Recently, my friend complained that he did not get enough sleep, that he was constantly tired. He is a very ambitious person and it is essential for him to be the first. He is always eager to develop. I respect him for that, but his exhausted image made me remember the time when I was an exact copy of him  ̶  a burned out copy.

It happened not so long ago, when everything hit me at once: studying, membership in the social department of my university, being a monitor of my group, thoughts about the job search. That’s why my eyes began to twitch (no kidding, it is a barely noticeable, but unpleasant thing) and my academic performance at the university dropped. I did not consider the idea of burnout, because I thought I was just lazy. Sometimes I would feel the burst of energy, but the indifference kept coming back two days after.

That’s why I decided to sort myself out, began to look for symptoms, and realized that all of them pointed to burnout.

So, in general, the signs of burnout include:

- a constant feeling of exhaustion;

- a decrease in productivity;

- irritability;

- memory problems;

- indifference to study, work, and so on.

I managed to fight it. But how? – you ask.

1. Pick two or three goals maximum

In order to fight self-improvement burnout, out of the billion goals you have planned to achieve, pick only two or three. It will reduce the risk of burnout, because you will not be afraid that you lack time. 

Moreover, the concentration on one task itself is more effective. If you chase two rabbits at once, the old saying goes, both will escape. It is worth choosing a goal that brings the most pleasure. If you don't like a project, if you feel the slightest discomfort  ̶  quit it. You will not put your soul into this business, and you are unlikely to reach your maximum anyway. Consequently, you will get upset that nothing works, which, in turn, will lead to burnout.

The moment I realized that I was burnt out because of my multitasking and the desire to improve myself, I decided to do the following.

Firstly, I gave up the position of the monitor. I did not get any thanks, but got moral pressure. I did not enjoy this at all. So I cleared some space for more interesting projects.

Secondly, I quitted the social department. I liked being a volunteer, but this kind of volunteering was not what I was looking for.

2. Make sleep and nutrition your priority

 It is essential to normalize your sleep, as well as your diet, because physical exhaustion also can lead to burnout. To be honest, I had no problem with sleep, but the real one was my nutrition. You'd better be late for a meeting or delay a deadline but get a normal snack than suffer from gastritis later.

3. Accept the fact that you can not get everything

You do not have to take all the prizes. There are pipe dreams, there are dreams that will not come true now, because you are not ready yet.

This article is a revelation, so here it is:

At school, I wanted to study abroad. Since there was no time to apply for a bachelor's program, and my parents did not want me to do a gap year, I decided that I would apply for a master's program. What tormented me all the time was the fear that my achievements would still not be enough for getting in. At some point, I realized that I was living in fear, thinking "If I do not do it today, I will not be able to achieve my dream tomorrow." I realized that I was doing everything not out of my desire to do it, but out of fear that I would not be successful. Then I decided just to feel life and apply for a master’s program, when I am ready, and not when society tells me to do so.

What is the moral of this long story? Do things that you really want to do. Stop doing things for the sake of a bright future. 

Remember: self-improvement workshops, romantically busy workdays and the desire to be the first – it is all cool and respectable, but you have to take a break from time to time, like Ross and Rachel from Friends or those people from KitKat advertisement do.

Writer: Anastasiia Kutafina