5 Ways to Beat Burnout

5 Ways to Beat Burnout | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

There have been a few different times in my life where I have felt totally and utterly burnt out. Finals week in college comes to mind. My first year of teaching qualified for sure. Right after I launched Building a Framework— definitely burnt out. And honestly, I’ve been feeling a bit of the burn out bug recently too. When Donnie and I both started blogging full time, all of the sudden I felt all of this pressure. I felt like I needed to do more posts, bigger projects. I had to step up my content. My photos needed to get better ASAP. I should up my social media game. Because I am just a little teensy bit type A, I jumped head-first into all of these things at once, and I quickly found myself in survival mode.

Have you ever been there? I’m sure it looks different for everyone, but when I go into survival mode, I stop planning and start flying by the seat of my pants, dealing with whatever “emergency” seems most urgent at the time. I stop exercising. My quiet times get more sporadic. I feel more stressed and usually take it out on Donnie and the Cs. My house is a mess, my email is a mess, I get behind on blog comments, and all of these things make me feel even more stressed. I feel like I can’t stop long enough to deal with any of these things because if I’m not moving forward and being more productive, I’ll get further and further behind. Sound familiar?

It always seems so ironic to me that when I get busy, instead of relying on the tried-and-true habits and routines that I know work for my life, I completely abandon them and end up with stress and chaos instead. So how do I snap out of it? How do I beat burnout and get out of survival mode? Here are five things that have worked for me:

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1. I ask myself, “What’s not working, and how can I fix it?”

Of course I start by making a list! I try to think through my day and pick out every area or situation that’s causing me stress or that’s not being done in the best way possible, write it down, and come up with a plan to tackle it. For example, my list might look like…

  • Problem: I’m staying up too late. —> Solution: I will set a “warning” alarm on my phone for half an hour before I want to be in bed and start wrapping up whatever I’m doing at that point.
  • Problem: I start out my days sluggishly and hit “snooze” way too many times. —> Solution: I will plug my phone in across the room instead of right on my nightstand so I have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm. (I was shocked at what a difference this made!)
  • Problem: I’m always waiting until the last minute to write/finish my blog posts, causing stress and perhaps compromising quality. —> Solution: I will commit to having my editorial calendar planned out at least a month in advance and set deadlines for each post to be completed several days before it’s due to go live.

Defining the problem areas and coming up with solutions for them really helps to give me a clear picture of what I need to work on and which action steps I can take to improve my situation rather than continuing with the same vicious cycle.

2. I reestablish my morning routine, asking “What 5 things do I want to accomplish at the very beginning of my day?”

I am a huge proponent of morning routines! I believe they can make or break your day, but while I’ve always had my ideal routine in mind, when burnout happens, I often abandon it. To get out of my bad morning rut, I’ll come up with the five things that I want to do at the very start of my day, write them down, and commit to doing them on a consistent basis. My morning routine involves…

  • Waking up at 6 and reading my Bible and praying
  • Looking over my goals and plans for the day
  • Making my bed (It really does make me feel better for the whole day!)
  • Doing a short workout
  • Having breakfast with the Cs

5 Ways to Beat Burnout | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

When I follow through with this routine, I know that my day will go SO much more smoothly! Your routine may look similar to mine or completely different– do what works for you!

3. I become more intentional about my time.

When I really need to crack down on how I’m spending my time, I break out my time blocking printable. This simple sheet allows me to list everything I need to get done and assign each task a specific time slot during the day. I’m less likely to waste time when I plan like this because I know falling behind in one area will put me behind for the rest of the day.

5 Ways to Beat Burnout | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Another little trick I use to try to be more intentional about my time is the 25/5 rule, which I first read about in one of Amy Lynn Andrews‘ Useletters (which are fantastic and so helpful. Definitely subscribe.) Basically, I set the alarm on my phone for 25 minutes {clearly I love the alarm on my phone 😉 } and commit to focusing on the task at hand for those 25 minutes, not going on Facebook, checking Twitter or email, etc. Then when the 25 minutes is up, I set the alarm for 5 more minutes and have that time to do whatever I want. Not only does this help me stay focused on whatever I’m trying to accomplish, it really showed me how much time during the day I waste on social media or other distractions when the 5 minutes felt SO short.

4. I reestablish my evening routine, asking “What 5 things do I want to have completed before I go to bed each night?”

Like my morning routine, I think the evening routine is so, so important! What I do at night can make or break my next day, so when I’m feeling burnt out, this is another area I try to revisit. In the evening I like to…

  • Straighten up the kitchen and living room
  • Brush my teeth/wash my face/get my PJs on
  • Schedule out social media for the following day
  • Get my email inbox down to 0
  • Use my time blocking sheet to plan out the following day

5 Ways to Beat Burnout | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Again, your routine might look similar or completely different, but if you find yourself in survival mode, try coming up with a routine of your own and see how it helps your day.

5. Focus on someone else.

I find that when I’m in survival mode, it is a very selfish time for me. I’m always thinking, “I’m so busy. What do I need to do next? How can I get ahead?” It’s just not a great place to put my focus or a healthy mindset to have. So one of the ways I break the cycle of burnout is by focusing on others. I’ll write an encouraging text/note/email to a friend. I’ll take someone dinner or coffee. I’ll take one of the Cs on a surprise date. Whatever I can think of to get the focus off myself and onto helping or serving someone else in some way, I try to do it. Because (confession!) even though I act like it sometimes, the whole world does not revolve around me, and it’s important to take time for others as well.

5 Ways to Beat Burnout | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

So those are my 5. I know that in the midst of burnout it can feel like it’s never going to end, but we don’t have to live life in survival mode! These things are so simple and anyone can do them, but they really do make a big impact on how I spend my time and how productive I am during my day. I hope they’ll be helpful for you too.

