connect, grow & thrive.

Breaking Burnout

You know the feeling – that sensation of building exhaustion, frustration, stress, and overwhelm. With the frenetic pace of life today many find themselves getting sick, fatigued, and burned-out. We are told we must find the right work-life balance and this will stop happening, but perhaps this is part of the problem. When we aspire to a version of ourselves that can “do it all”, we deny the very needs that we require to be resilient.

Research shows that our notions of what it takes to be resilient are often misguided: we see resilience as a strength to endure challenges, often in the face of constant adversity. Meanwhile, psychology and mental health institutions are reframing this notion to emphasise the difference between enduring and thriving. Thriving refers to an ability to experience, adapt to, and recover from adversity and stress. Here, the focus is on sustaining or returning to a state of wellbeing with effective coping.

What are some of the signs that you are heading toward burnout? Look out for patterns of self-criticism and perfectionism; tendencies toward social comparison; trying to keep pace with modern life; and a buy-in to the idea of the daily grind as the status quo.

Thriving in the modern world requires adaptability. Burnout is not inevitable. Break through the myth of doing it all and the illusions of work-life balance to beat burnout. If you need help, speak out and seek support. Live with intent, meaning, and space for what matters.

Here are some of the ways you can sow the seeds of resilience in your life right now:

MINDSET – Reframe self-critical and perfectionist thoughts toward a more compassionate mindset. Ask yourself whether these thoughts are supporting growth. Recognise the power of “good enough” and the space it creates to explore your authentic self. Explore what restores and depletes you and loosen your attachment to the terms “work” and “relaxation,” as you can be nourished or stressed by aspects of either domain.

CONNECTION AND BELONGING – Social comparison is a fast road to misery and is likely to drive you toward actions that increase loneliness, isolation, or envy. Research suggests this is the case with increased social media use. Beware the scroll and batch your social media time, applying specific goals to connect beyond the digital interaction. Face-to-face social interactions have positive benefits cognitively, physically, and emotionally. Identify the relationships you want to build and use assertive communication to foster deeper connections. If you have not found your tribe yet, keep searching and get involved in projects of meaning to you.

COMMUNICATION AND BOUNDARIES – Keeping up with the pace of modern life is no longer tenable. No one can follow all the information, events, or opportunities out there. Take a step back to see where actual value is added. Create boundaries by accepting your limitations with time, energy, and interest. These realities are grossly ignored in the burnout cycle.

REJUVENATION – Repeat after me: “I am a human Being, not a human Doing!” We all need moments of pause and presence to examine how we are doing and re-evaluate our needs. Without the pause we persist to our detriment. Disengaging from your day, even for 5 minutes, allows the mind to process all the stimulation it has received and fosters creativity to consider it in new ways, without the pressures of “doing.” This is why people experience thunderbolt ideas in the shower or while daydreaming. Use this time to evaluate your needs and respond.

Dr. Brandi Eijsermans, Psychologist FSP, supports individuals, couples and families to thrive in their international lifestyle.