Last week’s article about introvert burnout received a huge response. Apparently there are a whole lot of introverts out there who feel overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt out!
In the article I shared how to avoid burnout, but I didn’t talk about how to overcome burnout when you’re in the thick of it.
What do you do when you’re mentally, emotionally and physically maxed out, but feel like you don’t have time to refuel? After all, the world doesn’t stop spinning just because you’re running on empty.
If you’re like me, you’ll begin making threats at the universe:
You want to make life difficult for me? Fine, I’m just going to give up. Then I’m going to eat this whole pie by myself. AND I’m not going to recycle the container. Take that.
This is not a healthy way to deal with burnout.
Never fear. I’ve come up with a few easy ways to recover from introvert burnout fast:
Can you remember the last time you laughed out loud, or even smiled? When we’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s hard to find time to giggle and grin. But we really should because laughter is one of the best cures for burnout.
The good news is that we can get our giggle on simply by watching funny videos and looking at silly photos. After just a few minutes of watching funny videos this week, I felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle my to-do list .
Here are some hilarious YouTube videos I watched this week:
Charlie Day’s Merrimack College Commencement Address
Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #7
Things You Do at a Wedding That’d Be Creepy Anywhere Else
Warning: just be careful not to get sucked into the YouTube vortex of strange videos you never intended to watch. Two or three funny videos is enough.
Having a cat moment
I shared this one with my subscribers last week:
Have you ever noticed how much of the day cats spend just sitting and staring off into the middle distance? When they do this, they could care less what else is happening. They find their little sliver of sunshine, get comfy and zone out.
As introverts, we’re prone to zoning out, too. We do this partly because we enjoy it, but also as a way of protecting our brains from over-stimulation.
When we’re suffering from burnout, sometimes the best thing to do is find our own sliver of sunshine, stretch out, stare into the middle distance, and JUST BE. Extra points for not feeling guilty about it.
Skype with a loved one
When we’re feeling burnt out, just getting out of bed is hard. The last thing we want to do is go out and meet with friends. This can place us in quite a pickle since introverts need love and support from other people, too.
Solution? Set up a Skype date with your nearest and dearest. Skype is perfect for introverts who hate talking on the phone. You get to see the people you love without actually leaving the house AND you can get away with not putting on pants. Win win win!
Put down the chocolate bar
When we’re exhausted, our first instinct is to scarf down some sugary carbs so that we can get a quick boost. Don’t do it. If you eliminate refined sugar and simple carbs from your diet for even one day, you will immediately feel an increase in energy.
Here is a short list of energizing foods that help curb cravings for sugar:
Notice I didn’t put any fancy “superfoods” in there. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Keep it simple smarty.
Do it the lazy way
Our to-do list doesn’t shrink just because we’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. But how we approach our daily tasks can be simplified. When I’m suffering from introvert burnout, I try to find the laziest approach possible to all necessary tasks. Here are some examples:
Answer emails and Facebook messages on your laptop in bed
Do research and planning outside instead of at your desk
Make healthy one-pot meals
Only do tasks that:
a) move your most important goals forward
b) are absolutely necessary
Do you really need to respond to those Facebook messages today? Can you put off mowing your lawn, or hire the kid down the street to do it?
I find that once you identify your most important three tasks for the day (MITs), you begin to eliminate unnecessary chores or find easier, faster ways of doing them.
Hopefully, you aren’t feeling too burnt out at the moment. But if you are, know that you’re not alone. Introvert burnout is a common struggle in our fast-paced society.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. You can be awesome another day. Today, it’s enough to just be.
Sending you all my positive introvert energy
That picture made me smile because it reminded me of trudging home from work after 10pm, last night.
I definitely agree that humor is a great way to relieve stress. I saw an add for One Million Ways To Die In The West, and laughed at one of the bits so hard I felt instantly revived.
Just wondering what kinda Skype date is it where you dont have to wear pants… 😛
Haha, any kind of Skype date – you know, face time with your BFFbusiness meetings, talking to your grandma. That’s the beauty of a device that only shows you from the chest up. 😉
I’m 55 now,been fighting this since early teens..didn’t now for a long time what was wrong with me
I attempted suicide early..17..it was just a cry for help…I’m old Enoch to no better..but I can’t stand still..giving out phone no..email..love being aloe..
but I ave been employed for years. ..but in personal life I’m a mess…no eye contact..I do practice it sometimes
I read your stuff..t-shirts all me..to a tee almost. ..I’m sure we all the same but different in how we cope….
On Saturday I totally hit the wall after a week of running around after four kids. I lay on my bed next to my cat and for four hours totally zoned out with her and a novel. It was bliss and I felt a lot better that evening. I totally agree that cat moments are the way to go (luckily for me a supportive husband took on the kids for the afternoon!). Thanks for your posts, it’s awesome to know other people fully understand what I thought was just my own weird crazy brain most days! A
Thank you for sharing your blissful cat moment, Abbie. It sounds like the perfect way to spend a Saturday. 🙂
Yep, it was great. I’m a 30-something mama just really getting to know myself. Coming to terms with being an introvert is infinitely more awesome than just thinking I’m a bit strange. I would have thought in the past, those ‘cat moments’ were just me being lazy. I now understand how important they are. Loving your work, thank you 🙂
I’m so happy you identify with my work, Abbie. You’re very welcome. 🙂
Do you know how long I was lost in buzzfeed? Grrrrrrr.. They always suck me in.
Haha! Sorry about that – I’ve been sucked into the buzzfeed vortex before, too! 😉
Thanks for posting. I finally figured out, at the age of 53, that I am an introvert. I have been in survival mode for so long, and thought that I was extroverted because I am outgoing. WRONG. Thanks for your article. I am doing many of the things you suggest now, but will feel less guilty now because of your words.
On the funny video list I would definitely add cat videos! 🙂
HI, just reviewed your site. Great help for introverts. Long time for me to figure out what I am. Co worker is an avid reader and told me about two books “Quiet” and “Introvert Advantage”. Finally a research break through to understand oneself. Wish we had in the past.
As your site explains of burn out, I know the feeling when I get drawn into mainstream media. Overtime it drains me into fatigue and depression. The signal in my body is back pain. And wondering why I feel like this. Had to take two days off from work to just sleep. Feel happy, excited. Play music and go through photos I’ve taken to see how they came out and add to my decor.
My apologies for draining you of energy of the post?.
Thanks for reading.
There is a word in Japanese for your cat moments…
The act of gazing off into the distance without thinking.