Recently I hit burnout. 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.

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How to avoid burnout when creating change

How to avoid burnoutRecently I hit burnout.

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.


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  • malcolmwot

    Thanks Ali for sharing this; it’s something that can affect us all and it’s important to know some coping strategies. Stay calm!!

  • Hi Malcolm, thanks for your comment. As you say, it is something that can happen to any of us but it is important to remember that it is avoidable too – each of us can keep ourselves out of the burnout zone with the right focus, habits and actions. I hope by sharing my experience that it will get folks to just check in with themselves and see if this is an area that might need a bit of focus in their life and work as prevention is most definitely better than cure!!!.

  • I”ve been there, done that and got a few t-shirts out of those burnt-out experiences but i”m getting better at recognizing when burnout is on the horizon (like when I’m dragging my butt and have no energy, getting sick too often).

    Saying NO to things is big on my list as well as getting professional help whether that’s a therapist or coach, just having someone on your side showing you your blind spots is priceless.

    My biggest priority is to add in FUN non-work stuff to my life, doing things that I haven’t done before, as I am an adrenaline junkie after all and like to push my boundaries. But self-care is so important. Thanks for sharing Ali.

  • Patti, saying no more often is definitely a biggy. I am also a big believer in simplicity too so looking for where things can be simplified certainly helps. Burnout is a reminder of something I have been banging on about since my husband had serious health issues a few years back – there is nothing more important than our health and wellbeing as every other aspect of our lives, work and relationships totally depend on it. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

  • malcolmwot

    Wise words!

  • Alison Derrick

    Fantastic timing – my change is coming in fits and starts and I find myself getting frustrated and down because things aren’t moving as quickly as I would like in the ” right direction”. Went to a fantastic course on Friday but found myself struggling to get the most from it because my emotions are just frazzled right now. Need to breath, get some support and acknowledge that maybe I am asking a lot of myself right now and need to ease up on my demands!

  • Hi Alison, I think it is so important to listen to ours bodies. When we don’t we miss an opportunity to stop things sliding further. Sounds like you are listening to what feeling frazzled is telling you that you need. Good for you. I wish you well as you do what needs to be done to keep yourself with good levels of mental and physical energy as you navigate your changes. Thanks for sharing your experience. Take good care of yourself.

  • Hi Ali,

    I can totally relate as I’m a bit into a burn out now myself as well. In my case it’s even a bit more of ads on than changes, but it’s all the same.

    In my case I’ve increased my EFT daily practice and it really helps me a great deal. As you’re saying it’s important to know how to STOP taking things on. When too much is too much we need to know how to push the stop button.

  • Hi Sylviane,
    Sorry to hear you are experiencing a bit of burn out. Great to hear you have found something that helps you. And I totally agree, not taking on too much is an important skill to master. Prevention is always better than cure!!

  • I think the thing in life is to find balance. Sometimes we have burnout and other times we crave more. I guess what I’m saying is there has to be a happy medium. You sure are a busy girl, but I hope you find a silver lining from your burnout and learn from that experience. I try to do the same through the worst of times. If we can find it, it’s a great lesson.

  • Ali Davies

    Hi Cathy, yes, these things are always powerful lessons. For me, it is less about chasing balance (as I think the quest for a perfect balance can be part of the problem) and more about find a flow that works each day, week month and year. A bit like a dance I guess – soemtimes a quck step, sometimes a waltz, sometimes a jive, sometimes a slow smoochy.

  • Reminders and lists! Good ideas for managing.

  • Ali Davies

    Darlene, I think focussing on self management is key.