Free Yourself Of Physical And Mental Burnout
Are you always getting irritated and annoyed?
Do you find yourself feeling tired and just spent by lunchtime?
Have you been feeling dissatisfied with work or your home life lately?
Is your brain foggy, where you find it difficult to focus and concentrate?
All these are symptoms of burnout.
While it’s normal, healthy even, to experience burnout from time to time, we’ve been noticing a pattern lately that’s getting harder and harder to break.
More and more people are complaining of incessant, non-stop, and relentless sense of fatigue. People are tired and weary of their lives and what they do day in and day out.
So, we decided to do a bit of digging around. We talked to psychiatrists, medical professionals, and counselors to get their take on this phenomenon.
Because we wanted to find out all we could about this syndrome, we also set up surveys and questionnaires. All in the effort of discovering the possible causes for this global epidemic that millions are suffering from.
This report is to help you ditch your feeling of burnout. It’s your ultimate guide to freeing yourself from physical and mental burnout.
Read it, take notes, and share it with your friends. Today is the day you start regaining control of your life! Let’s get started.
What Is Burnout
The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon.’
It’s a perpetual state of stress and anxiety that doesn’t seem to go away and leave us alone. This state of physical and mental burnout leads to exhaustion. It’s a result of prolonged and extreme levels of stress and anxiety. Burnout can leave us cynical, unmotivated, depressed, and always tired.
The consequences of always being stressed out and anxious can be catastrophic! According to researchers, these extreme levels can lead to impaired social skills and a decline in cognitive functions. That’s not even mentioning the senses being overloaded and overwhelmed with constant stressors and aggravators!
It’s important to note that burnout doesn’t go away on its own. It should be diagnosed as early as possible, then treated. Otherwise, if left unchecked, it can lead to serious mental and physical issues, including depression, dementia, diabetes, heart disease, and many others.
The term ‘burnout’ first appeared in the 1970s by Herbert Freudenberger. It was used by researchers to label high-school dropouts.
Shortly after, it was rebranded to define those who suffered from work-related long-term exhaustion. At the time, it was mainly a term reserved for those working in high-pressure jobs that demanded long hours in hazardous settings.
Fast forward several decades later, researchers used the term ‘burnout’ to describe symptoms stemming from other industries as well. Now, it’s become mainstream and regular as a result of our hectic, multi-faceted lifestyles.
What Could Be Causing Your Burnout
Now we have a clearer understanding of what burnout really is. It’s the extreme level of mental and physical exhaustion you feel when you’ve used up all the energy you have to give. It’s usually linked to the workplace. But suffering from burnout can be a result of other stressors as well.
Sometimes, burnout is actually a result of what we do in our downtime. Do you take some time to relax and unwind? Do we socialize with family and friends? Do we eat right and exercise regularly?
All these factors, or lack of them, may lead to the overwhelming and unsurmountable stress that you feel each day.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether it’s work-related, home-related, or just how you view the world. The outcome is the same: we’re not at a higher risk of burnout today compared to 10 years ago.
Ron Friedman is the author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace and the founder of the consulting firm, ignite80. In his book, he says that we’re burning the candle at both ends because there’s more pressure on us during a 24-hour-7-days-a-week cycle than ever before!
“In large part, it’s because we’re surrounded by devices that are designed to grab our attention and make everything feel urgent.”
So, our minds and bodies shut down. We feel depleted and stressed out. Even worse, we’re always jumpy and panicky.
Many people resort to cynicism because they feel nothing is good and can never be again. That sense of hopelessness and loss is alarming. It can lead down a dark, scary path that puts our mental and emotional states in serious jeopardy.
Here are several burnout causes that can zap all the fun and verve out of your job, family, and life itself.
Having to deal with deadlines, heavy workloads, and meetings that seem to go on forever has become a fact of the working world. Sometimes, when it gets to be too much, it can make you feel like you’re stretched too thin.
Take a few minutes to think about your work environment and ask yourself: Is your work environment toxic? Do you find yourself dealing with lazy, incompetent colleagues?
Are you going to work each day feeling overworked and underappreciated? Then that’s a sure recipe for burnout. If left unchecked, it can affect your performance at work and jeopardize your team or organization. More importantly, it also can affect your physical and mental health.
You start to feel that your work isn’t up to its usual standards. Creativity and productivity are going down and you begin to lose faith in yourself.
