spot in the first place. Click To Tweet

The basic principle is this…

When we find our self burning out or in a downward spiral, there’s likely some things that we stopped doing. And so, in order to reverse the spiral, we need to retrace our steps.

As you reflect back over the last few months, what were those healthy habits that you let go of?

Usually it’s things like Self Care (one of the three key pillars inside of The Resilience Toolbox). We tend to let our nutrition, sleep, and exercise fall by the wayside first.

Then it’s things like staying in touch with friends, setting personal goals in addition to professional goals, and making sure we aren’t repeating any unhealthy habits on a daily basis.

If you were to retrace your steps today, what are some keys to your wellbeing that you can restart and reintegrate back into your life?

Start Small

Once you know a key area or two that you should focus on, what is a small baby step that would make a difference for you today?

What is a small baby step that would make a difference for you today? Click To Tweet

Previously, I wrote about how to be resilient “.1” step at a time, in which you break things down into small, micro steps.

For example, maybe that means eating one healthy meal per day, or maybe that means eating three healthy meals per week.

Maybe for someone else it means taking the time for a bubble bath at the end of a long day.

Maybe it means getting some fresh air. Just spend 10 minute outside of your house on the porch, or spend another 20 minutes that you would prefer to sleep and take another nap on the couch.

What is that small, simple step, for you?

Create Space

Something that has stuck with me for years is a moment after delivering The Hero Mindset keynote when I was asked as a Paralympian, “How do you have the time to workout?”.

Now mind you, I was a full time athlete, so it was my job to workout!

However, my answer then is still the same today, which if you don’t make the time, you won’t have the time.

“You need to create space to put magic in its place.” – Taki Moore

That means time blocking time to do NOTHING.

That means going to a walk and leaving your phone at home.

That means setting up your auto responder and NOT checking your email.

It also means discovering what refuels you, such as working on a hobby, spending time with friends, or watching a movie.

For me, puzzles have become a way for me to be busy doing something but also create a mental gap as my mind rests when I get lost trying to solve a puzzle.

How can you create space in your life today?

Ask For Help

Recovering from burnout isn’t easy, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Recovering from burnout isn’t easy, and you don’t have to do it alone. Click To Tweet

We will try to, and as a result end up taking longer to recover and worse yet, going backwards.

One of my favourite tools is called the “3 A’s”.

Admityou are struggling, and that’s ok. Often we will be our biggest obstacle we have to overcome first before we can move onto the next step which is…

Ask – for help. Nobody knows you are struggling unless you say something. And then finally, once you have asked for help, you need to…

Accept – the help. If someone recommends a method of treatment, someone to call, a book to read… you must accept that help and implement it.

When my dad took his own life in 2007, his biggest obstacle was himself, because he didn’t think that he had a problem.

The sooner we can get out of our own way, the sooner we can get the help we need and get back to the life we want to live.

Who can you ask for help today?

Be Patient

Recovering from burnout doesn’t happen overnight.

A good sleep does help, but it can take days, weeks, even months to feel like yourself again.

When you think about the recovery process, remember to be not only be patient, but be kind. You’re still not at 100% yet. You’re still figuring things out.

Maybe as you burnt out, you were once operating at a level 8/10 but are now at a 2/10. It’s going to take some time for you to rebuild your bassline of mental health and resilience.

Give yourself permission to not be operating at 100% on you way back to 100%. You are on your way back, and that is going to take some time.

Depending on your situation, you may also want to learn how to forgive yourself and stop feeling guilty. I practiced this a few times over the past year and it helped me give myself permission to forgive myself as I healed from some personal challenges.

In Conclusion

Recovering from burnout is going to take some time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you can start today to immediately focus on small things that make a big difference to regain control of your schedule, your healthy habits, and take control in regaining your sense of yourself and your wellbeing.

When I had to recover from periods of burnout, truthfully, it did takes months for me. We know when we have a bad week that we can usually recoup over selves over the weekend to get back on the grind on Monday, but if you have been burning yourself out for weeks or months at a time, it will take some time to get back feeling 100% (or even 70% – 80%) again.

Start today by focusing on what you can control, and take things one small step at a time.

That, my friends, is how you can recover from burnout and become a hero in your own movie.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you develop a resilient mindset:

How To Avoid Burnout (And What To Do About It)

How To Turn Off Work (And Disconnect Completely)

How To Say “No” And Maintain Your Boundaries

Download your FREE copy of my autobiography, Still Standing: When You Have Every Reason to Give Up, Keep Going here.

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