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How To Spot and Avoid Creative Burnout

Whilst it is important to lead a productive life, there comes a time for us all when our energy levels are dangerously depleted and are in serious need of recharging. There are many reasons for you to experience burnout. Certain people can demand too much of your time and energy; if you are going through a particularly emotional time; your job or financial worries are also huge contributors; and even your writing can leave you feeling tired and worn out. The other concern is that the longer you ignore the physical symptoms of burnout, the longer it takes to completely regain your energy levels to normal. 

So, what are the physical changes you should be aware of? You may feel light-headed, dizzy or have a shortness of breath. You could find it difficult to sleep but always feel tired. You could feel generally run down and physically weak. Other symptoms may include headaches, stomach cramps, or catching continual viruses and colds. In serious cases, a person could even suffer from hair loss, palpitations and chest pains. 

The effects of burnout and stress do not just affect you physically but mentally too. People have reported the following symptoms when feeling stressed, difficulty remembering simple things, feeling anxious, irritable or angry for no apparent reason. No energy or interest in pastimes they normally enjoyed which could escalate to feelings of total unworthiness and depression.  

As soon as you begin to recognise any of these symptoms, the first thing you must do is rest. Think of your body as a battery. If a battery is running low, then you have to be patient and wait for it to recharge. In your recuperation period, you need to find the best way that helps you rest, relax and unwind. This could be watching your favourite film or TV series on Netflix, enjoying a walk in the fresh air, or simply talking to friends that are supportive, and just generally fun to have around. If you feel comfortable doing so, then discuss how you are feeling. If you do not want to talk then that is fine too. If your friends are really supportive,  they will feel comfortable sitting with you and sharing the silence. Another great technique to recharge your energy levels is to simply get cuddles, lots of them, either from your children, partner or pets. Physical contact is a well-known way to improve your wellbeing, and that is why you may have seen pets visiting nursing homes and hospitals. If your symptoms are not alleviating then you should consult your doctor, as there could be other reasons for your exhaustion. Deficiency in vitamin D for example or fibromyalgia will leave you feeling constantly tired. 

The key to avoiding burnout is to have an effective work-life balance. Make a note of all the tasks you do on a daily basis and separate each task into two groups, those that make you happy and those that stress you out. Then place a rough timescale on each task. Do you spend more time on draining tasks than those that uplift you? If you cannot completely wipe out the draining task from your daily routine, then try to rearrange your day so that the tasks are more evenly spread out. Do not spend all day on draining tasks, and this includes spending long periods of time with people who drain you. Keep an eye on your battery levels and take the necessary actions to recharge yourself as soon as you can.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Lesley Jones