Guest Blog Post: How to Overcome Burnout and That Voice Saying You Just Need a Vacation

Our individualistic society that tells us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and work ourselves past the point of exhaustion has forgotten how to rest. We burnout before we even begin. According to Jack Flynn, 

“89% of Americans have suffered from burnout within the past year” 

with an excessive workload being one reason for this.

Our to-do lists have become files of things to get done in an unreasonable amount of time. We forget to eat, we forget to sleep, we forget to live, and we take on the attitude of living for the weekend. But how do we live for the week? 

We’ve all counted down the days until Friday, or more specifically, Friday night, when the homework is done or can wait a couple more days, work is over, and it’s just me and whatever I want to do. And then as you get older, you start counting down the time until you retire. This sounds terrible, so let’s end it here and now. 

Let’s rest. 

But what is rest and how do we do it well? 

Why should I rest?

If you’re always looking towards what the next thing is, you’re most likely ignoring what your body is saying, and your mental and physical health will have to deal with the consequences.

 

“According to recent research, the belief that leisure time is worthless is linked to poorer mental health outcomes, including decreased happiness and depression, anxiety, and stress.” 

Surprising Benefits of Leisure Time: How It Can Improve Your Mental Health

So, rest is a need for a healthy mind. It is also important for a healthy body, seen in the many health benefits associated with leisure:

 

  1. Boosts the immune system
  2. Leads to greater flexibility
  3. Enhances memory
  4. Alleviates stress
  5. Improves self-esteem
  6. Better quality sleep

Are you burnt out?

Some careers with the lowest burnout rate are dog walkers, hair stylists, and massage therapists. Why is this? If I had to guess, I would say it’s because of their work environment and the type of job itself. Going on walks with dogs, that sounds like the ultimate de-stressor! A hairstylist position allows for a creative outlet, and a massage therapist is all about lessening tension and stress. These are careers set-up for success, because they are de-stressing in nature. 

You may be saying “that’s great for them, but that is not my career, and you just don’t understand everything I have to do.” But, as a full-time student, working two part-time jobs, who is also in a leadership position of a club, I have had my fair share of never ending to-do lists, and this is why I am telling you how important it is to rest, and to do it right. 

Without rest our minds and bodies shut down. We try to overcome our bodies with caffeine, but there is only so much we can take before it’s ineffective. So let’s stop ignoring ourselves and recognize the fact that we were made to rest.

How to rest well

Leisure increases our well-being and is a simple way to increase positive emotion. So, what does leisure look like? It can take many forms, and we can break activities down into physical rest and mental rest. 

Physical rest

  • Reading
  • Prayer/meditation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Socializing
  • Art 
  • Writing

Mental rest

  • Breathing exercises
  • Disconnect from technology
  • Walks

The power of walks

One way to take a break and rest is to get outside and take a walk. Get your body moving as you let your mind rest. Let your mind rest as you step away from your busy schedule. Easier said than done, but this little break in your day may be all you need to boost your energy and motivation, so allow yourself to relax and re-energize. It will be worth it in the long run.

 

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