Burnout isn’t something that gradually hits. And if you think the word “burnout” sounds dramatic, that’s because it is. Even the technical definition of burnout is “the reduction of a fuel or substance to nothing through use or combustion” (aka you used up all your juice and there’s literally nothing left to give). It’s sudden and it’s harsh. We know the most common causes of burnout are things like big pressures at work, or an overwhelming social calendar. It happens to the best of us. But there may be some factors that you aren’t even realizing are contributing to your burnout.
Trust me, I fully understand that the world sucks right now and no one is thrilled with their current circumstances, but letting your situation eat away at you negatively isn’t helpful. In fact, it’s harmful for your mental health. It’s almost ironic because pessimism is not only a cause for burnout, but a symptom as well. When you’re burnt out, it’s hard to maintain a positive attitude. You might not even realize how your mindset is affecting your mood, your sleep and your work. If you’re feeling sort of glass-half-empty these days, try a gratitude journal. It will help bring you back to the present and focus on the good things in life, rather than the negative.
Can mindless scrolling cause burnout? You bet your buns. If you find yourself constantly scrolling through IG or other social media apps, it’s likely out of habit or boredom. Let’s face it, we all have accounts or people we follow who don’t “spark joy.” Why force yourself to look at things daily that aren’t beneficial for your mental health? Whether it’s subconscious jealousy, curiosity or anything else, unless you’re using social media to find inspiration and joy, it will likely lead to faster burnout. Social media, when not used for the right reasons, can lead to emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of personal accomplishment (aka a direct flight to burnout).
Holding onto the past
You’re only as sick as your secrets. OK, so that’s a tad dramatic, but it’s true. Your past has a way of subconsciously eating away at you if you aren’t ready to let it go. Maybe you had a bad breakup that you’re still clinging to emotionally. Or maybe you wronged someone or lied to someone close to you. These things stay with you if you don’t deal with them, even if you aren’t consciously thinking about them every day. Making peace with your past will help you balance out your subconscious energy and emotions.
Feeling a lack of control
Feeling powerless is one of the main reasons why so many people find themselves getting sick, going on stress leave and often eventually throwing in the towel altogether. Especially right now, when the world feels upside down, it’s hard to feel like you have a proper grip on your destiny. Make a list of the things you can control and focus on those. Here are some ideas to get you started.
I can control my:
- Work ethic
- Personal growth
- Treatment of others
- Reactions and responses
The best way to let go of control is to make a list of the things you can control vs. the things you can’t control. Remember to look inward for things you can control.