We’ve all been there. Things are tough at work, and they’re not going much better at home. You’re stressed, you can’t sleep your dog ran away from home…. Sometimes, it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Stress is a part of life, but there are times it can get out of hand. When life seems too hard to handle, it’s time to take back some control because unmanaged and continual stress can lead to burnout.
In a nutshell, burnout is a feeling of being overwhelmed, exhausted and emotionally drained which is often caused as a result of juggling multiple roles.
Alongside this, you’ll often become disinterested and unmotivated and it can be a really hard rut to get yourself out of.
At the time of writing, we are also in December which is a month when we push us to our limits in more ways than one.
In today’s post we’ll look at some common signs of burnout and what you can put in place to prevent it from occurring.
Signs of burnout:
Feeling tired and exhausted most or all of the time
Getting sick a lot and struggling with a weakened immune system
Frequent headaches and muscle aches/pains
Changes to your appetite or sleep patterns
Procrastination and taking much longer than normal to complete tasks
Feeling hopeless, helpless and unmotivated
Feeling frustrated and irritable
If burnout happens to you, what can you do to cope?
Use these ideas to put mental and physical burnout behind you:
1. Clean up your diet. When you’re feeling burned out, it can help to eat a healthier diet. Junk food creates more stress and load for your body to deal with. Providing quality nutrition to your body can make a positive difference.
2. Take more rest & get more sleep. Working harder or for longer isn’t a solution for your burnout. Sometimes, the best option is to call it a night a couple of hours earlier than normal and get some extra rest.
Allow yourself time to enjoy extra restful activities on the weekends. Rest is the antidote to stress.
3. Exercise. Movement can be a great way to tackle burnout. If you don’t feel able to commit to a block of exercise, try breaking it down into smaller, bite-size chunks. Mindful exercise like yoga or qigong that focuses on your body and how it feels as you move can work really well for boosting your mood.
4. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is the last thing you need if you’re feeling frazzled. Caffeine stimulates your body and your mind and can create more challenges than it solves. I am currently obsessed with Pukka Lattes. With different flavours to choose from and no caffeine in sight, (aside from the Matcha one) these decedent superfood lattes contain ingredients and herbs that actually help your body cope with stress. You can find them in the tea and coffee sections at your local supermarket.
5. Meditate. Meditation, listening to relaxing music, praying, or anything else that relaxes your mind can be beneficial. Avoid ruminating over the challenges in your life. Your brain doesn’t get a break unless you create one.
6. Give yourself a change of scenery. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when the scenery never changes. Being in the same couple of places day after day can limit your perspective and close your mind to the many possibilities that are open to you. Visit somewhere new, take a new route, go for a walk.
7. Spend time with people whose company you enjoy. This has been shown to be one of the best ways to recover from mental burnout. Spending time with someone that makes you smile and feel relaxed can be the best medicine.
8. Laugh. Laughing will always make you feel better. Who’s your funniest friend? What’s the funniest film you’ve ever seen? How can you make yourself laugh? A night of laughter will give you a mental reset and put you in a better position to handle the challenges in your life.
9. Creative outlet. Having a creative outlet is another way to deal with burnout and it can be effective for improving focus and productivity, which are often negatively affected by burnout. Drawing, colouring, crafts and cooking are great creative outlets. What do you enjoy doing? Schedule in more of that!
10. Evaluate your life! What needs to happen to prevent the same situation from happening again? Consider how you came to be in this situation. Do you need to make some changes at work, a different job, or a more satisfying relationship? Could it help you to speak to a professional?
11. Boundaries. If you know that part of the problem is overstretching yourself, it’s time to start setting boundaries. Scared to say “no” to certain things or don’t feel that you have a choice? Ask for help and support. Work on your assertiveness skills so you can back away from things that don’t work for you. This means you have more time to focus on things that do.
12. Avoid starting anything new. You already have enough on your plate. Avoid adding even more! Get a handle on your current situation first. Taking on more responsibilities will only be more challenging during this time.
Taken too far, burnout can become a serious issue. There are many mental and physical health issues that are caused, or made worse, by stress.
It will benefit you to make managing your physical and mental health a priority. When you’re feeling burned out, take it seriously.
Use some of these tips and do what you need to do to feel like yourself again.
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