How to Overcome Burnout
Reignite your passion when you feel run into the ground.
About four years ago, Sarah Hein hit a high point of success with her wellness-driven online platform, Pioneering Forward. When her husband became ill, she had no choice but to become the glue for their family and their other businesses—a real estate company and a construction firm. She soon had little time for herself, making huge health decisions for her husband while struggling to find a diagnosis.
“I learned really quickly that if I didn’t fill myself back up, I was at a tipping point in my life where I could lose everything and that was not an option,” she says. “I found that if I filled my cup back up, I could then go pour into others.”
Sarah reevaluated her life and decided that it was not success, money, fame or recognition that would spin her wheels—it was family and finding purpose. With the proper balance, she became a mentor, blogger, business owner and public speaker to inspire people to overcome their own obstacles. Her book series, to be released late fall, chronicles the mom of three’s journey from foster care to adulthood. Inspired by Little House on the Prairie, it outlines her belief in becoming a pioneer and blazing new trails.
When it comes to burnout, Sarah says there are many signs that accompany the feelings of being stretched too thin. “People have a hard time sleeping, they’re sick more frequently, they have anxiety attacks, depression, lack of concentration, relationship difficulties with their family, friends and coworkers and negative thinking, or as I like to call it, stinkin' thinkin',” she says.
A babysitter, waitress, dental assistant and entrepreneur since a young age, Sarah knows what it feels like to be overwhelmed on the job and in life. Here, she shares her tips for surviving the burnout.
1. Take a brain break
The moment you start feeling overstressed, take a brain break and a few minutes to clear your head. Find a quiet place to focus on your breathing. Meditate. Calm yourself down. Have a mentor that you can call and set up a weekly meeting with. Raw emotion is the key ingredient that can create hurtful words and thoughts that will not problem-solve but add fuel to the fire, so it’s important to take care of yourself.
2. Reflect on the root of your burnout
Grab a piece of paper and write down all that is overwhelming you. There’s power in writing this list and going through a process of elimination. Rate what is bothering you the most on a scale of one to ten. Eventually, you will get to the root of your burnout. It might not jump out at you right away and you may have to give it a few days for reflection. If you find the root of what’s truly burning you out, everything else is just noise.
3. Work in threes
Take time to look at the most important tasks you need to get done in your personal life and business life and start with the top three. Work on those three things until you find solutions and then go to the next three. It’s more manageable. Small chunks help declutter the mind.
4. Avoid comparison
Most people try to keep up with everyone else instead of doing what’s right for them. Focus on who you are, your gifts and talents and don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. That’s where people fall into this rat race or “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. I learned to not have things stick to me like Velcro. If you think of yourself as a big strip of Velcro with junk clinging to you all the time, that’s heavy and unpleasant. We need to let negativity roll off our shoulders.