Do you find yourself becoming more critical or cynical while at work? Are you experiencing changes in your appetite and sleeping patterns? Do you always feel tired and find it difficult to concentrate on your job? If you do, you may be experiencing burnout.
Burnout is a gradual process that occurs when prolonged stress results in a person becoming physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. As your stress levels increase, you feel overwhelmed and eventually lose the joy and motivation you initially had for a particular role or responsibility. Burnout is most often related to a person’s work. However, anyone who feels overworked and underappreciated for an extended period of time may experience burnout.
Burnout is not a medical diagnosis, but it can lead to physical and mental health issues if left unchecked. The syndrome is becoming more prevalent today, perhaps due to the many social and work-related changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, professional help is available for people who are currently under extreme levels of stress. If you are living in Melbourne, for example, you can visit mvsgroup.com.au to access high quality care from licensed clinical psychologists in your area.
If you believe you are at risk of burnout, there are steps you can take to prevent it. Consider the five helpful tips below:
1. Engage in Physical Exercise
Exercise is a great way to recalibrate yourself if you are at risk of burnout. A good physical workout can lift your mood, increase your energy, and provide you with better sleep. Exercise also helps you to relax parts of your body that may be tense, and this has the added benefit of alleviating mental tension. In addition to the physical benefits, a number of clinical studies show that exercise is helpful for people with mental health issues such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
2. Develop a More Positive Perspective at Work
Human beings are meaning-making creatures. This means we like to understand why we do the things we do. If you know why your job is essential you are more likely to be a productive worker and avoid burnout. You can also create meaning by relating your work to a larger aim that is far more important than your personal goals.
Another way to develop a positive view of your work is to focus on the little aspects of the job that you enjoy. Are your work colleagues reliable? Do you have a friendly boss who looks out for your best interests? Does the cafeteria serve great food? If you focus on the positives, chances are you will be able to maintain or even increase your work performance in the long run.
3. Make Time for Self Care
Even if you have a busy schedule, making time to care for your physical and psychological health can help you to recover from prolonged stress and prevent burnout.
A few activities that you can try to improve your health include:
- Practicing breathing exercises: This helps you calm down and become more mindful.
- Getting enough sleeping: Quality sleep helps your body to recover by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone.
- Allotting time for your interests and hobbies: Hobbies such as hiking or playing the guitar help you to relax and have fun.
- Eating healthy food: The things you put into your body can affect your physical health as well as your mental health. If you have a nutritious, balanced diet you are less likely to experience a low or depressed mood.
4. Keep Your Days Structured
Perhaps the best way to introduce structure into your daily routine is to create a daily schedule or to-do list. This will help you to remain organized and protect you from decision fatigue. Working through your schedule helps you to stay on track with the work you have to do and avoid wasting time on electronic devices. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment as you cross each task or goal off your list.
When you decide to put your schedule on paper, remember to allow yourself sufficient time for breaks. Taking a break can refresh you and help you to see problems from different angles. You can also use your break to socialize with your fellow co-workers. This helps you to get beneficial advice from the people you are working with and makes you feel as if you are part of the team.
5. Join A Support Group
There are a number of support groups that are specifically designed to address the growing issue of burn-out. These groups are often based at counseling centers or hospitals and they often provide a helpline that you can call. While these groups are beneficial, you can create a support group that is comprised of your trusted family members and friends. As burnout is a very common issue, your loved ones have likely experienced it before and may be able to help you to manage your situation better.
Support groups can help you to:
- Share your feelings
- Improve your social skills
- Improve your understanding of self
- Recognize that you are not alone
Burnout affects many people and this syndrome is not a healthy condition to live with. While it often starts at work, it can spill into other areas of your life. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, try to practice the tips above. If your situation does not improve, it may be best to speak with a licensed therapist in your community.