Exhausted and overwhelmed? You could be dealing with ‘summer burnout’

Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by the need to make the most of the summer? You could be dealing with seasonal burnout. 

Does you feel like you’re under a lot of pressure to live this summer to the full? 

From balmy nights in beer gardens to the return of festival season, there are plenty of reasons why we spend so much of the year eagerly anticipating the arrival of summer. We long for the season as it represents the chance to have a well-earned break. But, the reality often is that the promise of living out our hot girl summer fantasies can lead to us cramming our diaries with social commitments and over-exerting ourselves in an effort to achieve all the fun we think we should be having.

In short, what should be a relaxing time of the year and a chance to take a breather from the other hectic aspects of our lives can leave us exhausted, over-stretched and disillusioned. Yes, ‘summer burnout’ is real. And it feels all the more prevalent this year as we try and make up for lost time after two summers of lockdowns and up-turned plans.

Many of us became acquainted with burnout at work over the pandemic thanks to chronic stress and overworking. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) listed burnout as an occupational phenomenon in 2019, describing “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job, and reduced professional efficacy.” The rise of these feelings means it’s even more important not to put too much pressure on our social lives in the summer, despite our anticipation.

“With the excitement comes a lot of pressure to do rather than simply enjoy being,” explains Mariel Witmond, life coach and founder of Mindful Sonder. In order to beat the compulsion to pack our summer full of plans, here are Witmond’s tips for dealing with summer burnout and breezing your way through the season. 

Four ways to deal with summer burnout 

Think about your summer goals

Taking some time to understand why you’ve made certain plans over the summer or what’s prompted you to do things can help you uncover what you actually want to achieve this season, explains Witmond.

“You want to go on an amazing beach holiday, but when you dig deeper you are doing this more for show than personal desire,” says Witmond. “In reality, you might find the thought of travel tiresome and you would really like to just do nothing.”

“Be sure your goals stem from a personal yearning and not a sense of external obligation or validation.”

Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous

We place so much importance on the summer holidays and the emancipation for them to come around can be huge; however, be careful about planning your summer to the extent that it becomes restrictive.

“Planning is a great way to manage anxiety and to be productive, but without spontaneity, we can miss out on exciting, new opportunities,” says Witmond. “Planning helps to give us a clear direction, but we need to be flexible.

“Sometimes going with the flow and doing things spontaneously helps us to find unexpected moments of stress-free joy – let life surprise you!”

“Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Make time for the things you love.”

Saying ‘no’ is OK

Long summer nights and changes to our usual routines can make summer feel like a carefree time, but make sure you don’t end up overexerting yourself and not enjoying yourself.

“Just because it is summer, doesn’t mean we have no responsibilities,” says Witmond. “Set good boundaries with your work, your phone, your friends and your family.

“Learn to say ‘no’ to the things you don’t really want to do or that are draining. Make the most of the time you have and allow yourself to be fully present.”

Take time to pause and reset

Yes, summer is a time to pack in events and activities we can’t do at any other time of year, but it’s a brilliant time to pause. Many of us suffer from work burnout and other stresses, so summer is a great time to take a break even if it’s not going away on holiday.

“So many of us have been battling burnout lately, making summer a great time to refuel and recharge,” says Witmond. “Watch the sunset, lay out on the grass, close your eyes and tune into all of the sounds around you. Go for walks in nature. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good. Make time for the things you love. Nurture your body and mind. And do your best to live each day to its fullest potential.”

Images: Getty

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