Stress Recovery

When life continues to pile priorities and responsibilities on you, we enter survival mode (aka zombie mode) which feels like we wandered on a dark, dead-end road on a foggy night. When we hit this dead end, we start to regretfully go through the motions of life as every day seems to be full of repeating worries, stress and pressure. In my opinion, survival mode is when you simply exist as you can go through the routine without any authentic emotional and or mental investment. So now you have reached zombie mode.

Warm Bodies Zombies GIFVia Giphy

Why call it “zombie mode”? Because when you have reached far beyond the point of burn out, you go about your day as if you’re an extra on the set of “The Walking Dead”. Some days, you may be the cranky zombie who shuffles across campus while internally snarling at the slightest things. There are days when you’re the dazed zombie that stares into space and counts the minutes until their day is over so they can go back to sleep. Other days, you could be the jittery zombie that jumps at almost anything. The list goes on, but what I’m trying to say is that you are drained. Which really sucks, but here are two important steps to recover from burnout.

If you need to know the signs of burnout, you can find a rundown of the telltale signs of burn out here.

Reassess

How many mornings have you wearily asked yourself “Why am I doing this?” as you reluctantly slid yourself off of your warm, comfy bed so you could get ready to take on the day? After burning out, your routine gets stale and you feel drained. Emotionally, our sense of excitement, appreciation and happiness is replaced with negative feelings like loneliness, frustration, anger and depression. Mentally, emotionally, and physically, we are exhausted and unmotivated. When you face this, it is important to remember why you are taking on so many responsibilities in the first place. You should figure out which responsibilities are absolutely necessary to hang on to and which ones could be nixed. They say that quality is better than quantity and you can apply this to your life. Yes, being the president of four student organizations may be great on paper but if you’re juggling a big role like that for multiple organizations then you’re definitely not equally putting in 100% effort for all of those groups. Maybe you’re working at a job in an industry that you love, but the hours or workload is more than you’re capable of managing along with school and other obligations. You have to take a step back and figure out if all of the excessive stress is worth it. I’m not telling you to knock off the job completely, but I want you to weigh which is more important. Experience from the job may be great, but a degree is a lot better.

Rediscover

If someone came up to you right now and asked you to name some things you like to do for fun, would you be able to answer them within 30 seconds? Or would it take you a full minute to think about an answer? You may realize that you can’t remember what is that you liked to do before you became so busy. You realize that with all the time you spend juggling jobs, school, student organization activities and other priorities that you haven’t made time to do what you actually liked to do. Burnout makes you lose sight of yourself. With so many priorities and responsibilities begging for our attention, we forget to focus on the thing that needs our attention the most, ourselves. When you don’t have time to focus on your passions, goals or dreams, you feel a sense of loss. If you love to paint, but you haven’t had time to pick up a brush then you have to make time. What are some things that you like to do that make you feel alive? When you think of those things then make the time to do them.

At the end of the day, you’re human. As much as you may want to be Superwoman or Superman, you have to understand that you can only do but so much. I understand that you have ambitions to work for, money to make, a CV or resume to build and other things which are great, but none of that matters if you’re not in right mindset or health to perform your best. Recovering from burnout is a process with no guarantee for quick results, so please remember that it will take time.