Work and life are stressful and everyone gets run down from time to time. I thought I had been burnt out before, but last month I experienced the real thing (pressure in my head, extreme dizziness, exhaustion, painful joints, etc). It was so bad that I had to stop working for a few days and just lay in bed, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Here are some simple things I did to get myself feeling healthy, and that I continue to do to ensure I never get burnt out again:
When you are building a company or doing anything you feel extremely passionate about, you can get into a state where you have boundless energy and feel like you don’t need to sleep. While in Silicon Valley this is called being “turned on,” in most other places its called a manic episode. Being in this state can feel pretty amazing, but ultimately if you don’t take care of yourself, its destructive. Get at least 6 hours of sleep a night to keep your body and mind healthy.
Human bodies have not evolved thousands of years to spend ten hours a day hunched over a keyboard staring at a screen. To stave off burnout, do something physical that makes you sweat, and do it at least three times a week. I hate working out, so for me this means hitting up a Yoga class and getting my Shavasana on.
#3 Fruits and vegetables
Eating a few servings of fruits and vegetables everyday gives your body the vitamins and minerals is needs to stay healthy. And no, Rockstar does not count as a fruit or a vegetable.
#4 Learn to say no
You’re busy – really busy, and everyone wants a little bit of your time. If you don’t learn how to say no to people you are seriously fucked. I’m a people pleaser so saying “no” is a lesson I had to consciously learn to accomplish what I want to in life. If you need some help, here are some practical ways to learn to say no.
#5 Write down three things you’re thankful for
No matter how overwhelmed and stressed you get, you still have a ton to be thankful for. While first world problems are still problems, if you have the time and resources to be reading this blog post then your life is pretty good. At the beginning of your day, write down three things that you’re thankful for. It will put a positive spin on things before diving into work that normally feels stressful.
#6 Smile and laugh before bed
I was fortunate enough hear Tim Ferris speak at an intimate fireside chat. One of the “life hacks” he mentioned that really stuck with me, was that every night before bed he watches part of a Disney or Pixar film. No matter how crazy life is, watching a silly movie before bed will take your mind off the stressful stuff and put you in a better mood for the next day.
If you’re burned out, hopefully these tips help get you on the path to taking care of yourself and feeling better. Feel free to share any tips or personal experiences in the comments that might help someone going through a stressful time. If you’ve been there you know how much it sucks. -Noah