Burnout can happen to anyone, it involves feelings of anxiety, stress, helplessness and frustration. There will be good days and bad days, there are very simple ways to deal with/prevent burnout. The process of recovering is not meant to be rushed, remember it is a marathon – not a sprint. Acknowledging the stressors in your life and making small changes can help you avoid falling into the burnout trap.
Here are six simple ways to deal with burnout.
1. Get Plenty Of Sleep
One of the most important ways to prevent burnout is to make sure that you are getting enough sleep. Too often people put their work before their physical and mental well-being. In life, it can be hard to juggle work, social life and sleep. However, sacrificing sleep will take a toll on you in the long run. Try to get into a routine of going to bed and waking up each day at the same time, after doing this for a few weeks or even months, you are going to see a huge difference in how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. This strength will help you recover from burnout symptoms including physical fatigue, low mood and inability to concentrate.
When we are suffering from burnout, often the last thing we want to do is exercise. However, when we suggest exercise, we do not mean going for a 5-mile run every morning at 5 am. In fact, doing excessive exercise is a contributing factor to burnout. Try walking for 30 minutes each day just to get your body moving and taking in the fresh air. Incorporating walking into your daily routine is much more likely to be sustainable than trying to fit in the gym or running five times a week. Set yourself realistic goals, because if you set yourself silly goals and you eventually can’t keep them up, this will leave you feeling defeated. Those are the sorts of feelings we need to avoid in order to recover from burnout. Exercises such as walking, stretching, yoga and such are great for both physical and mental recovery.
3. Take A Vacation
Sometimes you just need to take a vacation, none of us are wired to work all day every day and it is okay to take a break. In fact, it is actively encouraged that you take regular breaks and vacations. A vacation can take various forms, whether you want to go abroad, take part in a wellness program or even just enjoy a long weekend. All will be highly beneficial in recovering from burnout. Whatever form of vacation you decide to take, just make sure you cut off any stressors in your life. For example, if work is your main cause of stress, then ensure that you have zero contact with the office. They will make it work without you and it is not your responsibility to fix things at work while you are away. Instead, it is your priority to focus solely on yourself to help you heal.
4. Cut Down On Drinking and Smoking
Some people use drinking and smoking as their vices to combat their life stressors, however, these are not healthy habits to have and they will actively impair your recovery from burnout. Even if you have not quite yet reached that stage of stress, smoking and drinking will act as a catalyst in speeding up that process. While these vices may be soothing in the short term, you can end up dependent on them to cope with life and work stress. Dependency is a slippery slope to addiction, which will make life a lot harder for you.
The dangers of smoking and drinking are no secret, so aside from the obvious issues that they can cause, they can also impact other areas of your life such as your quality of sleep. As we mentioned earlier, sleep is vital in dealing with burnout, but alcohol and smoking reduce your quality of sleep. So even if you get 8 hours, you can still wake up feeling unrest. So avoid putting any unnecessary strain on your body and try to swap smoking and drinking for healthier releases.
5. Take Up A Hobby You Enjoy
Stress and anxiety need a release, if not it will build and build and eventually boil over. To prevent this, you should take up a hobby that you genuinely enjoy to allow yourself to release emotionally and physically. The suppressed feelings of stress can be eased with physical exercise, for example, playing football, going to the gym, bowling, swimming and so on. If physical exercise is an idea that you are not ready to toy with yet, finding a hobby can include playing video games, knitting, writing to a pen pal or painting. There are lots of options out there, but the key is to take up the hobby that you will actively keep up. It acts as a way to blow off steam, and this is far better than turning to drink and smoke.
6. Disconnect From Your Devices
Another huge stressors in our lives is the presence of constant social media at the touch of a button. We take our phones to work, have them in our pockets at home and even into the toilet for a little social media scroll. These behaviors can unknowingly result in feelings of burnout. Whether you are constantly trying to present the best version of yourself or checking out what great stuff your friends are always up to, give yourself time away from the phone and try to live in the moment. There has been plenty of research on the negative effects of social media on our mental health, so take it seriously and enjoy it in moderation. Make an effort to unplug and reduce your screen time, especially in the evenings before bed, as the blue light from your phone can prevent you from falling asleep quickly.
Do not underestimate the seriousness of burnout, it can severely impact your mental, emotional and physical health. Take the time to recharge and reset, and do not try to rush your recovery process.