That causes you to procrastinate and, pretty soon, you don’t feel like doing any work at all and you start believing that you’re actually not as good as you once believed you were. That’s in spite of having the necessary skills to do it and do it well.
That goes double if you don’t know the right way to make the most of your time away from work. Even during the holidays or weekends, there are those who are obsessive about checking their work emails and texts. Or worse, they don’t take any time off away from work for resting or going on vacation.
Check out these work-related causes that may be giving rise to imminent burnout:
- Unclear job description resulting in either under or over-expectations
- Feeling you’re not given enough recognition for your work
- Working in a high-pressure, high-demand, chaotic job
- Doing unchallenging, dull work with few rewards or little compensations
- Lack of motivation from your peers or boss
- Feeling like you have no control over what you do
- Lack of resources or not knowing how to use them productively
- Not being able to set boundaries and say ‘no’ to extra work you have no time for
- Dealing with things as they come up rather than focusing on urgent matters first
While most medical experts believe burnout is brought on by an unhealthy work environment, it could also start at home. If things at home are troubled or volatile, even in the slightest of terms, this can cause a build-up of stress and anxiety.
Maybe you’re a frazzled stay-at-home with little kids or you’re taking care of an ill or elderly member of your family. After a while, the stress builds up and you risk burning out.
Not only that, but you can be suffering from burnout as a result of your lifestyle choices. Things like not getting enough sleep, eating the wrong kinds of foods, or lack of physical activity are all plausible causes. They’re considered by medical experts to be precursors to a buildup of fatigue, exhaustion, and, eventually, burnout.
Over time, this build-up will spill over everything, resulting in burnout.
Below are some home-related causes that could be the reason for your burnout:
- Taking on loads of responsibilities without help from others
- Feeling that nothing or no one meets your standards
- Having the need to always be in control
- Having to deal with criticism or negativity from family members
- Lack of proper sleep
- Not having enough time to unwind or socialize with friends
- Lack of supportive relationships
As you may have heard, stress is actually good for you. It’s a natural, healthy response to any of life’s demands or challenges. It’s what helps us flee danger or act quickly when someone is hurt.
Yet sometimes the healthy type of stress turns into something dangerous. If it’s repeated in a short amount of time, it can transform into an unhealthy, disease-inducing type of stress.
Keep reading to find out more about the two types of stress.
It sounds scary and ominous. But this is actually a good type of stress, as long as it’s short-term and short-lived.
Acute stress is a natural response, which is meant to be fleeting. Say, you’re weeding your vegetable bed and a wasp comes zooming past. Instantly, your body and mind will spring into action.
You’ll feel an inherent urge to run away. Or you may feel like it’s safer to stay right where you are, but just stay out of its way and let it pass. This is your fight-or-flight response.
Either way, this type of stress is supposed to last for a few minutes. Then, once the threat of imminent danger passes, stress levels go down to normal.
This is the most common scenario:
- Your heart will start pounding and your heart rate will escalate drastically.
- Your adrenaline and cortisol levels will go through the roof.
- Your muscles will start to tense up. You may even clench your jaw and make fists.
- Your blood pressure will increase.
- Your breathing rate will accelerate.
- After several minutes, everything begins to go back to pre-stress levels.
Chronic stress takes place when acute stress is prolonged and recurrent. This could be a result of psychological demands.
Some of these ongoing demands include:
- Money problems
- Long working hours
- A chronic or severe illness
- Unstable conditions at home
Since our bodies aren’t given the chance to recover from chronic stress, they become at risk of remaining in a state of perpetual burnout. This manifests itself in the high amounts of cortisol and adrenaline produced by adrenal glands located on top of each of our kidneys.
This excessive state of chronic stress can quickly turn into several serious health conditions, the most common being adrenal fatigue.
Not giving your body the time it needs to release all of the buildups of hormones and chemicals drains it of its energy and resources.
As a result, you may start feeling symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chronic headaches and migraines
- Excessive sweating
Stress has been with us since way back when we had to go out hunting for our dinner and sew our shoes by hand. So, it’s pretty much an inherent reaction.
Screen fatigue, on the other hand, is something brand new. This type of burnout catalyst is what medical experts also refer to as ‘computer vision syndrome.’
This is something that affects all of us, young and old. We’ve grown accustomed to looking at our screens all day every day.
