By Judi Light Hopson, Tribune News Service
Troy Warren for CNT
If you’re spending too much energy to crank the wheel of life, you may be in full-blown burnout
Do you ever feel your life is going in a dead-end circle? You get up each day doing a routine that requires you to push faster and harder.
The only problem is this: It’s taking more and more energy to manage that routine. It’s a grind with little emotional payoff. We’ve all been there.
If you’re spending too much energy to crank the wheel of life, you may be in full-blown burnout.
Even if you feel just slightly burned out, you can switch the way you’re managing your routine. Your goal is to feel more rewarded in how you live and less bogged down.
These tips might help:
Vary your routine. While discipline is good, it can feel monotonous after a while. If possible, switch certain tasks to different time slots. Or, take spontaneous walks outside to view new scenery a few times each week.
Delegate several small to-do items every week. For example, ask a co-worker, your teenager or your spouse to do at least one 10-minute task each day. Feeling you have no assistance will cause you to burn out more quickly.
Rest and relax before a tough week ahead. If you have some pressure-cooker days coming up next week, find time to go to the movies with friends this week. Or, visit a park with friends or family.
Learn to bypass certain responsibilities. If you’re overly stressed, let some housework slide this week or buy dinner to bring home. Skip cooking or other chores to give yourself occasional breaks. Others around you will survive.
Hire some help. This includes getting your car washed, hiring windows washed, getting someone to mow your lawn or finding a seamstress to hem your new slacks. Get in the habit of looking for ways to pay someone to help you save personal energy.
“To re-energize your life, keep focusing on creative ways to renew your routine,” says a mall manager we’ll call Henry. “I sometimes feel trapped working here inside the mall. But I’ll call my wife and ask her to go driving with me in the country after work. Just seeing a few barns, cows and rolling hillsides renews my spirit from dwelling on business all the time.”
He adds, “Playing old, favorite tunes in the car helps switch things to a happier mood as well. When we take a drive, we try not to discuss family problems or talk about anything stressful.”
Creating new routines is an inexpensive way to make your life feel new. Exercising at the same time every day or eating the same foods repeatedly can feel boring.
Taking walks with neighbors or friends after dinner can put you in a better mood. Or, inviting neighbors for a simple picnic in your backyard can create good memories for everyone.
“Couples should have a date night every week or so, too,” says a family counselor we’ll call Jordan. “Taking the kids and in-laws everywhere gets old. When couples spend time having a meal together or going to the movies, it feels like a real date. Taking along too many people can add to the stress.”
“I like taking a three-day mini vacation every six weeks,” says a clothing designer we’ll call Sherri. “I think short vacations are just as restful as weeklong vacations because you can pack lightly and visit more places over a year’s time. I like to visit small towns within a two-hour drive of my home. It’s amazing how many interesting places there are in a given region.”
To curtail burnout, simply interrupt the typical routine you’d normally follow.
“The good thing about burnout,” says Sherri, “is that it’s telling you loud and clear that you’re ready for a change.”
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