Episode 149: My Active Burnout Recovery Process

February 28, 2023

Chasing Simple Marketing


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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

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The Chasing Simple Content Planner

Learning how to recover from business burnout quickly allows you to continue making strides toward your yearly goals.

How to Recover From Business Burnout

At the end of October last year, I began to hit a wall. That familiar feeling of burnout was creeping in, and I ended up going down hard. It was the most severe episode of burnout that I’ve ever experienced, and it took me multiple weeks of really stepping away from my business to recover from it.

As this was happening, I shared about the burnout and the recovery I was doing on Instagram and had requests to do an entire podcast episode about it. So while I hope that you never end up in a situation similar to mine, if you do, this episode is here to showcase how I recovered from my own burnout.

Today I’m sharing what my experience was like, how I ended up there, and the exact steps I took to recover from it.

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

  • Let me help ease your burn-out stress, book a 1:1 Content Marketing Strategy call
  • Are you looking to improve your content without spending a ton of time and mental energy doing so? Whether you’re looking for help knowing what to talk about, setting up content systems, or improving your launch strategy, the Chasing Simple Shop has something for you. From A Year of Content Prompts broken up by type of content, to my Launch Strategy Mini-Course – the Chasing Simple Shop is the quick and simple way to take your content to the next level. And you can get 10% off any item by using the code LISTENER at checkout! Just head to amandawarfield.com/shop/ and again, that code for 10% off is LISTENER!
  • This week’s episode is brought to you by the Chasing Simple Content Planner and you can grab your own at amandawarfield.com/planner/
  • This week’s action step: If you are recovering from burnout, I highly recommend writing out a new schedule for yourself. Getting rid of my assigned time blocks and just having that simple list that I try and run down and mark off has helped to give me some sort of structure, but also major flexibility. Which is what my brain needs.
  • This week’s book recommendation: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
  • Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield

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Have a comment about today’s episode, or a topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode? Shoot me an email over at hello@amandawarfield.com!

Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate

At the end of October last year, I began to hit a wall. That familiar feeling of burnout was creeping in and I ended up going down hard. . It was the most severe burnout episode that I have ever experienced, and it took me multiple weeks of really stepping back from my business to recover from it. As this was happening, I shared about the burnout and the recovery I was doing on Instagram, and I had requests to do an entire podcast episode about it.

So while I hope that you never end up in a situation similar to mine, if you do, I hope this episode will be here to. Showcase how I recovered from my own burnout and be here as a helping hand for you. Today I’m sharing what my experience was like, how I ended up there, and the exact steps that I took to recover from it.

You’re listening to episode 149 of The Chasing Simple Podcast, and I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. This week’s episode is brought to you by the Chasing Simple Content Planner, and you can grab your own at amanda warfield.com/planner.

I guess we should start with how I ended up in such severe burnout. So at the beginning of 2022, I set my goals, my intentions for the year, and one of my goals was really to take better care of myself and focus on doing less and really tackle my. My belief that my productivity was tied to my worth and that my business success was tied to my worth.

And you know, that meant that I started therapy last year and it meant that I read a ton of books on doing less and productivity in Sabbath and just, I did so much learning when it came to. This whole dismantling of how I felt about productivity and, you know, I made a lot of progress. I started getting really serious about taking care of myself, was feeding myself good foods and working out consistently.

And, being done with work at the end of the day and not. Working in the evenings and not working so much on the weekend and not jumping right into work. As soon as I woke up, I got so much better about a lot of these routines and systems that I wanted to put in place, but, and in hindsight, this sounds so silly, but what I didn’t do was I didn’t scale back on my expectations for myself.

I took a bunch of work time away and yet expected more from myself than I ever have before with the business. I had more projects that I wanted to do and bigger projects than I’ve ever done before. I had higher expectations for. Just everything productivity related. So not only did I, I expect more in less time with work, but then I also was adding all these other expectations of taking care of myself on top of those work expectations.

And in hindsight, again, it’s like obviously that’s not gonna work, but it did until October. It didn’t really work. But I, I limped my way through until October. And then October hit and I had that realization. And then as soon as I had that realization, my body just crashed. It was done. It didn’t want any part of anything.

I had no motivation. I had no desire to work. I had, I almost felt depressed, but not quite. And I’m not sure how. How to explain that feeling, but it was like, alls I wanted to do was sleep all the time, but I wasn’t having dark thoughts. I’ll put it that way. I, it had my body felt like it was depressed.

