The treatments for burnout are as wide and varied as the causes. Explore some of the options here, but don’t become discouraged if your results are not immediate. It may take patience to find your individual remedy.
While there are no sure-fire answers or guaranteed solutions, there are a number of options that can assist in breaking the cycle of feeling disconnected. The strategies below may be helpful when the problem isn’t one of drastic proportions, such as clinical depression or a chemical imbalance.
Learn in a group. Sign up for a class in, well, anything. Start with a one-shot cooking course offered through your public school system, or go on a week-long adventure. The mind needs the stimulation that comes from new experiences. Make it a goal to take a class or attend a workshop every quarter. The topic isn’t important it’s the act of stretching your mind that matters.
Learn one-on-one. Many young professionals set up “informational interviews” with seasoned professionals to seek advice and gain insight into the field they’re interested in entering. This practice can also work for those with more experience. Pick someone you admire, invite them to lunch and ask about their life experiences. It’s amazing what insights can come out of a candid conversation. Similarly, hiring a life coach may provide a perspective that could be just what you need.
Teach. Teaching is an energizing activity. Whether you’re working part-time for a local college or giving a talk to colleagues, sharing your knowledge with others can often be as rewarding for you as it is for them.
Embark on a physical challenge. An extreme example is a marathon or triathlon, but you don’t have to go that far to reap the benefits of setting and achieving a physical goal. Taking a class in a new sport, or joining a local team, can help you get up and moving.
Change how you eat. Pick a healthy way to alter your eating habits and try it consistently for two weeks. Fourteen days without any sugar, caffeine or wheat might convince you to look at nutrition differently. Whatever change you decide to make, while you’re at it, drink a bit more water. Many people who suffer from fatigue are simply dehydrated.
Get “in touch.” Massage, healing touch, acupuncture, Rolfing, etc.: there are many different healing arts, and each has its proponents. Trying one—or better yet, a variety—of treatments might hold surprising results. There is indeed a mind/body connection, as you will see firsthand.
Consult an expert. Seek the advice of professionals who help people perform at their best physically, such as nutritionists, personal trainer and holistic healers. These and others can help you explore new ways of thinking—and feeling. And while you’re at it, you might pay a visit to your family practitioner for a full physical.
Volunteer. Putting yourself outside of yourself is a tremendous way to gain new insights. Once they volunteer, many people find tremendous value comes from giving back to the community and to others.
Find a support group. Contact a local counseling center or church and describe the type of group you’re looking for. Try several—they are each very different and every group has it’s own goals. Be open minded: for example, even if you don’t feel you have an addiction many 12-step organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous will welcome interested people to attend their “open” meetings (call ahead first).
Examine your faith. In today’s fast-paced society, spirituality often takes a backseat to more urgent matters. Make time to explore your belief system—whatever it may be. Attend worship services, meditate or go on a spiritual retreat. If you’re unsure of your beliefs, read a book on world religions or take a study course. Keep an open mind.
Regardless of what area(s) you feel a lack of balance in, problems usually don’t simply go away without some sort of focused attention. There is truth in the saying, “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.” For most of us the key is to modify our current attitudes and behaviors. And as scary as change can be, it’s a heck of a lot better than living life feeling disconnected.