In August, I started to write this post and I’ve finally gotten around to finishing it. In one of my earlier posts, I talk about being in ‘robot mode’ for a while. I think being burnt out was definitely a huge contributing factor. After a good two months of travelling, I was still burnt out and I was definitely not myself. Dangerous, right?
Just to give you a little background, I usually took 20 credits per semester (I was a double major and double minor in university), worked part-time interning at companies, and ran my non-profit. I was also involved in other extracurricular activities, many of which I held leadership positions for. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy and to tell you the truth, I probably am, but there are probably many more ‘Rinas’ just as crazy out there too. You guys are probably doing or have done exactly what I did: working so much to the point where you are no longer thinking or feeling. I can’t quite figure out where along the way I stopped feeling the purpose of my actions. Anyway, that doesn’t matter. It’s all starting to come back. After almost five months of traveling, my mind and my heart are in sync again and I’m feeling like myself again.
The point of this post isn’t to go on talking about me, but it’s for others who might be going through something similar.
I want to write this because I know how overwhelming it can be to love something so much that you put your entire heart, time, and energy into it. I’ve met fellow entrepreneurs who talk about the amount of work they put into their companies amongst the other things they have going on in their lives. We’re blinded by our passion and forget to take care of ourselves.
It’s so extremely important to understand that balance is needed, especially when your work depends on it. Scheduling that extra time for yourself is crucial. Prior to leaving to travel, I was a chicken with its head cut off. I was in a serious relationship, I was graduating, was getting ready to leave (which meant tying up A LOT of loose ends, and doing tons of other things). I wanted to put my all into everything and that’s what I did, but something had to give. That ended up being myself and I now realize that it didn’t have to be that way.
I could have easily scheduled time in for myself- going for walks, creating projects for myself, taking bike rides, etc. Instead of taking these steps early on, I paid the price later. I kept going and pushing myself, but was less efficient.
The thing with being burnt out is that you won’t feel it right away. It’s gradual and it’ll get to you. For weeks, I literally lost all of my creativity and passion for everything. I watched as the emails piled into my inbox and saw my to-do list remain stagnant.
It’s taken me a while to sit down to write this for a lot of reasons. I think the first reason was mainly because I haven’t wholesomely talked to anyone about it. That was probably my first mistake.
I didn’t want to make it seem like I was complaining, like I had regretted my decision to do the things I’ve done, or even have anyone question my strength. It sounds stupid, but it’s true. So, talk to people, especially those who can relate to where you’re coming from.
One of the reasons I never talked about it was that I didn’t want to make it sound like I was complaining. I don’t have student loans to pay off, my parents have always been supportive, my sisters have always been there, and I’ve always had a strong ecosystem of supporters.
Here are some things that I started doing that have worked wonders. It’s not much, but they work:
- Set yearly goals
- Plan objectives for each day and each week
Take breaks and schedule time for yourself
- Go for walks (or runs, which is what I do)
- Watch the sunset
- Find your ‘thinking’ spot
- This one is my absolute favorite: journal, journal, journal
Schedule in time for your loved ones
- Whether this is your friends, parents, family, cousins, boyfriend, girlfriend- do it.
- Last year I told my sister I didn’t want to date someone because I didn’t have the time to wholesomely commit to someone. She asked me, “When are you ever going to have time to wholesomely commit to someone?” which is completely true. Life is only getting crazier from here. Point is, if you find that special someone, they shouldn’t add to the stress. If anything, they should help it.
I’ve found that finding balance isn’t rocket science. It’s actually really simple and a matter of taking a few simple steps to keep your sanity. Life doesn’t slow down, but keep in mind that you do.
It’s a rude awakening when one day you realize that you’re 22 and already burnt out. No family, no kids, no major bills to pay. Like I said earlier, it only gets crazier from here. Control what you can, stop controlling the things you can’t, take care of yourself both mentally and physically, and everything will fall into place.
I’ve traveled halfway across the world and am finally finding myself again. It certainly didn’t take crossing the sea to figure out what keeps me fired up. However, it did take a lot of reflection, a long break, a few great conversations, and a change of scenery to get me going again.