And I, if you’ve never been depressed before, you may not understand that. I don’t know how else to explain it. But that’s kind of where I was. No motivation, no desire to work. I didn’t care about anything. I, I just didn’t care. I just didn’t care. And so at the beginning of November, I said, you know what?

I can’t keep going. I just don’t, this isn’t sustainable. I mean, I was having conversations with my husband where I was like, I’m gonna be a housewife. I don’t wanna work anymore. I don’t wanna have a business anymore. This is too stressful. I’m just gonna be a housewife. And of course, he’s a wonderful man, and he was like, you’re gonna hate that.

That’s not what you want, . Like, that’s not what you need. But I, I really just felt so done with everything, not just work, but every, like, I didn’t care about seeing people. I didn’t care about being engaged at my church like I normally am. There was so much that I just didn’t care about. So November rolled around and I said, you know what?

I’m burnt. We’re gonna try some active burnout recovery where I am going to be focused each day only on actively recovering from this burnout. And I shared this on Instagram and I got request to talk about this experience once it was over. here on the podcast. And so here I am today to share my experience.

But I just wanna preface this by saying I’m not a doctor, I am not a health specialist. This is not medical advice in any way, shape, or form. I’m just sharing what worked for me and what I did. So that being said, first week, I, again exhausted, no motivation, no burnout, nothing. my only goal that entire week.

Was to implement a daily top three. Three things that needed to get done each day, and my week kind of looked like this, so I was getting full night’s sleep. and then I would wake up and within an hour I would need to go back to sleep because I was that tired and I would go back to sleep for another couple of hours and the rest of the day, like I stayed in my pajamas.

It was really just a lot of trying to take care of myself and rest. The only thing I really focused on was making, sure I was feeding myself three times a day and drinking plenty of water. And there were days where one of my top three that I needed to get done that day was literally showering. , like that’s how little motivation I had all of my routines thrown out the window.

If there was a chore or other, like normal part of my routine that I wanted to get done, like laundry, it had to take up one of my top three spots. And that’s all I did that week was rest. Make sure I fed myself, make sure I drink water. And I had, I made a top three list every day. And honestly, some days the top three didn’t even happen..

more than once that happened where I didn’t even finish ’em and that was okay. I gave myself that permission and it was fine. It was very much a taking care of myself and just resting kind of week. Then the next week, same thing, but I wanted to add back in some of my routines. So I added back in my morning routine, which is Bible study, reading a chapter in my current non-fiction book that I’m reading, and then journal.

I also added back in my daily chores that I do each morning after my morning routine, but still before I start work, which is making the bed, emptying the dishwasher and scooping the litter boxes. Then I also added in whatever my typical chores are for each day. So each day I have different things that get done around the house, like, as I’m recording this, today is a Thursday and.

Thursdays laundry day and toilets day. So I’ll do the laundry, I’ll clean the toilets and I’ll also vacuum the carpets. And so those three every Thursday happen. So I have like a rotational system. So I added in the today chores, . That’s really confusing. Daily chores. Today chores. Daily chores happen every single day.

The today chores happen on a rotational basis. So morning routine, daily chores, today, chores, those got added back in. So I was. Taking care of myself, feeding myself, making sure I was drinking enough water, doing a top three, and just doing my routines for the day. So there’s a little bit more structure at the end of week two.

So right before week three, I think it was Sunday actually. And I’m considering the week to begin on a Monday. That’s Sunday, right before week three started, I got a hit of motivation and inspiration for the first time in weeks. , and this is actually where the the content planner came from, was that day I had had it on my, I wanna do this someday list for forever.

And all of a sudden that day, I just had 1,000,001 ideas. And so I wrote them down and that was it. Normally, in the past, if that had happened, if I was like, I’m recovering from burnout and I’m gonna take some time to myself, and then I got motivated, I would’ve said, okay, I’m fixed. I’m ready to work again.

And I would’ve gotten right to work. I intentionally made the choice when that happened to, okay, I’m gonna write down these ideas because they’re good ideas and I don’t want them to disappear, but I’m not gonna act on them and I’m going to continue this active burnout recovery and moving really slowly throughout my days and weeks instead of jumping right back into work.

So I made that intentional choice. . And then week three, daily top three, still doing that, did my routines. And it also happened to be batch week. Now. This was the week I was most nervous about because batch week is a lot of effort, which you know, if you’ve done before, it’s a lot of effort mentally, and I was really, really nervous about having to go through a batch week, and I was really thankful.