We spend countless hours working on our computers or laptops, staring at our screens. We relax by watching TV. We unwind by playing games or watching videos on our smartphones.
Some argue that it’s the same as reading books and looking through magazines. But the main difference is that paper doesn’t have a glare that burns right into our pupils, especially when the screens are bright in low-lit rooms.
Having to focus and refocus on that bright screen reduces the rate of our blinking. In response, our eye muscles become overworked and overtired. After a while, these muscles may become weaker. Eventually, things may start to appear more blurry, out of focus, and harder to make out.
Not only that, but because we blink less frequently, our eyes tend to dry up. So, the film of tears that’s always there to protect the entire surface of our eyes slowly becomes less and less. This makes our eyes more vulnerable. Thus, they become susceptible to inflammations, redness, and infections.
Other symptoms of screen fatigue:
- Itchy, dry, inflamed eyes
- Blurred or worsening vision
- Bloodshot eyes
- Back pain, especially in the lower spine, due to sitting down for long hours
- Stiff and sore neck from slouching down to look at your phone, aka ‘text neck’
- Severe headaches brought on by pretty much all of the above
Unresolved problems in your life that weigh heavy on your mind and spirit.
Stuffing emotions, and not processing your feelings in a healthy way.
General unhappiness and dissatisfaction with your life.
Holding onto resentments and grudges.
Toxic things in your life, including people, places, and things.
Personal issues and dysfunction cause you problems, struggles, and interfere with healthy self-supportive living.
Just being way too busy and experiencing extreme overwhelm.
Caretakers often suffer from burnout and caretaker fatigue.
The Two Types Of Burnout
It seems that everyone on the planet is suffering from either physical or mental burnout. It’s become a global pandemic and it’s spreading fast.
Even though this disease has become a worldwide catastrophe, few people are giving it the attention it deserves. Even fewer are making it known that burnout can have a detrimental effect on the human brain, as well as other vital organs.
Let’s start with the brain. If left unchecked for too long, it can cause premature aging in the parts of our brain that regulate and monitor the levels of our stress responses. As a result, we may start experiencing frequent panic attacks, bouts of depression, and ongoing anxiety.
These areas are also responsible for our immune systems. Since stress diverts the blood to flow to the muscles in preparation for the fight-or-flight response, blood levels are drastically reduced in these systems.
For that reason, they become weaker and work less efficiently. Subsequently, you’ll find yourself getting more colds, cases of flu, and general inflammation than someone who doesn’t suffer from chronic stress.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for some time, but to no avail, it could be that you’re suffering from chronic stress. The same thing that happens with the immune system happens with the reproductive system.
Blood flow is reduced, which affects the system’s efficiency. Sperm count and quality diminish; fallopian tubes become obstructed and the uterus is no longer capable of holding onto any fertilized eggs. Ergo, you can’t make babies.
The three major areas of the brain affected by chronic stress are:
- Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC)
- Medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC)
Physical burnout tends to creep up on you. It’s gradual and progressive. It’ll creep up on you until it’s too late and you’ve gone in too deep.
There are various physical symptoms of burnout. They’re subtle in the beginning. You might chalk them up to a recent fight with your partner, or a massive project you just wrapped up at work.
Then, as time goes on, these symptoms and signs become worse and worse. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your health so you can catch it early on.
On the flip side, if you ignore these warning signs that your body is throwing at you, it may be too late. Eventually, you’ll burn yourself out.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of physical burnout:
- Frequent illnesses due to a weakened immune system
- Recurring muscle pains, joint aches, or headaches
- Feeling drained, exhausted, and lethargic all the time
- A noticeable change in sleep habits, appetite, and weight
- Procrastinating and taking a longer time than necessary to get things done
- Isolate yourself from others
- Use food, alcohol, or drugs as an outlet and a coping mechanism
As we mentioned earlier, burnout doesn’t happen overnight. If you notice the signs and symptoms early on, you may prevent yourself from reaching that stage where everything feels mind-numbing and overwhelming.
Take a look at the following. We managed to put together a list of some of the most common mental symptoms of burnout people usually suffer from:
- A sense of self-doubt, failure, and defeat
- Feeling helpless, vulnerable, and weak
- Lack of motivation
- Having a negative and cynical outlook on life
- A decreased sense of satisfaction and accomplishment
- Feeling alone and detached from the world
- You start noticing you can’t focus easily and your memory is starting to slip
- Feeling irritable, angry, and annoyed
- Noticeable decline in levels of confidence and self-worth
The 12 Stages Of Burnout
According to Freudenberger, burnout is an extreme syndrome of perpetual stress and anxiety. He believed that it doesn’t hit you at once. Rather, burnout comes in 12 stages as you’ll find out below.
