How to recover from burning out
We've all experienced a 'burnout'. These are the awful times when it's all just got a bit too much and the pressure and stress becomes overwhelming. I have had this experience many times, especially when I was filming a pilot TV show whilst simultaneously trying to finish my A-Levels or holding down a full time job whilst rushing to important acting auditions in my lunch break.
The first thing I tend to do is have a big old cry and make a long teary phone call to my Mum. When everything's a bit too much she's always on the end of the phone ready to listen to me wail for a bit - unfortunately, though not the most fun part of her job as my Mother, it has to be done - sorry Susie.
Now, to make a come-back from your burnout.
Remind yourself why you took on all of these things at the same time:
The first step is to have a think about why you've chosen to do these things that are overwhelmingly stressful, or on the other hand - why you have ended up doing lots of stressful things at once even if they weren't your choice. If it's a case of you taking on one-too-many responsibilities such as saying you'd help a friend with something or volunteering at a club but you just don't have room for it on your plate, you have to re-think and sort out your priorities at this exact moment. Don't let it drag you down to a low point and then carry on with the same schedule if it's something you do have control over. Tell your friend that you've taken on too much and that you can't help them out at this moment in time; trust me, once you tell them and release it from your mind - and your schedule - you will feel ten million times better - and so will they - because they won't be counting on you and not getting the attention they deserve too. Do it, now.
Conversely, If it's something that is out of your hands like studying for exams whilst you also are part of other things at university that demand a lot of your time for example, but you don't want to give them up - or don't feel it would benefit you to do so, there is a really important thing to remind yourself of here. If you have a long-term goal in mind that requires you to be incredibly busy and stressed out occasionally; this is okay. It's actually good for you to be stressed sometimes, as long as it's not frequent and overbearing. Good stresses are things that exhilarate us, and once we take the time to think about them, we realise, 'wait, I'm having a stressful time because I have a long-term goal in mind that I'm working on and I have to keep going in order to reach it.' The stress-out will pass and you will feel stronger and ready to tackle your busy schedule (usually after that all important crying call to Mum) once you have re-focussed your mind on the goal. Remind yourself of your strengths and focus in on achieving that all important goal, relief will come. On the other hand, bad stress is - of course - bad. This is called chronic stress and can be caused by something that feels inescapable or an unhappy home life for example. This can affect sleep, mental and physical health and can become a very serious problem if not treated so it's very important that you address this properly and separately.
Time to yourself:
After you've cleared off your schedule a bit or the stress is dying down from remembering your long-term goals and pressing on with the matter, you must ensure that you take some time to yourself. This is crucial in recovering from a burnout. For me, this is as simple as watching a movie in bed with a cup of Earl Grey, a walk outside whilst listening to a podcast, or going to the cinema on my own. It is so important to readjust and focus on some me time.
Reset your sleeping schedule
I bet that when you've had a burn-out your sleeping patterns have been all over the place. This is often caused by not having enough hours in the day to fit everything in that you need to do or you staying awake worrying and stressing all night. Now is the time to reset that schedule and it will help you recover from your burnout in no time. This is not the easiest of things to do but I have a suggestion on how to get your sleep back on a healthy schedule;
1. Get ready for bed at 10:00pm on the dot. Clean your teeth, do your skincare routine, get into those comfy pyjama, whatever it is that you need to do to get ready for bed.
2. Get into bed by 10:30pm. Start reading, watch something on Netflix, listen to a podcast, anything but scrolling through social media. Leave the phone on silent and don't check it from now on.
3. My most important and treasured tip; remember that even if you're not going to sleep immediately, this routine of slowing down and relaxing, even if you're still not asleep by midnight or later, is still good - and okay. The key is not to stress about actually falling asleep or what time, that is not the important part. It will come. And in the meantime, relaxing is helpful and healing.
My final bit of advice is that tidying up can have a huge effect on stress. If your room is messy or your kitchen is full of washing up that never gets done, spend an hour in the evening getting it tidy. You won't regret it. You'll immediately feel relieved and less stressed if the environment around you isn't contributing to the burnout.
I hope this helps you a little...! We all get those burnouts, so just know that it's not unusual and you will get through it stronger and better.