With outdoor gatherings like festivals, barbeques, picnics, and drinks in our favourite beer gardens, it’s not uncommon for us to feel a little burnout with all the extra things we have planned during the summer – especially with work on top too.
So how can you keep it under control and spot the signs of when you need to take a step back?
Kate Bithell, mental health nurse at private rehab clinic Delamere explains why we get burnout during what is supposed to be a “relaxing season”, how you can spot the signs and what you can do to avoid it this summer.
Why do we get burnout during summer?
Though summer is often hailed as a season for rest and relaxation, we often find ourselves feeling the opposite, and there are several reasons why.
Firstly, work. You may have noticed that now summer is in full swing, colleagues tend to be out of the office a little bit more than usual, going to festivals, seeing friends and taking much-needed vacations, meaning that you have to fill in during their absence, adding to your already hectic to-do list. This can lead to burnout.
It’s not just work that can contribute to burnout during summer; our personal lives can get in the way too. With warmer weather during the summer, many of us like to spend time making the most of it before autumn sets in, whether hosting BBQs, enjoying a drink in a beer garden, or just spending time with friends or loved ones.
While making lots of plans might seem like a great idea, when your diary becomes full and you have no time to rest, recharge and relax, you may feel exhausted, overwhelmed and unable to keep up.
Not only that, but this “need” to make the most of summer can also create unnecessary pressure to do so instead of simply being in the moment – this may make you feel exhausted or disappointed when it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
What are the signs you are heading for burnout?
Feeling disengaged or withdrawn
If your diary is full of exciting plans this summer, but you find yourself unengaged, withdrawn or unexcited by the prospect of them, it may be a sign that you are heading for burnout.
Disengagement may also manifest as feeling disinterested in your work or taking longer to complete tasks than usual.
Suppose you think you might be on the verge of burnout due to stress, increased workload, or a busy schedule during summer. In that case, you may begin to experience and display emotional and physical signs of exhaustion.
People begin to feel a lack of physical energy, but they also develop feelings of being emotionally drained and depleted. A common sign of exhaustion is the lack of motivation to get out of bed in the morning, or day-to-day life becomes more challenging.
Over-exhaustion and extreme tiredness can result in sickness, and burnout’s energy shortage can lead to decreased immunity to common colds or flu.
You are more irritable or sensitive than normal
Another sign you might struggle with burnout is feeling more irritable or sensitive than normal; this could manifest as aggression towards your family, friends and colleagues.
While everybody experiences some negative emotions occasionally, it’s vital to recognise when these feelings are becoming unusual.
What can you do to avoid getting burned out during the summer?
Take time to pause and relax
Most importantly, to avoid getting burnt out during summer, take time out to pause and reset – and that doesn’t mean just going on holiday.
Summer can be a great time to recharge, relax, and have fun with friends. If you like to keep busy, then make sure to plan less strenuous activities around your busy days, such as lying in the sun with friends and family or going for walks. Activities like this that make you feel good are great for the body and mind and can help you to get enough rest during the season.
Don’t be afraid to say no
While many of us want to make the most of summer, with its long evenings and warm temperatures, you want to ensure that you aren’t over-exerting yourself with plans, especially if your schedule at work is a bit more hectic.
Learning to say no and knowing your boundaries may be the key to avoiding burnout this summer. If you’ve got too much planned one week or an activity that feels like it’s going to be too draining, then taking a step back and saying no to things you don’t want to do can help you make the most of your time and be present in the moments that are important to you.
Switch off from work while on vacation
If you’ve got a holiday booked this summer and want to use the time to relax and recharge, you must switch off from work during this time.
While it can feel impossible at times, one of the easiest ways to do this is to either mute any work-related notifications on your phone or delete any apps like email, Slack or Teams so that you aren’t tempted to check what is happening.
You might also want to set boundaries with staff and managers not to contact you unless it is an emergency so you can get some much-needed rest.