Burnout: What it is & How to Prevent it
When it comes to burnout, an ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of cure.
What is burnout?
Feeling burnt out is more than just stress. It’s the result of repeated exposure to stressful situations, leading to a state of mental physical exhaustion.
While everyone has different limits, nobody is immune to burning out. The stress that leads to burnout is often attributed to work, but it can be brought on by chronic stress in any area of life where you feel overburdened for long periods of time.
How do you know if you’re burning out? Burnout symptoms include:
- Feeling isolated or numb
- Increased cynicism
- Self doubt
- Frequent illness
- Feeling helpless
Stop burnout in its tracks
One of the best ways to prevent burnout is developing healthy coping strategies and using them on a regular basis.
Move your body
Exercise produces feel-good endorphins, helping you feel and sleep better. The good news? You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the mental health benefits - even a 10 minute walk in the fresh air can help you feel better.
Get enough sleep
Not getting adequate sleep can lead to burnout in no time at all. If you’re feeling exhausted on a daily basis, try to prioritize 8-9 hours of good sleep per night. Feeling rested will help you tackle challenges that come your way with one more weapon in your toolkit.
Ask for help
Burnout can lead to a feeling of isolation and helplessness. Nip these feelings in the bud by reaching out to a friend or family member. Putting your feelings into words can be a powerful release, and set the wheels into motion for reducing stress.
Are your responsibilities creeping in on your personal life? Drawing boundaries can help you rebalance and reprioritize. Boundaries might look like not responding to emails outside of office hours, taking time off when you need it or not taking on new assignments when your plate is already full.
Make time for yourself
Self care looks a little bit different for everyone, but making time for yourself (even if it’s just 10 minutes) every day can make all the difference when it comes to preventing burnout. Self care might mean a long bath, journaling, working on a hobby or reading a book! It might not seem like much, but it adds up to your general sense of wellbeing, and it also gives you a feeling of focus outside of work.
Journaling for Burnout
Checking in on your mental health frequently allows you to take stock of your wellbeing and catch signs of burnout early. You can use these simple prompts to inspire your reflections:
- What are you grateful for?
- Describe something you’re looking forward to.
- What is challenging at the moment?
- What would make you feel better right now?
- Who can you always ask for help?
Remember: your mental wellbeing matters. If you’re worried that burnout might be having a deeper effect on your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for support from your doctor or healthcare provider.