It is something that I have never experienced before.
I have always been reasonably good at doing what needs to be done to avoid it happening.
But in recent times I have been going through a mountain of change in my life and work.
During this time, I had omitted to adjust my usual burnout prevention techniques to manage the additional demands that come with navigating lots of change.
The changes I have been navigating include emigrating to Vancouver in Canada, moving house four times in two years (not recommended at all!!), settling into our new country, removing our son from school to homeschool him, changing my business model, adapting to the demanding logistics of two self employed parents and a homeschooled child.
Whilst most of it has been an exciting and fun adventure, it has also been mentally and physically exhausting.
It takes a certain amount of mental and physical energy just to navigate the roles and responsibilities of usual day to day life. So when you are navigating significant change you need significantly more mental and physical energy than you would normally.
In order to create that, you need to intentionally create and implement a plan to ensure you are doing plenty of the things that boost your mental and physical energy to protect yourself from burnout. Equally you need to identify the things that are draining your energy and put things in place to eliminate, reduce or manage them.
And that is where I had taken my eye off the ball.
The big and exciting changes we have been navigating were taking up so much of our time and focus that I had taken my eye off the need to focus on creating and protecting mental and physical energy.
I had stopped doing the things I usually do that give me the mental and physical energy to navigate the path of creating change smoothly and without burning out (e.g. creating time and space for down time, getting plenty of exercise, meditating etc)
The result? Burnout.
Think of it this way. A car can’t run on an empty tank. And neither can you. Doing things to create mental and physical energy is the fuel in your tank that will help you navigate change faster, easier, consistently and without burnout.
Burnout is a serious potential pitfall of navigating the path of creating change. But it is avoidable.
My burnout has been a horrible, challenging, and debilitating experience that I never want to experience again. So not only am I taking action to navigate my way out of it, I am also focusing on putting rock solid things in place that will be prioritised ongoing to avoid burnout rearing it’s ugly head again. Prevention is better than cure.
Here are some ways to avoid burnout when creating change:
- Make a list of the things that improve your mental and physical energy. Identify ways you can ensure those things are prioritised. Create a plan. Implement it.
- Make a list of the things that drain your mental and physical energy. Identify ways you can effectively eliminate, reduce or manage those. Create a plan. Implement it.
- Make a self care plan and commit to prioritising it.
- Stop taking on too much. While you are in a period of change identify what you can let go of, delegate, outsource, put on hold etc.
- Get help and build extra support around yourself. Navigating periods of change is not a solo sport.
- Make sure you create regular down time.
Creating change in your life and work requires a lot of mental and physical energy. Taking proactive steps to manage this will help you avoid burnout.