Healthy Living YMCA Health and Fitness

4 ways to prevent burnout

The sun rising over the Toronto skyline.

Stress is a normal part of life, but utter exhaustion and disillusionment is not. Taking a full day to just “do you” can leave you feeling refreshed, give you a new perspective on things that were stressing you out, and keep you from burning out completely.

The problem is, we tend to pack our supposed “days off” with grocery shopping, play dates for the kids, errand-running, and all the other stuff that couldn’t fit in the work week. Giving yourself permission to commit to a full “Recharge Day” is harder than it sounds, but there are ways to make it work:

1. Take care of your to-do list ahead of time

When you feel yourself approaching the end of your rope, focus on planning your day off. Spend the next day or two finishing up whatever’s on your plate, and, when possible, saying no to new projects. That way, when your Recharge Day rolls around, you won’t have those outstanding tasks nagging at the back of your mind.

2. Give yourself permission to be guilt-free all day

You’ll benefit most from your Recharge Day if you genuinely acknowledge you need one. Laying in bed worrying about all the projects you still need to finish will only stress you out more. Focused breathing or meditating can help clear your mind and calm your nerves.

3. Plan to leave your bedroom

By all means, sleep in — it’s your day off! But you’ll feel so much better if, in addition to getting some extra shut-eye, you go for a walk, take a class with your favourite instructor, or float around in the pool. Moving around will get your feel-good endorphins flowing, and can be a nice distraction from stress — especially if you do it with a good friend.

4. Take more time if you can

A Recharge Day done right can leave you feeling 30 – 50% better. If possible, think about committing even more of your time away from work to improving your wellbeing. The extra time to recharge can have lasting benefits — like saving yourself from getting sick or worn down to the point where you won’t be able to follow your usual routine, even if you wanted to.

In addition to helping you maintain your composure, patience, and productivity, taking a full day to just “do you” can help you live in the moment and be more content and satisfied with your life overall. But if you don’t feel any better after your Recharge Day — or find yourself in desperate need of one on a regular basis — it’s time to talk to someone. Be it a therapist, life coach, partner, or friend, talking it out is the first step to uncovering whether something more serious is going on.