Today I’m feeling totally and utterly depleted. It’s one of those days where I want to curl up into a ball for 10 hours and be fed through an IV. In other words, I’m teetering the very fine line between low introvert energy and full-on burnout.
We’ve all been there. Introverted people, especially, are susceptible to burning out. This is because most introverts are also very creative, highly sensitive, and cerebral. In other words, all the things that make us brilliant also make us more prone to feeling overwhelmed and depleted.
Mental exhaustion is a real threat for us introverted people. Our mind is easily over-stimulated because we process more information in a given situation. We also tend to have highly active minds that are constantly at work. Our brain is a buzzing metropolis of thoughts, ideas and dreams.
Unfortunately, it is all too easy for us to start overthinking, obsessing and generally driving ourselves mad. Before we know it, our buzzing metropolis turns into a grey zombie land and we start to feel like the walking dead.
The good news is that full-on burnout can be avoided. The first step is to look for the signs.
3 Sneaky Signs of Burnout
1. You feel sad for no particular reason. Life looses its luster and you can’t remember the last time you smiled. Burnout and depression are longtime buddies.
2. You feel tired no matter how much sleep you get. You’re like a deflated balloon being dragged along by the memory of life.
3. You develop a hunger for human flesh.
Oh wait – sorry – that is a sign that you are becoming a zombie. What I meant to say is that you constantly feel on edge, like at any moment you could lose your temper or burst into tears (personally, I’m a burst into tears kinda gal).
So, now that we know the signs, how do we avoid entering the zombie-like state of complete burnout? Here are 5 tips that really work:
5 Tips To Avoid Introvert Burnout
1. Know when it’s time to go out
Too much time alone with our ever-buzzing brains can lead to burnout. We need less social interaction than extroverts, but we still need to meet with other humans on occasion.
2. Use the ebb and flow of introvert energy to your advantage
Life is full of times when we have to hustle, work extra hours and get shi* done. But then there are other times when we can afford to slack off a little. For introverted people, it’s especially important that we use those slow periods to restore our energy.
Ride the wave of madness for as long as you absolutely must and then put your floaties on and relax for a while.
3. Do things faster and then bugger off
Many of us innies prefer to work at a slower pace. And that’s just fine. Working slowly, but consistently is the key to long-term success. EXCEPT when we are wasting time and energy on unnecessary tasks.
Instead of giving yourself the whole day to work on a project (while checking Facebook, reading emails, and doing “research” a thousand times in between) give yourself three hours with zero distractions. Get her done and then get out of there.
4. Know when to inhale
There is a writer’s saying: “writing is the exhale, reading is the inhale.”
This same analogy can be applied to any kind of project-based or creative work. We can’t just be producers. We need to consume as well.
We need to take time to “inhale” information. Some of us have a habit of holding our breath.
When you start to feel burnout setting in, but still want to be productive, give yourself an inhale day. Sometimes the inhale looks different than we expect. It could be going for a walk, observing people, reading great fiction or chatting with like-minded people.
5. Know that done is better than perfect
This one is for all of the perfectionist introverted people out there (there are a lot of us). I know that you take pride in your work and you want to get it just right, BUT done is better than perfect. Sometimes good enough is the aim. Getting your projects out into the world is more important than making sure everything is just so.
Whatever you’re working on, make it beautiful, inspiring, transformative, incredibly useful, but DO NOT try to make it perfect. Set a deadline, get it done and move on.
Has anyone else out there suffered from introvert burnout? Do you have any tips to add to the list?
By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m feeling frazzled at the moment, It’s because I’ve been working my buns off to create more useful introvert resources for all my innie peeps out there. One of which will go live later today:
New free introvert ebook
100 Introvert Questions: Answers to everything you want to know in 20 words or less. Subscribe to my mailing list (see below) to get your FREE copy.
New introvert blog posts five day a week
I’m in the middle of my 30-day writing challenge, so expect to see new blog posts here almost everyday of the week. On Sundays I send a newsletter/love letter to my loyal subscribers.
Whew, okay, that’s all for now. Time to bugger off, put my floaties on, and breath for a little while. 😉