Written by: Mascha Mooy

A burnout. What is it? Why do we get burned out? Why is it meaningful? And most important: What can we do to overcome one?

We get burned out when we ask too much of ourselves for too long. You can see it as coming to a complete standstill. You have trouble with decision-making, and with managing tasks and responsibilities. The simplest tasks have become impossible.

Let me give you an example. When you go to work, you probably want to give it your best. You do this the same in your social life, you work your butt off in the gym, and in the evening you are of course the world’s best mom or dad there is. You’re living larger than life, loving the adrenalin and everything else that belongs to this fab lifestyle.

But what if one day you wake up and you think: “the hell with it all, I am going to have an indoor-day” (and by indoor-day I mean: “I am going to stay in bed for the rest of the day”). It’s no problem at all to have one of these, but having multiple indoor-days isn’t a very good sign. In fact, it’s a sign that you might have a (small) burnout and surely you don’t need that, do you? You simply don’t have the time! This might mean you have a burnout.

Overcoming a burnout

So, the big bad burnout monster is here and it’s here to stay. Now what? It’s all pretty simple. The most important thing you should do is eat, live, sleep, work and play on a regular basis. Pretty boring, some might say, but it’s the only way to recovery. Going on like nothing’s the matter is not recommended, because your symptoms will only worsen. So stop living in the fast lane and take things back to the basics. Put you at the top of your priority list.

The first thing to do is to try and be nice to yourself. Eat healthy and go out for a simple walk in the park. Walk with your head straight up and look at the horizon. Do this every other day for 30 minutes! Go to your GP and focus on you! Working is not an option right now. You have to be good to yourself and take it easy.

The next tip is going to the gym. Don’t work out like you´re preparing for some competition. Your body needs more recovery time now than ever. So, workout like your grandmother. Easy does it! Don’t care about what anybody else thinks. This is your journey, not theirs.

You can ask a personal trainer for assistance or a workout plan, but focus on relaxation. Now is not the time for “no pain, no gain”. Don’t rush it. Drink plenty of water and quit those energy drinks to boost your metabolism or whatever the marketing slogan is. Focus on healthy foods. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

During a burnout your body is trying to recover, but it’s very difficult so don’t force anything. Take all the time you need to recover. Try to enjoy the little things and if your complaints get any worse, don’t ignore it – your body is trying to tell you something. You only have one body, so be good to it.

Look on the bright side

Sometimes you might think that a burnout is a lonely trip, and you’re absolutely right. But remember one thing: it’s the most valuable journey you can ever make. It’s absolutely not the nicest or the easiest, but it sure is the most valuable one. A burnout is the ultimate way to get to know yourself, to get to know your boundaries. But also to get to know who you really are, what you want in life, to learn how to recognize, feel and cluster your emotions. So even if you have the nasty experience of a burnout, just remember that there’s a silver lining!

It’s easy to work longer hours and take fewer breaks when working from home. Why not put a reminder in your diary when you plan to finish working? Also make sure you take at least a 30-minute lunch break. If you can, try to get some fresh air and go for a short walk.

Listen to your heart and body and, every now and then, release your brains and set them on “energy-saving” mode.