Those other few weeks. The month leading up to this current batch week, I was really thankful that I had batched my content because I was able to take that step back and know my business was still being marketed right. But I was nervous about batch week and it was okay. It wasn’t my best batch week ever, but I did get it done and it didn’t send me backwards, which is what I was really worried about.

Here’s how I simplified batch week. For those of you that are like, how do I do burnout a and batch week at the same time? So I incorporated more guest episodes, which you might notice if you go back and look at episodes from a few months ago. You’ll notice there are more guest episodes than normal because I had batched my guest episodes, every six months.

Six to eight months or so, I will do a massive batching of guest episodes that I can place in as I need them. And having those on file, like just sitting there waiting to be placed was really, really helpful because I was able to just say, okay, extra guest episode to fill up an episode here, extra guest episode to fill up an episode there.

Perfect. So I did more guest episodes. I also read a chapter from the book, so one of the podcast episodes.

Episode number 45. If you haven’t listened to that one, you can go back and listen to it, but that podcast episode is literally me just reading one of the chapters from the book, which is content that I’ve already spent time creating. I’m just repurposing it. And so yes, I still had to record the episode, but I didn’t have to think.

There was no thought process that went into it. I was able to just open up the file and start reading. 

Another thing I did to simplify batch week is I looked back at the content from that same time last year, so I save all of my content. This is the really strong reason why I encourage all of my students to put their content in Google Docs before they actually put it in the scheduler so they they can save it.

Because you can look back on the content you had last year and tweak it. I didn’t love all the content I had for that month last year, but I did take pieces of it and that helped at least get my brain going and start thinking versus just staring at a blank cursor. And I also did less content. I just posted less than I normally did and that’s okay too because I wasn’t going into a launch month or anything like that.

And remember, our content isn’t ebb and a flow now. I guess I should say. Social media, I posted less on my email newsletter, still went out the same amount, and the podcast still went out the same amount. But I just less social media and that’s fine because I didn’t need to be as active. I just needed to show up.

Consistly. So that’s how I simplified batch week to make it so that I didn’t have to think as much. Couple other things that were significant. During week three, I started attending meetings again, and quite honestly, that was possibly too soon. For the first few weeks, I canceled every thing that was on my plate, and that was so great.

Week three, I. started going back to meetings, and I didn’t have a ton, but for me, as an introvert, meetings are really, really draining. If you’re an extrovert, this may not apply to you. Meetings may actually be really good for you if you’re an active burnout. I don’t know, I’m just sharing what worked for me, but for me it was too soon because meetings are really draining, and it may have been too soon because it was, oh, it’s batch week and I’m starting meetings back.

I don’t know . That would be something that I’ll play around with in the future, I guess, if I ever end up back in the space. But I’m really gonna try to not end up back in this space. So did that. And then another thing to note was that the first day of week three was the first time that I did not need to go back to sleep after I’d woken up in the morning.

So every day for two weeks after I decided to actively recover from burnout, I was waking up, getting a full night’s sleep, waking up and within an hour crawling back in bed to sleep for a couple more hours and getting another REM cycle in week three. Day one was the first time that that didn’t happen.

So then I moved into week four. So now we’ve got daily top three, my routines, and I added in some additional work and personal tasks because I’m, my energy’s coming back. I’m feeling better. I’m still not all the way there, but I’m feeling a lot better. So I added in a half hour of communications, which is just, Checking my inbox, Voxer, my Facebook group, slack, all of those little checks to make sure I’m responding to people.

And on top of my communication again, because I was checking it maybe once a week before that, which is fine. There’s no rush, but, well, boxer I was on top of, I guess I didn’t say that all the back in the beginning. From the very beginning I was there for clients and students that didn’t stop, but other things.

I, I got back on top of my communications and I added in to my daily schedule a half hour where I’m making sure that I’m sitting down and checking in on those things. And then the other thing I added was some personal tasks that I really wanna do to fill my soul. So I’ve been working on taking care of my body, but now I wanna fill my soul.

So practicing the piano, which I’m attempting to learn baking bread, or at least feeding the. The sourdough starter and making sure I’m connecting with other humans. So making sure I’m calling my best friend or someone and just connecting in some way each day. So those are a couple things that I wanted to make sure I added into each day as I created a new schedule.

