Before you burn out, get some rest

May 26, 2024


Three simple but impactful strategies to shift your mindset from needing more to getting rest.

Constantly feeling like you’re not good enough or don’t have enough is a hard way to live. First, professionally, our work is hard. So, you feel like you’re not good enough at your job. Then, in your personal life, social media is making you believe you’re not happy enough, or you don’t have enough money, or you don’t go on enough vacations.

Living with this feeling of lack – of not being good enough or not having enough – is a recipe for burnout. But the good news is I’ve been caught in this trap before and learned that breaking out of it is actually pretty simple.

You see, most of it comes down to anxiety and feeling like you need to do more. More work, more money, more skills, more stuff! But if you can break through the anxiety, and start giving your mind, body, and spirit some rest, you can change your whole perspective.

So, today, I want to talk about the mindset shift from more to rest, and three simple but impactful ways you can practice it so you avoid burnout, and become healthier emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Let’s jump in.

Rest is a simple concept. Rest means turning off your mind to the external anxieties that are always cropping up, and in its simplest form, rest is being totally immersed in the present moment.

Once we realize that this present moment is enough (there’s that word again), we can shift from needing more, to getting rest.

In my journey, I’ve found three strategies particularly helpful in shifting from needing more to getting rest:

  1. Whatever you’re doing, be in the moment. Earlier this month, I came down with a 24-hour stomach bug. Every few hours, I was filled with anxiety because I had work to do and felt like I was falling behind. Instead of letting that thought win, I kept reminding myself to be in this moment. I couldn’t do anything about the work, so what was the point of getting anxious about it? I would get to it when I got to it, but worrying certainly wasn’t going to help get it done. So, as I reminded myself to just be, I was reminding my body to get some much-needed rest. It worked exceedingly well for me mentally and physically – and spoiler alert – I ended up getting caught up on my work anyway. The anxiety wasn’t necessary! All I needed to do was be in the moment. You can practice this at any time – let the anxiety be your indicator that it’s time to settle into the present moment.
  2. Plan rest. Every week, I take Saturday as a full, guilt-free rest day. I don’t let myself do work or worry about work. I just enjoy breakfast with my wife, walking with my dog, and watching the Premier League. Until two years ago, I always had a work plan but never had a rest plan. So, make sure you are planning rest into your week in the same way you are planning work, because it makes a huge difference toward burnout and being the best version of you.
  3. Measure backward. I went to my mentor two years ago and said, “I keep reaching traditional milestones of success – promotions, winning sales, getting married – but for some reason I still don’t feel successful.” He responded right away that it’s because I was measuring forward instead of measuring backward. What does this mean? I was looking ahead to where I wanted to be – the ideal version of myself that I thought was somewhere out in the future – rather than looking back to where I came from. Of course I wasn’t feeling successful! I was constantly measuring against an ideal instead of against real progress that I had already made. If you want to shift from more to rest, make sure you are measuring your progress backward so you can actually feel the progress you’ve made, instead of forward where you’ll never be good enough.

The SparkNotes. Burnout is hard. Anxiety grabs us and makes everything in our life hard, and before we know it, life is even harder and we’re not healthy emotionally, physically, or psychologically – which makes us worse people, friends, spouses, employees, bosses, and the rest.

If you want to avoid burnout, focus on being in the present moment, planning rest, and measuring backward. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to break out of your burnout cycle and start loving life. Go get started right away and let me know if I can help. Good luck, friends. You got this. 

Matt Verderamo, MS is a consultant at Well Built Construction Consulting. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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