In the short term, we have the ability to push ourselves incredibly hard. This could come in the form of exercise, sleeping less, extreme cognitive effort or other challenges.
Over time, though, extreme effort and energy expense will catch up to us, especially if we are not taking care of ourselves. There is an emphasis in life to keep our foot on the pedal all of the time, but this can lead to burnout.
Whether you have reached the point of total burnout or find yourself close to getting there, here are nine science-backed activities to help you recover and maintain more energy throughout each day:
1. Take a break.
One common cause of burnout is not taking time off from work or your routine when you know you need it. When you have reached that point or find yourself getting close, take a break. In 2015, 55 percent of Americans did not use all of their vacation days.
We are in a culture that emphasizes constant work, and it makes us feel like we do not have the ability to take breaks. When you think about the bigger picture, though, giving yourself a few days to decompress and recharge will leave you much better off.
Exercising is one of the best ways to rebuild energy and reinvigorate your mind. Releasing endorphins and focusing on your body, even if it is just for an hour, can play a drastic role. This is especially the case since exercising makes us healthier in body and mind.
There are countless meditation techniques, and different ones work for everyone. Find ways of meditating that work for you and do not hesitate to use those techniques when you are feeling burnt out. Taking 5-10 minutes to focus on your breathing and relax can leave you feeling much better.
Laughter is the best medicine. Most people are worrying too much or working too hard when they reach the point of burnout. Laughing is one of the best ways to relax and warm your heart.
Whether it is a movie, stand up comedy, or surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh, finding ways to genuinely laugh helps with burnout. It can also remind you to take life less seriously. Our daily activities and responsibilities can feel like life or death, when, in reality, we can be much more lighthearted.
Related: The Surprising Benefits of Laughter
5. Spend time with people you love.
It is draining to put on a facade in front of people that you do not know particularly well. Around your loved ones, though, hopefully you can be yourself. This reaffirms that there are people who love you for who you are. There is a reason that we love certain friends, family, and our spouse. Being around them makes us happier and gives us energy toward other endeavors.
6. Practice gratitude.
Life is by no means easy. There are many challenges and difficulties. If you are feeling burnt out, then those rough pieces are likely at the front of your mind. That is the perfect time to be grateful for what you do have.
There are so many positives and amazing opportunities around us. Despite how difficult current times might be, or how drained you are, having gratitude always helps. It will remind you what is important and how fortunate you are for what you do have.
7. Do other things you love.
Spend more time doing what you love. Life may be busy with work and your family, but if some of your favorite hobbies have fallen away, find ways to bring them back in. Doing what we love energizes us and helps stay away from burnout.
In the case where you are not able to do what you love or you do not necessarily know, do not be afraid to try new things. We get energy from learning and it is through exploration that doors will open up that we did not know existed.
8. Change your approach.
You can reach the breaking point and do a few things that give you a boost but then you will slowly drift back toward that deficit. Instead, change your approach. Think about what gives you energy, what drains you and how you can create a better balance.
There are a variety of ways to do this, but it does not have to always be drastic. Subtle changes in your routine and activities can drastically improve your desire to give each day your all.
9. Love yourself.
Regardless of how tough times might be, do not forget to love yourself. Looking at the past with regret or looking in the mirror with disdain will not accomplish anything. Life is difficult and you are not alone in feeling like you are not in a good position.
Dwelling on your situation and hardships will not help you feel better. Instead, love yourself for all that you are and think about what you need to do to take steps toward a brighter tomorrow.