I follow Forbes on Twitter and yesterday they posted an article about ways millenials can avoid suffering from burnout. Being a millenial who suffered from academic exhaustion a few years ago, I feel I can relate. Anyway, some of the ways to avoid this trap include: knowing your threshold, prepare for melancholy moods, nurture the soul, determine your purpose, and possess self-awareness.
Millenial/Gen-Y burnout being of interest to me, I naturally decided to do some research. An interesting tidbit I read about it is that it can happen when you have a smorgasbord of opportunities in your face. And I can see this being very true. Now it’s acceptable to look for a job that inspires and provides purpose, as opposed to just paying the bills. We have chances to study abroad and travel the world, things that may not have been provided so easily to previous generations. But with so many options, there is a dark side. Can it be that we have so much in front of us that we get into everything aimlessly until exhaustion sets in and we collapse?
Looking at these tips, I think they can apply to areas of one’s life outside of academics/careers. For instance, in my case, trying to get healthy and lose weight. I’m finally seeing results but I have to admit it hasn’t been easy. When you’re working out hard, cutting out sweets and fast food, and still only losing a few ounces, it’s tempting to want to throw in the towel. Undergoing this process of getting in shape is just as much mental as it is physical, maybe even more so.
I’ve had to determine my threshold and then keep pushing when it’s been reached. I know there are going to be days when I get on the scale thinking I’ve lost two pounds and barely lost one. After the gym, I like to shower and relax with a cup of tea (usually peppermint) while I write or get on the internet. I have a purpose for totally changing my diet and becoming a gym rat: I want to be healthy and feel good about the way I look. And finally I’m aware of myself. I know what I’m capable of and what I’m not.
Burnout happens in relationships, at work, school, pursuing dreams and goals, and I’m sure several different areas. The gist of these burnout tips (in my opinion) is to just calm down and regroup. It’s not the end of the world if you get exhausted and need a break. I wish I would have known this three years ago when I left grad school, I could have saved myself a lot of grief. But then I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Have you ever suffered burnout? How did you recover?