How to Cope With Burnout on a Budget

Many of us, at some time or another, experience burnout. Studies have shown that pre-COVID, 40% of Americans reported experiencing burnout. Now, that statistic has changed to over half, almost 60%. These numbers don’t lie – the world is under an intense amount of collective stress. One of the first ways therapists suggest coping with burnout is taking a break and resetting yourself. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible for everyone. Many of us need to be working 5 days a week (or more), every week, to meet our financial needs. Here are my tips to coping with and resolving those feelings of burnout — without breaking the bank or going into the red. 

Take a Step Back

If you feel like you’re stressed beyond your limit (or have been for some time), chances are you’re experiencing burnout. Are you feeling depressed? Do you have a lack of motivation at work or even do household chores? Do you lack the energy to do the things you enjoy? If you said yes to any of these, you might be burned out. Take a minute to deeply assess if you’re experiencing this, and if you are, take a breath and accept that you’re in a rut. Accepting burnout and recognizing it is the first step to alleviating those feelings.

Talk to Your Boss

This may not be feasible for everyone, but if it is, consider talking to your boss. Perhaps a temporary reduced workload or taking a personal day on a Friday to extend your weekend may be possible. Not every job is suited for this type of conversation, but a healthy work environment promotes this type of communication. Consider speaking with the appropriate people at your job about feeling overwhelmed — at some point you’ve probably stepped up to help a colleague, so don’t attach feelings of shame to burnout. This is very common, as we often see dips in productivity while we’re burned out, which negatively impacts our self esteem. Let these feelings go long enough to communicate with your employer about finding a way to reset. 

Practice Healthy Habits

If you’re living on a budget and feeling burnout from working, start practicing better day to day habits to improve your overall health. The more healthy you are, the more stamina you’ll have. This includes exercising, eating well and enough each day, hydrating enough each day, and practicing mindfulness. You also might consider revamping your budget — if you want to take a small vacation in the near future, you have to save and try your best to maintain a financial cushion in your savings. This may mean living more frugally, not eating out, or cutting out some non-necessities. Be willing to create these healthy habits and your body, mind, and wallet will thank you. 

Have a Staycation

If you can’t travel anywhere, consider taking one or two personal days around a weekend to give yourself a few days off. Make sure you’ve been frugal enough to have that cushion we discussed, and be willing to stick to a set budget over your break. 

Over your break, don’t spend the entire time being sedentary. Stretch your legs, take walks in nature, or practice mindful meditation to begin resetting your body and mind. Continue your healthy habits over your break to strengthen your body.

Remember that you’re human, so be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and remember everyone goes through this at some point. Don’t beat yourself up; give yourself a break, reset, and start fresh.