Burnout Recovery Tip: The Staycation

Sometimes we all need to make space to recover. Here’s how I did it recently.

I recently wrote about burnout, and people really took to it. In fact, the version of the article I did for Inc. Magazine got about 10 times the reads as anything else I wrote. People must really be feeling the burn!

For me, the piece really resonates as I am going much harder than I want to be, or than is truly sustainable. I have taken many steps to make it as bearable as possible, but ultimately, I feel exhausted mentally and physically far too often. At least I’m burnt out on things I genuinely love, but the toll is still very real.

I noticed that one day in my calendar was surprisingly light in terms of meetings and deliverables, so I decided this would be an ideal day to get a bit of recovery.

Enter the Staycation.

I moved a couple of obligations to other days, and marked May 17th as Out of Office. When the 16th came to a close, I sent an out-of-office message on my email (which made several people laugh, as you can see in this image), and did something very crucial.

I turned off email notifications and moved my email app off of my home screen of my phone.

Burnout is something we allow into our lives, and I knew that one of the best ways to ensure some recovery was to limit the temptation to allow it to creep back in. Well, that and I didn’t trust myself not to check my email if I saw that little red notification counter, nor could I trust coworkers not to reach out to me with emails that start with, “I know you’re off today, but…”

Stop the but, right? That’s not quite what I meant in that piece, but the word is the same and still hurting you (and, yes, I know I just said, “but.”).

Next, I made a plan for the day. The plan was to be loose, have general things I’d like to make progress on, and a theme of self-love regardless of whether I made progress or felt it was sufficient.

That served me well. I slept in (6:48am–I haven’t slept that late in I don’t know how long), and basically stayed in bed watching a couple of shows until about 8:30am.

The things I wanted to accomplish were to workout, including getting to run outside (weather-permitting, which it did), making some progress on my second book, create intro and closing clips for several episodes of my upcoming podcast, and, if I’m lucky, get a siesta in.

How’d I do?

Well, I didn’t write as much as I had hoped to, but I did move my book forward. I was aiming to get up to about 10,000 words. Instead, I got to the mid-8,000s, but also improved the structure and flow quite a bit, so I’m happy.

I did workout, and ran outside, though I did not get quite as much distance as I had hoped I would. The humidity was really high, I was pretty tired, and this was meant to be a day of recovery not beating my body up. I even got to recharge my Chevy Volt at a free car charger while I ran. I literally recharged my batteries with that one.

I recorded intro and closing clips for five episodes of my show, which was not enough to get rid of my backlog of episodes to edit, but it made a good dent in it. I now have more ready for production than waiting to become ready for production, which feels good.

I went for a walk in the afternoon, which was gorgeous (as you an see in this pic–a day forecast to be a washout ended up pretty nice). This was instead of taking that mid-afternoon nap I was hoping for, but I think I made the right call. I did sort of make up for it by laying out on my couch afterward to watch a couple of podcasts I enjoy (if you’re curious, they were Autoline Daily and Driven with Tom Voelk, who is really good at his job, funny and very clever).

I was interviewed on two podcasts, which I always enjoy. I even got dinner from a new burger place across the street (vegan burger, of course).

And I didn’t check email once. Okay, I checked it twice, but that was actually for a personal thing someone was emailing me at work, rather than for work-related reasons.

Overall, I would call the day a win overall. I definitely recharged my batteries a bit, made progress on things I care about, and gave myself plenty of no-pressure downtime where I did not feel a sense of failure for not doing more.


This article is inspired by my book, Do a Day, available in print, ebook and audiobook at www.doadaybook.com or at your favorite book sellers.

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Bryan Falchuk

Bryan Falchuk is a best-selling author, speaker and life coach. He has faced major adversities and learned how to overcome and achieve. From obesity to running marathons, from career struggles to success as a C-level executive, from watching illness threaten his family to finding lasting health, he has been through many lessons he used to develop his unique approach to inspiring others to succeed. Bryan's work has been featured in several top publications like Inc. Magazine, The LA Times, Chicago Tribune and more. He has spoken at multiple TEDx events, and has been a featured guest on over 100 podcasts and radio shows.