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Avoiding Burnout While Trying to Live Your Best Life

As I recuperate from my mishap, I want to share the lessons I’ve learned to avoid burnout this past week alone:


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Abegail Cariaso

3 years ago | 3 min read

Amidst planning for my Zoom birthday party, attending conferences, meetups, webinars, all the while balancing my work load, I burnt out. I mean badly. So bad that I was hospitalized on the day of my birthday.

It was a mixture of stress, dehydration, food poisoning from a cooking class we took, anxiety, alcohol, and a little bit of weed that put me over the edge. Just enough to check me into the ER, hooked up to an EKG, and two bags of solution — IV drip plus Ativan to calm me down.

I don’t wish panic attacks or depressive episodes on anyone, even my worst enemies. They are absolutely debilitating.

As I recuperate from my mishap, I want to share the lessons I’ve learned to avoid burnout this past week alone:

1. Have a support system

Luckily, my mom and cousins are nurses. They were able to make sure I stayed grounded, and went to the right hospital where I’d be able to get help. My friends that I did tell emotionally supported me and reassured me I’m not the only one who suffers from anxiety and/or depression.

2. Go to therapy

Therapy has been my saving grace the past year, especially during the pandemic. I use Better Help, which offers a sliding scale. I pay $40/session and go every other week. My therapist has given me many tools and techniques to deal with my anxiety. Even when I’m alone, I’m not afraid to have a bad day because I have my healthy coping mechanisms to lean on.

3. Listen to your body

I suck at drinking enough water. I forget to feed myself. Sometimes I “punish” myself by only eating like a bird. Or I don’t sleep enough. Your body is a temple. You gotta treat it as if it were holy. If you’re not into the “woo woo” stuff, see it as your favorite car. If you have pain in your body, have headaches, can’t sleep, or are experiencing irritable bowl syndrome, consider that a check engine light! Ask yourself “How am I really doing?”

4. Clean your room

I know that sometimes depression can hit so hard that you don’t want to get out of bed. But there’s something about a tidy space that makes you feel better. Try looking up Mary Kondo or The Minimalists on Netflix. They talk about how owning less allows you to cherish and enjoy the few items that you do own.

5. For the love of God, learn to say “No”

I think this is the biggest thing I am still learning to do in my adult life. Being a perfectionist really places extreme pressure on yourself. Guess what? No one has expectations of you except yourself. And if others actually do? Who fucking cares?! There will always be work to do. But if you don’t take care of your mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual health, you will get burnt out.

6. It’s ok to take a mental health day.

Yup, you don’t even need to explain yourself to your boss. You’re no good to your team if you’re overworked or over stressed. In order for the work-life balance to be sustainable, you need to rest.

7. Go to sleep!

I’ve been averaging 5 hours a night, if that. It’s not like I’m even working. I’m on social media, or redoing my budget, or researching potential investment strategies. But you need at least 7–10 hours a night in order to be fully rested. What’s helped me is putting on ambient music on Spotify, doing yoga before bed, reading or listening to audiobooks, and occasionally taking melatonin or smoking a little bit of weed to calm my mind.

8. Drank or dank, never both.

What sent me to the hospital was getting cross-faded. I made the mistake of not knowing my limits. Remember that weed is usually an upper, while alcohol is a downer. Mixing the two can cause paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and a whole bunch of other scary things. So choose one or the other! Better yet,

9. Don’t do drugs!

Whether it’s wine, or coffee, or cigarettes, or weed, or sugar. Your body craves the chemicals in drugs that can alter your energy levels. We learned this stuff in 5th grade, remember?

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Abegail Cariaso


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