Meditation can help boost your quality of life in many ways. Now, can it also have a role when it comes to mitigating stress and more so, preventing burnout?
If done right, meditation can bring more balance in your life, and you might be able to automate that balance in the sense that your mind doesn’t aimlessly wander to the past or far to the future as a way to escape your current situation.
Now, meditation alone is often prescribed as a powerful tool to overcome stress and be more at peace with yourself.
Peace can, of course, have a price, which in this case comes in the form of embracing your thoughts and emotions to ultimately let go of them.
But your mind and body will thank you for it and you’ll overall live a more stress-free life. Meditation does after all help in lowering our blood pressure.
Now, that’s assuming you do it correctly, there’s nothing worse than just sitting there, filled with expectations and without anything happening. Just sitting through boredom with the mind wandering.
The moment your mind starts to wander, you want to bring it back to your breath, or something else that helps you be in the present. It sounds simple in theory, but in practice, this can be tricky, especially if you are used to living on autopilot.
Just being present alone and learning to deal with what comes up already goes a long way in protecting us against burnout. Burnout will often amplify when we are reminded of the same thing that caused the burnout to begin with, which can either stem from the past, present, or future.
But at the very least, with the present, you know the discomfort of that burnout is only temporary. If you don’t keep your attention in the present, you might be thinking about said things all the time, which is more likely to amplify and make the burnout worse.
I’ll share some tips to avoid this retroactive burnout and if you currently are experiencing burnout, how meditation can help you out of said burnout.
That said, it’s worth noticing that meditation is not a replacement for your existing medicine and is not the end-all-be-all, if anything, it’s more of an amplifier to already existing good habits, and can be a habit that alone helps play a major role in reducing, preventing or even getting rid of burnout.
Table of Contents
Meditation Makes What You Do Easier
After all, once you are doing something mindfully, you are more likely to find less resistance to doing said thing.
For me, prior to meditation, it’s been several times where I was doing something in the present and only longing for said thing to be over, especially, that thing that was causing stress which was often school related but for you, it might be work-related.
But if you actually shift your attention to doing the task at hand, you might even be done sooner and your output could be higher, which, once said task that’s causing the burnout is done, gives a sense of liberation.
I think burnout and procrastination are closely related. We tend to see this big mountain to climb, and that time we spent overthinking could’ve been spent making progress, which would’ve put us closer to finishing.
When you are focused on something, it’s no surprise that what you’re focused on is gonna seem easier to do, and you may not enjoy it at first and nothing guarantees you ever will, but you’re applying the principle of meditation of embracing said chore.
It has less power over you because it’s being tackled from a place of observation, and you’re not creating this mental resistance that clings on to the past or future, if there is no past or future, to begin with, all there is the now.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Burnout With Meditation?
It can vary from person to person how long it takes to recover from burnout, but according to a study, some went on a 12-week meditation retreat and reported feeling significantly less burned out and improved emotional well-being.
So we can estimate that somewhere around there, but it may happen quicker for you if you manage to internalize meditation sooner and push past the barriers.
It can be a lot of hard work, not physical but mental, but the key to a stronger physical is a strong mind. And how you treat your mind will often reflect on your physique.
Meditation is, after all, a form of self-care that combines the best of several worlds. You can find the balance between being relaxed and fully energized.
It’s a great, natural energy-replenisher that you have access to at any point during the day and at its core, just consists of being mindful about the now, ideally by focusing on your breath.
Mental Strength Can Protect Against Burnout
It’s no secret that mental strength, better prepares you for anything life wants to throw at you. If done right, you could reach a point of mental strength where you show indifference to some of the hardships you would’ve otherwise reacted strongly to.
I mean, if you have a 9 to 10-hour workday ahead of you, you might feel anxious about it at first, but deep down, meditation does help you realize that everything is temporal and by focusing on what you can control, you make the best out of the situation. And most, if not all situations are just temporal.
Some form of pain is and will always be part of life, but with the mental strength you built up with meditation, you put that strength to the test until you grow a thicker skin, and you might go from feeling a 9-10-hour-day passing slowly to passing really fast because you happen to be present.
Your perception of time can get altered, depending on what state of mind you choose to be in, and sometimes, it takes several practices to condition yourself on a subconscious level.
Meditating Before The Burnout Happens
It’s a good idea to meditate before the burnout happens, instead of after. Of course, both are valid forms of meditation, but if you already experienced burnout. You might be desperate for a solution and turn to meditation as a quick fix.
Meditation isn’t a quick fix, in this case, it’s a life-long process that yes, can be very rewarding but it takes time to adapt to. How long, will depend on you. But you want to create the best conditions for yourself to make meditation a habit, to begin with.
If you approach meditation from a stressful state of mind, you might rush the experience or feel tempted to check how much time is left, which is the wrong way to meditate.
So if you have the chance to meditate before the burnout happens, do it, and since you never know when the burnout will happen, it’s better to meditate way ahead. The burnout might happen days, weeks, months, or even years from now, but the sooner you pick up meditation, the more you’ll thank yourself for it later down the line.
Doing a Guided Meditation
If you find yourself in a desperate situation to relax and want to use meditation for that, guided ones may help you with that.
Overall, I recommend doing meditation when you already are in a relatively calm state of mind, but if that isn’t an option for you because the burnout already happened, this might help.
Guided meditations are a great way to start your practice and put yourself in a relaxed state. You’re less likely to have your mind wander as your experience is more controlled, but that’s also the flip side.
Because it’s controlled, you’re omitting the important parts of facing the parts of you that might contribute to burnout.
With focusing on your breath, it’s easier to take the meditation at your own pace, take a step back and let go of said thoughts that contribute to your burnout.
So once you’ve already gotten an idea of what meditation feels like, try making a gradual shift to the kind of meditation that you do silently, on your own.