When you burn out, you have to take a step back. You have to pause. You have to breathe.
Even though there are a million things on your schedule for the week, which is what led to your burnout in the first place, you have to give yourself a small break. You have to give yourself time to recharge. You have to stop focusing on what is best for your future self and rethink whether you are making the right decisions for your current self.
Yes, you’re probably going to reach a place of success in the future if you work your ass off now. But if you’ve reached a point where you cannot work anymore, you need to reevaluate your plan. You’re never going to reach the beautiful future you’ve been planning for yourself if you neglect your mind and body right now.
You need to take a few seconds (or days or weeks) to reacquaint yourself with yourself. You might feel like taking care of yourself is a waste of time you could be spending doing something productive, but self-care is productive. It’s a necessary stepping stone to success. Without it, you aren’t going to be able to keep moving at the pace you’re used to moving. You’re going to self-destruct.
You need to stop every once in a while and relax. You need to give yourself a well deserved vacation. That doesn’t have to mean splurging on plane tickets to fly across the country. It could mean sleeping in. It could mean spending time with friends — or with your therapist. It could mean turning off your phone for a change, waiting to answer your emails, waiting to finish your projects, waiting to return to the work you’ve been killing yourself over.
When you burn yourself out, it’s a warning sign you need to start doing something differently.
It’s good that you’re passionate. It’s good that you’re dedicated. It’s good that you’re serious about your work. But you shouldn’t be crying in the middle of each work week. You shouldn’t be forgetting where you placed your car keys because you’re so flustered by the million other things you need to think about every single day. You shouldn’t be deteriorating, mentally and physically, because you’ve been putting so much effort into building a future for yourself.
Success is important to strive for — but so is self-love. You can’t become so obsessed with the idea of making something of yourself that you forget the importance of being there for yourself. You have to start taking better care of your mind and body, because if you make burning out a habit, then there’s going to be a day when you have a hard time coming back from your breakdown. There’s going to be a day when you hurt yourself worse than you planned.
You’ve been working so hard because you care too much. But it’s time to start caring about other things too. It’s time to start caring about your own well-being.