- Excessive ambition and drive: very common when you’re just starting out on a new job or project
- Pushing yourself to do more and work harder
- Neglecting your personal self-care needs
- Displacement of conflict: this is when you blame external factors for your increased stress
- Not setting aside time for non-work-related activities: instead of taking breaks to rest and relax, it feels like a chore, rather than something enjoyable
- Mounting denial
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changes in behavior: you become more irritable and you take out your temper on others
- Feeling detached
- Increased anxiety and a sense of emptiness
- Depression and hopelessness starts to set in
- Mental and physical breakdown
How To Free Yourself From Burnout Using The Three R’S
Knowing the signs of burnout and exhaustion is the first step. After that, comes change. This is when you have to take a step back, evaluate your life and the decisions you make every single day. Eliminate the things you feel are holding you back and keep the good things.
It’s up to you to make a change for the better so you can feel healthy and happy once again. To do that, you have to follow the ‘Three R’ method: recognize, renew, and resilience. Each ‘R’ is a step to help you deal with, treat, and even prevent potential burnouts in the future.
If you learn what to look for, you’ll be able to recognize all the signs of symptoms of extreme exhaustion and fatigue. Keep an account of your level of emotions during the day.
What caused you to get upset at work? How did you react? Did something happen at home that made you feel sad or hurt? What can you do about it?
Keep tabs on your emotions as the day goes on. Also, write down the various things that made you happy and improved your mood as well as the things that angered you.
It’s good to stay in touch with your feelings and recognize your triggers in all their shapes and forms. This way, you’ll be able to backtrack and retrace your steps before things get too out of hand.
So, how do you stay on top of your emotions day by day? Why not try these tips for inspiration?
- Download a mood tracker app to help you identify the things that help improve your mood and what things to avoid
- Talk about your feelings with someone you trust
- Keep a journal to write down or draw your thoughts and emotions
- Create a mood chart where you note external factors that affect your mood either positively or negatively
After you’ve noticed you’re suffering from one, or several, of the warning signs, it’s time to take action. You have to stop and change your lifestyle choices for the better.
This can be done by finding support with the help of loved ones, friends, or therapists. The reason talking helps is because when you’re physically and mentally exhausted, you see everything as bleak and a waste of time. You feel weak and unable to gather up any energy to take care of others, let alone yourself.
Yet, the truth is, you’re more in control than you think. You just need some love and support from people who are willing to stand by your side. This is why one of the very first steps to try and reverse your burnout is to try and reach out to others.
Social contact can work miracles in situations like this. It’s the antidote to anxiety and life’s daily pressures. Through social interaction, you’ll learn various ways of managing and controlling the different stressors that you may encounter on a daily basis.
There are three basic types of renewal or rejuvenation. These are your go-to defenses against burnout and extreme stress.
Start the day with a healthy breakfast, maybe some exercise. Then, schedule midday and evening routines that allow you to take breaks, do any type of physical activity and eat well-balanced meals.
Set aside several weeks during the year for rest and relaxation. Maybe that can be taking a staycation at home or visiting family. It could also be traveling to someplace you’ve always wanted to visit for some adventure and fun.
Create An Inner Sanctum
Happiness comes from within. Yes, it sounds like a cliché, but there’s actually a lot of truth in those four little words.
There are many things you can’t control in life; your happiness isn’t one of them. You control your reactions and decisions. So, ultimately, you control your happiness.
The best way to do that is to set up a place of refuge or sanctuary in your home. It could be a seat at your kitchen table or somewhere in your backyard where no one will disturb you.
Sometimes that’s not an option, so if you can’t find a quiet corner at home, look for it somewhere else. Do you live near a park, hiking grounds, or the beach? Find a place that makes you feel at peace.
Then, once you find your ‘happy place, do something you enjoy. You can meditate, listen to music, write, draw—the options are virtually endless!
Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.’ That’s something we all strive for. But sometimes, it’s like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
Or like those mirages that people see in the desert. Far away and beyond reach somewhere in the far distance. That’s how unattainable resilience can feel sometimes. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
10 Steps/Tips To Develop Resilience
Have A Support System
A huge aspect of resilience is having people who love and support you, this way, when you are having a bad day, they can help point you towards your purpose and keep you motivated!
This helps prevent burnout because you can ask for help as it is needed and you never feel alone. If there is anyone in your social circle who doesn’t support you, well, it’s time to remove them from your group because they won’t help you build resilience!
Optimism is a powerful tool. IT has a direct effect on your state of mind and how you receive and perceive stress, and how you perceive stress has a lot to do with how it will affect you. And the more stress affects you the higher the risk of burnout. Even just trying to see the glad half full instead of half-empty can go a long way when you are having a tough time.
Whenever something happens, remember to see the good side. Say what that good side is aloud as this will help calm you and take a deep breath as you do.
Prioritize Self Care
It’s impossible to be resilient when you aren’t taking care of your body and mind. It is also very difficult to prevent burnout when you do not practice self-care. Be sure you are getting enough sleep each and every night, as well as eating a balanced and healthy diet. If you need a day off, then take one, self-care needs to be a priority if you want to develop your resilience.
Don’t Sit Around And Wait
When stress is rising, it’s easy to sit there, give up and allow it to affect your health. But this isn’t going to change anything. Instead, you need to get up and start taking action to alleviate the stresses, manage the challenges and obstacles and use those steps of resilience to reduce risks for burnout and get any existing burnout levels under control.
Work On Problem Solving
Problem solving skills are essential when it comes to having resilience, as well as burnout, as these are what will help you overcome the obstacle you are facing. Some of the best ways to develop problem solving skills are by engaging in brain teasers and other activities that require you to solve a problem to be successful.
Set Goals In Stress Management
In order to get stress under control, you must have a plan. Setting long-term and short-term goals within stress management is key. This should be handled as a preventive measure as this is much more effective than waiting until your knee is deep in chronic stress before you try to address it.
Believe In Yourself
It’s difficult to believe in yourself, but you need to remember that you are your biggest cheerleader. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, it will make it impossible to be resilient. So if you are struggling to believe in your abilities, try using positive affirmations to remind yourself that you’ve got this!
Remember Change Is Good
Change is tough, no matter who you are, so it’s important to keep in mind that change will happen and that it is necessary for things to move forward in your life. Always embrace change with open arms, as it is always good!
Never Stop Building Resilience
Resilience is like a muscle; you have to work it frequently to keep it strong. So even if everything is going great in your life now, be sure to always check in with your resilience and work on improving it. This way you will always be ready in case life makes a sudden change!
Overall, having resilience is one of the best ways to keep going even when the going gets tough. So if you are lacking resilience, it’s time to use the above 10 steps to build your resilience today.
10 Ways To Heal Physical And Mental Burnout And Boost Your Productivity At Work And Home
Well, it’s happened, you overworked yourself and now you are stuck dealing with physical and mental burnout. But how can you get yourself out of this when you feel like doing absolutely nothing at all? First, if your burnout is severe speak with your doctor.
You’ll be happy to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A silver lining to all this gloom and doom. But it takes some inner reflection and soul searching.
Your body will leave little crumbs, or clues, to let you know something’s wrong. And your mind will give you hints that you need to make a change, or else.
If you feel like you’re on the road to mental and physical exhaustion, you’re likely to feel an intense sense of vulnerability and helplessness. Your mind will find it difficult to process thoughts because it feels overwhelmed and overworked. Being in this constant state of overload will eventually lead to burnout, exhaustion, and a complete lack of unproductivity.
Evaluate your environment both at home and at work. If you feel that there are certain external factors leading you down a path of burnout, it’s time to act.
Once you identify these possible reasons, you have to take some actionable steps to put an end to them. If it’s a toxic relationship, get out of it. If it’s a condescending colleague, ask to be moved to another department. Find the solution that works best for you, then strive to get it done.
Now, we’re not saying plow people over. Of course, if someone’s welfare or safety is at risk, you have to look for another solution. Just don’t give up. Something’s bound to come up and unburden you from your stressors and get you back on the path towards no-burnout land.
Sometimes putting an end to a certain situation is not doable. If that’s the case, then find a way to change, modify, or alter the cause of your potential burnout.