What strategies help you to beat burnout?

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This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.


  1. Sounds very familiar. Unfortunately I’ve tried to set all kinds of routines for myself (big and small) and never stick to them. This morning, for example, I should have got up and gone for a half hour walk before work . . . instead woke up with a headache and didn’t bother and now it’s past 10am and I’m still 70% asleep. This will come back to bite me, stress-wise.


    1. Michelle,

      I know you are probably waiting for a response from Abby, but I thought I would share my thoughts, too! When you wake up with a headache, your morning plan goes right out the window, right? Rather than let that frustrate you, think about it as your body telling you that you need to take some time out for yourself. Maybe your life is out of balance, and you haven’t been taking enough time out for yourself – you haven’t been eating right, getting enough sleep, trying to be TOO productive, etc.

      There is no way to control every day; all you can do is set up a plan and try your best. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    2. justagirlabby says:

      Girl, I have so been there! Sometimes it’s just really hard to feel motivated. When I’m in a rut, I really try to focus in on my “why.” Why do I want to get up early so I can do XYZ? If the answer is “because I feel like I’m supposed to,” I usually won’t end up doing it. I need a better reason. If it’s “because I know I’ll have more energy and feel better all day” or “I’ll be able to be a better mom to my kids if I can get XYZ done before they wake up” I’m more likely to act on it because I have a more important “why.” I love what Dawn said, too. We all need to give ourselves grace sometimes! Have a wonderful week, Michelle!

      ~Abby =)

  2. These are such great tips. I definitely need to apply some of them to my life!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true! That can be the hard part sometimes, but I try to think of all that will result if I am able to be disciplined about it and that usually helps kick me into high gear. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful week, Rochell!

      ~Abby =)

  3. This is great! I like how you list out problems and solutions.

  4. JaneEllen says:

    My comment might make you feel like running screaming. I’m a very spontaneous
    person, hate planning anything, if I do, nothing seems to go right. I seem to glide thru my life, get done what I can and can forgive myself for what didn’t get done. I’ve raised 4 kids and they are all doing quite well for themselves. Used to drive my Mom crazy I didn’t like to plan. Hubs is a planner and has to be on time and then some. I’m on time for appointments now, ( have been for few years now), but try to schedule them for my advantage not other persons. If this sounds selfish, maybe I could be different but would anybody want me around them if I was? My best method of dealing with life is kind of cruising thru and not getting myself in a dilemma or tizzy. Guess there are people like me so people like yourselves are even happier, certainly admire folks like yourself, it’s just not me. Took me few years to figure out how I was happiest. Now in old age can be that way without causing anybody else any inconvenience, except for hubs and he’s a control freak.
    Hope your week is what you want/need it to be.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      To each his own, I say! If you’ve found what works for you, stick to it! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great week, JaneEllen!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Abby,
    I love your suggestions here. ,y day always goes better, I’m calmer whether the day dissolves Into chaos or not if I spend time with God first. He then helps me prioritise what I need to do. As a mother to three who works outside out home full time I am organised. I have lists for shopping, plan my meals around my shopping needs and budget and get everything I need for the next day ready the night before. Lunches, uniforms if not ironed, on the ironing board. Bags are packed and the plan for the next day is sorted, work shifts, my husband is a nurse and my older two have work shifts to juggle around too as well as after school activities. We also have a large whiteboard up near my my home phone and a calendar there too. I put up rosters for the year into the calendar and we transfer them to the whiteboard for the month. My husband writes up his work roster and any other commitments as well as my kids write up their activities, university and school commitments and job outside commitments they have, we are then able to look at it in a glance and work out who is where, who is driving whom etches. It really makes a difference. I get out the dinner stuff In the morning before work so I don’t have to figure out dinner when my brain is in transition from work to home. I make lunches for the next day as I cook dinner and line up all the lunch boxes production style. It makes life easier and I get some down time at the end of the evening too. Admittedly I don’t have too many hours of sleep, usually on average around 6 hours per night but it world okay for me. I go to the gym twice a week according to what’s available for me to go time wise and I swim laps at my local poo, whilst my youngest son he’s nine, is having his swimming lessons. For me it’s all about efficiency of time.
    Loving your point 5. Something I have to push myself to do but really works to get me out of a funk mode. Thanks for a fabulous post and site.
    God bless you

  6. Emily, Our house now a home says:

    I am the same way as you with feeling like I have to up my game. Then things get frantic, I feel like every little thing can be “the” thing to get me to the next level. It can be exhausting, I think most of the time feeling burnt out it a self imposed thing. Which can make me go even more crazy. You mean I am putting myself through this madness?!!! I can only imagine the pressure you feel now that this blog is your only source of income to support your family. That is huge! But, just know that you are where you are for doing you, being you, and continue doing what you are doing. Because of how you are and how you have handled things is the reason you have this success. It is hard when burn out hits, sometimes taking a break for a day or two is needed just as much as hunkering down and getting things done.

  7. Thanks for keeping it real! We all feel this way from time to time – hang in there when burnout strikes next time :). We all think you are pretty great and know you can do it! xx, b @being-bianca.com

  8. I, too, go through pockets of burn out. In fact, I just had a mini-meltdown a few weeks ago and asked my boss for more time off. And, surprisingly, he said yes! I’m in my second week of leaving early 3 days a week, which will help me to focus on others during the week (up to my eyeballs in elder care issues) and get back to focusing on me and my family on the weekends. In our crazy, busy , hectic lives, it’s hard to find balance, but having occasional mini-meltdowns is our mind’s and body’s signal that we need to step back and re-evaluate. Thanks, Abby, for the well thought out post. You nailed it, girl!

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