Whether the cause is from work, school, parenting or other relationships, most people view burnout as a means for procrastinating, napping, and/or binge-watching Netflix. However, I lean (or sprint) to the other extreme. I order takeout when it isn’t necessary, go on unplanned trips to a department store, do numerous cleaning tasks, unnecessarily rush my daughter around, go down the rabbit hole of Facebook Market, and spend way too much time on my phone, doom-scrolling through social media.
I know I am not alone here.
A couple of years ago, a counselor explained to me that my response to burnout is actually a common reaction in today’s society, especially in marriage and relationships. When a partner gets overwhelmed and wants to tune the world out, he or she will resort to getting on their phone. It’s an escape — and it’s exactly what I do, too. Rather than jumping off life’s treadmill or slowing myself down to a walk, I prefer to just keep running so that I do not have to acknowledge my fatigue.
If this sounds familiar, here are some suggestions to come out on the other side of stress and overstimulation:
1. Plate all of your meals and eat *without* electronics.
Mealtime – but make it fashion. Even if it is just a can of soup, I’ve gotten into the habit of putting the soup in a nice bowl, placing said bowl on a plate, garnishing the soup with something cute, and artfully laying crackers around it. I even put my yogurt in a parfait glass and sprinkle dark chocolate chips on top. It’s actually pretty fun! More importantly, it forces me to see and appreciate what I am eating.
2. Go outside.
Whether it’s by yourself, with your pet(s) or with your children. Being outside, even in a busy, noisy area, is like hitting the reset button on your body and mind. It is a reminder there is a whole world around us and that we’re on this planet for more than just accomplishing a to-do list, paying bills, working a job, and/or raising kids. Don’t just do it for you — your family and pets can feel every ounce of your stress, too; it is called secondhand stress. So hit the pause button daily because even five minutes can make a huge difference.
3. Turn off the tv, put the phone down, and do *this* instead.
Take away media sources that provide overstimulating (and sometimes overwhelming) streams of information. We take in so much information daily: work, news, advertisements, social media, etc. Instead, try playing “mood music” aka music to match your moods. If I’m feeling good, I play happy music. I also play jazz music if I’m in the mood for that, too. I play overdramatic, sad music if I just need to sit in my feelings for a little (which is totally fine)!
4. When you’re commuting, alternate and replace music with an audiobook, podcast or sing a song instead.
Your commute is a great opportunity to get pumped for the workday or unwind after work. If you’re commuting in the privacy of your car, play some good music and sing along with it; singing has been proven to uplift and shift your emotions. If you’re taking public transit, consider alternating your usual playlist between an informative podcast or an actual audiobook!
5. Commit to only spend what you plan for the day.
If spending is an outlet for you, put up some guard rails. Only do grocery pick-up when you feel overwhelmed so you don’t get distracted by everything else you do not actually need in the store. If you want to treat yourself, plan it, make a budget and stick to it. Running into department stores to “see what they have” is a recipe for disaster when you are overstimulated. If you need help with your impulses, check out this amazing downloadable TFD impulse tracker, here.
6. Make a list of what actually needs to get done that day and *stop* yourself from doing anything else.
It is an old piece of advice, but it works. Making a physical or virtual list of your priorities for the day is a great way to stay on track. Plus, crossing things out or clicking them away is very satisfying and helps bring you back to feeling on top of the important things. [Editor’s Note: Check out our 3 Checklist Templates To Motivate You Based On Your Energy & Mood Levels]
7. Block all your social media apps for a day or two.
This should be at the top of the list, but I didn’t want to scare you away. Not having social media to click on when you pick up your phone is probably the fastest way to chill the hell out. If cutting off social media cold turkey doesn’t feel practical for you, consider using the “time limit” alert and feature for apps. For example, under “Settings” on Instagram is a feature that allows you to set an alarm for when you’ve reached your maximum scrolling time for the day. If the app you spend the most time on doesn’t feature this, consider setting the timer on your phone, each time you log in.
Keep the above tips, hacks and anything else that works well to reduce burnout stored on your phone, with a daily reminder to comply with them. That way, when you feel yourself losing control, you can refer to it. It is a great way to hold yourself accountable.
Deon lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with her daughter and two dogs. She is a mass communications professional working the political world. She enjoys gardening, traveling, and anything to do with dogs.
This article originally appeared in our TFD Newsletter. For more exclusives, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.
Image via Pexels