Below, you’ll find a wellbeing checklist that’ll help guide you to make the necessary changes in your life. Remember that your well-being comes first. Try these tips to help you refocus and reorganize your goals so you can get back on the right track to leading a zero-burnout lifestyle.
1. Recognize You Are Burned Out
The number one issue people run into when trying to heal from burnout is taking the time to admit that they are simply burned out. Before you can work on healing you need to stop denying the truth and accept that you simply tried to do too much. Everyone needs a break sometimes, you included.
2. Take A Vacation
No, this doesn’t mean you need to plan a week away in Tahiti, this means you need to take a vacation from your life. Take at least a week off of work and spend the week relaxing at home. Sit on the couch, watch Netflix, order food, the works. You’re never going to get over your burnout by continuing to push yourself to get something done, so resolve to get nothing done, at least for a little while.
3. Learn To Calm Your Mind
One thing that most people who suffer from burnout have in common is that their minds are constantly working. It’s time to learn how to let your mind take a break too. You can do this by trying yoga or meditation practice. Don’t feel comfortable trying these alone? Enroll in a class at your local community center or gym.
4. Let Your Body Sleep
As your body works to recover from burnout, it’s likely that you feel tired all the time, but you still force yourself to try and get out of bed and get things done. The reality is, you are burned out if your body needs sleep, let it have it. As much as it wants. When you finally feel rested is when you can leave bed again.
5. Try Something Creative
Now that your body has caught up on some of the sleep it lacked for so long it’s time to find a healthy outlet for the little energy you do have. Do not dive back into what caused the burnout in the first place, instead try something new that is also creative.
This could be an art class, or even just buying the supplies and trying something new on your own—whatever activity you choose, just make sure it uses your creative mind and doesn’t stress you out.
6. Learn To Relax
You probably became burned out because you didn’t know how to let yourself relax. All your free time was filled with additional activities. To heal from burnout, you need to learn how to truly just sit back and relax.
Find a relaxing activity that you like to do and practice it often. This could be as simple as taking a bath, visiting the spa, or even just going for an evening walk with your phone turned off.
7. Quit The Caffeine
Before your burnout, you probably relied heavily on caffeine to get you through the day. It’s time to quit this habit now, otherwise, you’ll never be able to let your body heal from its burnout. Caffeine will only make you feel jittery and stressed from taking the rest you need.
If you struggle to start the morning without something warm to drink, consider swapping your coffee for a decaffeinated tea.
8. Turn Off Your Phone
Chances are, your phone is a big culprit in your burnout, and you will never heal if you are constantly receiving notifications of people asking you for favors or seeing all the things others are accomplishing on social media. Take a break, shut your phone off for an extended period of time each day. This will go a long way towards getting you back on track.
9. Know Why You Got Burned Out
It’s time to analyze why you were burned out in the first place. Did you look at social media and feel you weren’t doing enough? Do you hate your job? Do you feel you aren’t enough as you are? It’s time to address these feelings so you can work through them and start the healing process.
10. Make Changes
Have you isolated why you got burnout? Well, it’s time to make changes to your life. If you are burned out because you hate your job, quit it and work on discovering what it is you truly want to do. If you got burned out because of the pressure of social media, delete it, you don’t need it anyway. Once you’ve rid your life of a major reason you got burnout, you’ll be well on your way to the path of recovering from it.
10 Ways You Can Prevent Physical And Mental Burnout
Luckily, there are ways to prevent burnout and manage its symptoms. The following tips can help you regain your focus, energy, and overall sense of well-being.
Create A Support System
Your partner, friends, and family are your main support system. They’re the ones who’ll listen to you and offer support and encouragement without patronizing you or acting in a condescending way.
While sometimes it can be hard finding the time to get together and talk, you’ll feel a whole lot better when you do. Confiding in someone who loves you without reservations is one of the best things you can do to prevent burnout.
Knowing that there’s someone there who’s willing to listen to you and be there for you when you need it is priceless. And they know you’ll be there for them when the time comes.
Develop Social Connections
One of the best ways to let off steam and do something meaningful is to learn new things and meet new people. You can take a class, learn a new language, or join a support group.
Whichever makes you happier is the one to go with. It’ll provide you with an amazing opportunity to meet people who share similar likes and interests. Plus, it’s a great way to broaden your social circle and develop new skills.
Another way to create healthy social connections is to volunteer. Find a place that you feel comfortable spending time in. This could be a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or any other place where you can make a real difference. Then, set out to help others.
