The following is a letter to myself about burnout and, more importantly, encouragement when burnout begins to set in.

Dear Self,

You’re feeling worn out today and for no particular reason. That is okay. Do something restful.

You don’t really want to hang out with other people tonight. That is okay. Get some alone time.

You feel bad because you haven’t exercised in a few days. That is okay. Your body needs time to recover anyway.

You don’t want to volunteer today, or tomorrow, or for a while. That is okay. It’s a voluntary position, you don’t owe it anything.

You feel guilty for not being more active this weekend. That is okay. You’ve been killing it all week.

You’re feeling lots of negative things about yourself and your activities, and, now, you begin to recognize the beginnings of burnout. You’ve been here before. You feel like you’re dropping the ball, disappointing someone or something, even though the only one with those expectations is yourself.

But, this time it is going to turn out differently.

This time you realize you’re stretching yourself too much and you recognize that you feel off. You know that being constantly engaged in activity, whether it be professional or social, for weeks or months on end isn’t healthy. So, you force yourself to take a break and relax.

It is going to be uncomfortable at first. But, commit to taking a break for a few days, or a week, and you will start to feel so much better. Trust me, because I’m you and we’ve been through this before.

You’re human, so you’re going to experience a lot of emotions throughout your life and that is okay. Take the time to understand yourself and cut yourself some slack. You have one life and spending it feeling burnt out just isn’t worth it.

So, feel free to take a break; disconnect from everything for a little while and relax. It’s okay.