#FOMO Beating burnout - Five ways to avoid burning out completely
How to identify burnout as early as possible and treat it correctly.
Burnout is a condition that our millennial generation increasingly identifies with, to the point that last year it was recognised by the World Health Organisation as an "occupational phenomenon". It is described as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.
It is difficult to say young people today work harder than their parents as millennials tend to value work-life balance and often have better conditions at work, such as the ability to work remotely (especially these Covid-19 days!).
But that does not mean that we are not constantly under various forms of stress. For once, working remotely does not always mean watching TV, it actually often makes it harder to switch off at the end of a working day resulting in longer hours.
And then there are bigger issues contributing to our burnout. For example, the idea of being able to afford a house or flat without accumulating debt for the rest of your life seems unrealistic. The concept of starting a paid job based on your degree after graduating also seems impossible. It usually takes a number of unpaid internships and low-skilled jobs on the side first.
Technology, allowing us to have constant access to information and numerous opportunities, is great, but also sometimes extremely tiring.
I have had burnout at different stages of my life and have found that only drastic life changes can help me beat it- not going on holiday, not picking up meditation or trying to improve my diet. Here are some examples that have worked for me.
1. Change your job if too stressful.
Seems pretty intuitive, right. But the truth is if you are stuck at a job you don't like and already feel burnt out, the idea of updating your CV, job hunting and interviewing is just terrifying.
I had been in such a job in the past and was coming up with numerous excuses to justify my constant fatigue- "I need a good sleep", I need to start working out to boost my health,"I need a long holiday."
But the truth is the exhaustion was mostly mental and emotional as the environment in the office was really bad. So I couldn't fix it any other way but be gone. I ended up, thankfully, in an office with much better culture and my burnout was cured.
You may also want to consider changing your field of work entirely if not happy with what you are doing as this is something a nice office environment cannot fix. Chances are doing what you really love for 12 hours a day will make you way less tired than 8 hours of your dream job.
Easier said than done, I know! But I know people who have changed their career paths entirely and none of them seems burnt out.
2. Control your #FOMO
As burnout quite regularly spreads out of the classic work exhaustion, controlling your fear of missing out [FOMO] is also pretty key.
I developed a pretty bad #FOMO living in London as there were millions of amazing events happening all the time- festivals, carnivals, gigs by world-famous artists, brunch and dinner out deals, stunning theatre performances, etc.
It is truly amazing living in such a city, but also really tiring. Not only because you just can't physically do and see everything, but also because everything is really far! Being already burnt out made it extra hard for me as often I just wanted to stay at home, watch a movie and go to bed.
With time I learned to prioritise and go to events that I genuinely want to attend and that tend to energise me instead of just wanting to tick off another venue.
I have also been working on improving my experience around big 'fuss' days like Christmas or weddings with fewer to-do lists, which tends to make everyone much merrier! :)
3. Get off social media sometimes
Technology is the one thing that always comes to mind when talking about generational differences. It allows us to do so much: work remotely, stay in touch with friends, have speedy access to numerous sources of information, which allows us to job hunt, find perfect holidays, etc.
But being constantly online also considerably contribute to our levels of stress, be it replying to that important email at 10 p.m. or scrolling our social media feeds for hours not realising how bad that is for your brain and for your #FOMO: Why are they on a second holiday and I haven't been anywhere yet this year? Why do so many people already have babies? How come she is promoted already and I am not? etc. etc.
Intensive use of social media has also been linked to poor sleep . Not to mention that ait often turns us into very "unsocial"people staring at our phones instead of having a genuine interaction.
All these things could add up to a worsening burnout condition.
4. Change your location
I talked about how London unlocked my #FOMO, but there are many other reasons why you may find big city life stressful.
An hour long commute to work on a packed train for a start or the fact that you are never able to save anything after paying your rent and bills. Or the fact that working in a corporate environment just doesn't feel right for you anymore and you feel like a countryside escape instead.
I genuinely adore London despite acknowledging how tired it made me feel at times. I really struggled with my decision to move but living in Sofia now (where there are plenty of things to do to!) I feel more relaxed than I have felt in years.
5. Rationalise household work
There may have been a time when I used to look down on stay-at-home mums. Until I became one on my maternity leave!
I used to never particularly enjoy setting up the internet at a new home, paying taxes, arranging home repairs, making sure I never run out of food, cleaning and doing the washing. But it used to not take such an enormous part of my life!
Since becoming a mum the workload somehow multiplied with the washing machine literally constantly on. Not to mention Covid-19 made us all stay at home, creating new piles of dishes every hour.
And then there are other things you have to worry about like finding a GP practice, changing baby's wardrobe every few months, baby proofing the apartment, etc. When baby becomes toddler, your home is always a mess no matter what you do. And on top of that there is constantly something that needs to be fixed.
Now I have a lot of help and I really can't say that household work alone gets me burnt out. But imagine a mum that does most of that herself and she also has a full time job! Some of those have more than one child too.
Apart from getting help, I am also just working on accepting that the flat will not be shining any time soon and not being able to find anything in my wardrobe is also fine sometimes. Realistic expectations on the household front seem to be the best way to avoid worsening burnout.
6. Really rest!
And of course we should regularly go on truly relaxing holidays (and not turn them into more lengthy to-do lists!)