Research shows that when you reach out to others by doing something nice, a kind word, or even a smile, your stress levels drop down at a considerable rate.
Form Work Relationships
If you’re miserable at work, you have two options. Your first course of action can be to quit. But that’s not really doable.
What if you can’t find another job? What if your next job is just as bad as this one? Then what? You can’t keep going from one workplace to the next hoping you’ll find that sense of peace and quietude. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t exist!
Your second course of action is to become more sociable at work. When you develop healthy work relationships, maybe even friendships, you help prevent any impending burnout.
Yes, there’s always the actual pressures of deadlines and meetings. But when you have friendly colleagues, you can vent with and confide in, work doesn’t seem like such a bad place to be in after all.
Avoid Negative People
We all have at least one negative person in our lives. There’s no escaping that nor can you control how they see the world.
What you can control, however, is how much you spend with them. If you can avoid them altogether, great! Negative-minded people will only bring you down with their complaints and cynicism and dissatisfaction with the world.
If you can’t avoid them, then try to stay as far away as you can. When you do have to deal with them, limit the amount of time you spend with them.
Also, try not to engage them in any type of conversation about religion, politics, the economy, etc. Say ‘hi,’ get the work done, then walk away. Quick, simple, and effective.
Find Value In Everything You Do
One reason we feel tired is that we don’t stop to think about the value of the things we do at home or at work. We rush from one task to the next, numb, mindless, and bored out of our minds.
In other words, when you don’t fill your life with things that offer a genuine purpose and meaning, you risk burning out. Educator and author, Parker Palmer, calls burnout “a state of emptiness.”
Everyone is at risk of being in this state of emptiness, even highly successful people. If you’re not content and satisfied with your life’s work, you’ll feel like everything you’ve achieved is insignificant and lacks meaning.
It’s time you broke that cycle and to do that, you have to start by reframing the way you look at your life. Ask yourself why you do the things you do. Even the boring, monotonous things we do must have value in them somewhere.
Remember that everything in life has two sides: a positive and a negative. It’s your responsibility to look for the positive and focus on the good.
Truth be told, many times this will be much easier said than done. But it’ll make your life much more meaningful, happier, and much less stressful.
Create A Balanced Lifestyle
Changing your outlook on life will help you regain a sense of direction and purpose. It’ll also boost your self-confidence while working to lower your risk of burnout.
Yes, work is important. It pays the bills and gives your life meaning. But not striking that balance between work and home can make life extremely monotonous. It’s also the perfect recipe for burnout and exhaustion.
Taking time off from the pressures and demands of both work and home is crucial to regain a sense of inner peace. If you can’t take time off from work, try mindful meditation. It only takes a few minutes and you can even do it at your desk.
Then, there are the responsibilities of family, which can seem overwhelming and non-ending. There will be days when you’ll feel that there’s no end in sight and you feel like you’re about to drown.
That’s the perfect time to escape into a quiet corner of your home and do something that helps you relax. Take a few deep breaths and try one of the following ‘self-care’ practices:
- Pick an old hobby or learn a new one
- Read a book
- Listen to music
- Do some stretches or yoga to loosen your muscles and boost blood flow
- Doodle or sketch
- Color or paint
Reevaluate Your Core Values
We lead busy, hectic lives. And in all the chaos and noise, we sometimes stray from our priorities. We neglect our hopes and dreams amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But the biggest problem is that we stray from our core values.
The author of Crazy Busy, Edward Hallowell, emphasizes how easy it’s become to fall prey to burnout mainly because of information and sensory overload. He says that being too busy can become so overwhelming “that you don’t even take the time to decide what actually matters the most to you, let alone make the time to do it.”
These are the set of truths that help shape the way we live our lives. You have different values for work and for your personal life, yet both sets represent your ideologies and beliefs.
If you feel you’re moving farther away from your core values, pause for a second. Take the opportunity to rediscover what truly makes you happy.
Once you realign your daily life with your values, you can regain ownership of your life. Then, look for ways to integrate your strengths, passions, and values into your professional and personal lives.
Soon, everything will start falling into place and you can start achieving success while giving your life meaning so you can be a happier, healthier, calmer individual. That’s when you can give yourself time to reflect, relax, and heal any damage caused by burnout and exhaustion.
What you eat throughout the day has a large impact on your levels of energy as well as your mood. Let’s say you have high-carb foods for lunch, like a bowl of pasta or some fries.
