A Few Tricks To Help Fast Charge Your Well-being

Photo by Spikeball on Unsplash

Burnouts are like snake bites.

When the exhaustion sinks its teeth into you, the poison doesn’t kill you immediately. It flows unhurriedly within your bloodstream, slowly building up to the moment the paralysis hits you.

However, burnouts are not as rare as snake bites. But ironically, we fear snakes a lot more than we fear burnout.

We watch National Geo shows where Australians (who else…) share their experiences dealing with these primordial monsters. You see the footage of a snake coming out of a toilet and hear an Aussie say “Mate, t’was right there”. Consequently, you check on your toilet bowl before taking shit for the entire summer.

With burnout, it’s a bit different.

You experience it, instead of watching it on TV. You feel like a walking dead for a couple of days, you get anxious, experience panic attacks here and there, work on the most awful autopilot ever invented... Only then do you choose to slow down the tempo and realize the work-life balance is not just something you read about.

Well at this point, fast charging won’t do. You probably need new batteries.

However, if you’re in the beginning stage, here is what to do.

Watch for the early signs and go offline

Illustration done by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

First, watch for the early signs.

Loss of enthusiasm for work, worry, anxiety, irritability, mood swings. Any combination of these means you’re headed towards the fire.

Second, take drastic measures.

If you have time and space, slow down immediately. Take the day off as soon as possible.

Move away from the stimulations, devices, negativity, and news. War in Ukraine and TV shows are the last things your brain needs at this point. Free up the time for yourself.

If any parks or woods are nearby, run there and don’t look back.

Speaking from my personal experience, going offline like this for just 1–2 days does miracles.

Make a non-negotiable rule

Once you spot the early signs, taking time off should not be up for the discussion.

I have a very basic rule here that simply CAN NOT BE VIOLATED. It’s:

Go offline immediately upon noticing two or more early burnout signals.

I never negotiate this, especially not with fire under my ass.

With my brain headed towards burnout, I never consider myself capable of making the right judgments. There is always an excuse to keep going.

“I have deadlines.” “I need to increase my income and there is no tomorrow.” If I get this done now, I’ll take a rest in a couple of weeks.” “People depend on me.” “I’m late with a lot of stuff”.

Well, fuck all of that. Mental health knows no second chances.

Let’s prioritize our headspace for a change.

Self-reflect, have fun… self-reflect, have fun…

Again, I’m only capable of speaking from my own experience here. Not sure if my approach will bring you many improvements.

However, what I find exceptionally effective is balancing between self-reflection and play.

I take my journal, sharpen the pen, and schedule some healthy fun time.

Journal helps me to work through irritability and thoughts that have pilled up during the rush times.

Fun and games, on the flip side, help me to get away from thinking. Yoga, movement therapy, sports, running, hiking, meditation, singing, spikeballing on the beach, or snowboarding … Any outdoor activity that doesn’t involve drinking alcohol, complaining, or overeating, will do here.

If you season the fun and reflection with some gratitude, you are up for one of the most amazing comebacks in the history of “almost-burnouts”.

Photo edited by the author

Before you go…

Consider reading one of the two related articles I wrote around similar topics:

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