And then I also added in this final line on my list of. Bonus one hour, the Amanda Warfield brand, one hour, the match escape vacation brand or one hour household things. And that one is truly just a bonus. I usually don’t get to it, but if I’m a, if it’s a high energy day, it gives me a little bit of direction of, okay, pick one of these that needs the most attention right now.

do you have a ton of to-do lists for your personal life? Does one of you wanna work on a project for this business? You wanna work on a project for that business? And that’s really just given me some direction. If I have high energy, most of the time it doesn’t get to it. So I added all of those in and I ended up with where I’m at now, week five and beyond.

I don’t even know where I’m at anymore. 6, 7, 8 maybe, but I’ve just been repeating that same schedule. So here’s what my daily schedule currently looks. first my morning routine. Then I get ready. I eat breakfast daily chores, which again are those ones that I do the same three every day. Today’s top three, today’s chores.

communications, half hour personal tasks, bonus time. So every day I’m sitting there and going, what are the top three things that I need to get done each day? And I try, unless there’s pressing things, which makes it different, but I try to have one for each business and one personal. So today, For this business, my, one of my top three is record podcast episodes.

So getting these podcast episodes right now is one of my top three. My personal one is washing bath mats and curtains, and the one for the travel agency is to work on a website page that I’ve been working on. So those are the top three things that I’m gonna work on today, and it’s not as structured. as I used to run my days.

So I used to say, okay, from this time to this time, I’m working on this thing, on this time to this time I’m working on this thing. And that was great until I burned myself out and it worked really well for my brain saying, okay, from eight to 11, I’m gonna work on this theme for whatever the day is, client stuff, from 11 to one.

That’s my personal time to eat lunch, to take a walk, to just kind of get a midday. from one to two is communications hour from two. Like I, I had it all blocked out like that and that did work really well. But now things are much more flexible. It’s, I have this list, I have it written out on this little personal whiteboard I have, and as I do ’em each thing, I just kind of check ’em off and I don’t necessarily go in any particular order.

I do tend to morning routine, get ready, eat breakfast, and do my daily chores because it’s just kind of the morning routine that I’ve always had. And those go in that order. But after that, it’s just what do I feel like right now? Do I want to start with playing the piano? Do I wanna start with working on chores for today?

Do I wanna start with some of my top three? And if I start with a top three, like recording these podcast episodes, it’s a large top three. So I’ll record and as I start to. To hit that wall of, okay, I’ve been doing this for a while. I’m not producing my best work anymore. I’m gonna go take a break. Maybe I’ll go play the piano, or maybe I’ll go call my friend and they, I just in and out with different tasks throughout the day.

And so sometimes I get all the things done, sometimes I don’t. It’s really super flexible and I’m not sure how long I’ll continue running my days like this. . Like I said, it’s been, I don’t know, month, month and a half, two months, and I feel a lot better now, but I’m still not quite back to those peak energy levels.

And that may just be because it’s the holiday season, right? It’s December right now as I’m recording this. So that may just be because the holiday season is really overwhelming and there’s a lot on my calendar, I’m not sure. But what I don’t wanna do is end up right back where I was in October and early November.

So if necessary, this may be the schedule I keep forever. . You know, there’s structure, but there’s also a lot of flexibility and it really forces me to listen to what my body needs and what I need mentally over just trying to follow scheduled blocks. So I hope that’s helpful. It again, this is really just what worked for me.

I hope you can take this and tweak it. If you are recovering from burnout right now, I really highly recommend writing out a new schedule for yourself. getting rid of anything that you’ve done in the past, any assigned time blocks, and just give yourself a really simple list. Because this, for me, I think has been one of the greatest parts of this, is yes, I gave myself the time to rest, but I also tore down what I thought my day needed to look like in order to be productive, and I had to rebuild what I wanted my productivity to look like.

Based on the things I wanted out of life versus just, all of this stuff needs to get done. How do I cram it into a day? So highly recommend getting rid of whatever you thought was your current schedule and the way things work best, and rebuild it for yourself slowly over time. Now, this week’s book recommendation is the Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley, and I’m not going to.

I’m not gonna say much about it because it’s a mystery novel and you know, you don’t wanna give things away. So I would just say, if you like mystery novels, I really like this one a lot. Again, it’s the Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. It was a quick, easy read too, which was nice, and I will get in the show notes if you wanna check it out.

Until next time, my friend, I helped you go out uncomplicate your life and biz. 

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