They taste great and give that boost of energy you’ve been craving all morning! But it won’t last. All those carbohydrates will quickly turn into a sugar-induced coma and you’ll crash in about 45 minutes. What that means is your energy levels will drop, you’ll feel lethargic and unable to concentrate.
As your energy goes down, so does your mood. You’ll feel cranky and in a pretty foul mood. Just watch out who you take it out on!
The amazing thing is that studies prove how some foods can actually improve our moods. What we eat can also affect our mental health, reduce our risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s, and increase our ability to focus.
One example is that there was a study done on a group of people who suffered from depression. Researchers divided them up into two groups. They allowed one group to eat the foods they’d normally eat. The second group was given a Mediterranean-style diet.
The researchers asked everyone involved to answer a short questionnaire at the end of each week. After three weeks, they found that those who ate the Mediterranean-style diet showed a huge drop in their symptoms of depression and anxiety!
Just by changing their diet, they were able to stabilize the hormones that affect their moods and improve the state of their overall mental health. That’s the power food has on us!
The point is you shouldn’t diet for a month. Eat healthy all the time. Make it your mission to eat less processed junk foods, sugary snacks, and anything high in trans fats. All these have been identified as being detrimental to your health. They negatively affect your mental and physical health, which can potentially lead you down a path to burnout and a slew of chronic diseases.
Here are a few dietary dos and don’ts from expert nutritionists. These tips will help keep your energy and mood stable throughout the day and ultimately avoid burnout.
- Reduce your intake of refined carbs, unhealthy fats, and sugar
- Eat more foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids to elevate your mood
- Avoid smoking and drinking, especially when you’re feeling anxious and stressed
- Limit your intake of caffeine
- Increase your intake of fresh fruits and veggies
- Eat more proteins and fiber
Think about which physical activities you enjoy the most. Do you like to walk, run, swim, or cycle? We’ll stop there because the list can get pretty long.
Once you pick your chosen activity, it’s time to make a schedule of working out three to five times a week. Each workout should last no less than 30 minutes.
If you’re short on time, experts recommend you split up those 30 minutes into 10-minute bursts of activity. The time of each session is less, but the effects are just the same.
Why not take a walk at a nearby park or use the stairs instead of the elevator? Do you own a bike? You can try going to work or running errands on your bike. This way, you can get two things done at the same time. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Physical activity reduces stress, helps prevent burnout, and is a great mood stabilizer! Plus, you’ll look great and feel even better—what’s not to love!
Experts recommend you incorporate any type of rhythmic exercise into your weekly workout routine. Rhythmic exercises mainly depend on moving both the arms and legs at the same time. It gets the blood pumping while engaging most of your muscle groups to tone and tighten.
This can include activities such as:
- Martial arts
- Weight training
Create A Bedtime Routine
Studies show that when our sleep patterns are continuously being disturbed, it can have a negative effect on our mental and physical health. We lose focus easily, our immune system is compromised, and become more anxious.
All these factors combined intensify your sense of depletion. They make you think irrationally, and therefore, you lose your temper faster and your productivity levels plummet.
To avoid all that and prevent burnout, make a habit of going to bed at the same time each night, even on weekends.
Here are some pre-bedtime tips to help keep you reduce the risk of burning out:
- Avoid heavy meals at least two hours before bedtime
- Reduce liquid intake at least an hour before bedtime, except for a cup of warm milk, which can help promote healthy sleep patterns
- Turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- Dim the lights in your room to stimulate the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone
A Final Note
Burnout is clearly taking its toll on our well-being. Stress, in moderation, is a fact of life. Yet, extreme levels of stress, pressures, and demands can result in sheer exhaustion and burnout.
This debilitating state starts affecting our performance, information retention, and job satisfaction. Anyone who overlooks this problem is setting themselves up for serious health problems, especially since this is a global pandemic that’s affecting over half of the world’s population.
Burnout Does Not Have To Ruin Your Life!
Yet, there’s hope yet for anyone who wishes to battle this beast. Knowing the signs and symptoms is the first step. After that, all you need to do is a bit of tweaking in order to lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle and free yourself from physical and mental burnout.
The most important thing is you prioritize your health. Remember it all starts from within. So, schedule weekly physical activities, eat well-balanced meals, and take breaks from the demands of work and family.