Burnout, according to VeryWellMind, is a ‘reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress and is characterised by three main dimensions: exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of reduced ability’.

But I think that has been put mildly. Burnout is extremely debilitating and can be detrimental to our moods, sleep and health, both physical and mental.

Yup, burnout can even increase our chances of dying before the age of 45 by 26 to 35 percent! (According to this study). As well as this, it also puts us as more likely to develop mental health conditions such as depression, and physical health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

But it’s not all bad news. The good news is that burnout is very preventable!

First of all, we must build up a certain awareness as to what the signs of burnout may be:

Common Signs of Burnout

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Bowel issues
  • Weight gain
  • Constant tiredness and fatigue
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Stress
  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt
  • Procrastination
  • Frequent anger or frustration
  • Eating less than usual
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Negativity
  • Detachment
  • Reduced sense of accomplishment
  • Impatience
  • Self-medication
  • Apathy

We’re likely to become at risk of burnout if we have:

  • A poor work-life balance
  • A heavy workload
  • A high energy job
  • A lack of stress relievers (including a network of people to speak to)
  • Low levels of job/ work clarity
  • A need to be in control
  • High levels of perfectionism

Although it is true that different people burnout due to a variety of factors.

But now that we know what signs to look out for, we can plan our strategies to eradicate or completely avoid them…

Here are 10 ways to deal with burnout:

  1. Take A Break

The first thing we recommend to those struggling with burnout is to take a break. Have a change of scenery.

It is not uncommon for people to switch jobs/ roles completely after burnout because it can end up being so debilitating.

If your boss asks why you need a break, tell them that we said you could, or show them this!

  1. Practice Self-Kindness

Okay, so say we’re burnt out, we’re suffering with a few of the signs that were mentioned earlier. The worst thing we can do in this situation is to put extra pressure on ourselves.

We would just be adding to the problem.

So don’t be so hard on yourself, noooo! (Cheers to Jess Glynne for being in my head every time I write about self-kindness).

If one of our mates or a loved one came to us and said that they were struggling with one of the above, what would we say to them?

Well, it’s important to treat ourselves in the same way.

  1. Pick Up a Hobby

Hobbies are great for any number of things. But they can be absolutely amazing de-stressors and are wonderful as a distraction from all of life’s pressures too.

In the context of burnout, part-taking in a hobby, even if for an hour a week, it is an hour that we’re not thinking about work or fretting over the future.

Therefore, why not dust off those football boots that have been awaiting the call up for the last two years!

P.S. If our work isn’t allowing time for a hobby, then something needs to change.

  1. Plan Self-Care

We’re always banging on about self-care but that’s because it is so important. With relevance to burnout, it might be that you need to actually schedule in your self-care.

This could mean arranging time for ourselves and being intentional about it. Putting it on our to-do lists, for example.

No distractions, no work, no emails, just us doing whatever we choose to do.

Self-care looks different for different people, but to me it can sometimes mean taking a day to do absolutely nothing. (If you need convincing to engage in sweet nothing, click here)

  1. Stop Super Scrolling

Social media has its perks and it is absolutely everywhere these days. Although it doesn’t have to be.

Super scrolling has now become a very common pastime and distraction.

When stressed, people immediately jump to their social media feeds to avoid thinking.

But does it ever actually ease our stress? I doubt it.

We take in so much information from social media in very short spaces of time and it does nothing but clutter our minds.

In many situations this could even add to our stress.

This often works in cycles.

Think about this, for example…

We feel overwhelmed looking at our to-do list or calendar.

We look for a temporary release by picking up our phones.  (Even subconsciously).

We see someone’s Instagram story of them sat in the garden enjoying a book or out with their friends.

We would love to do this, but we can’t, because of our to-do list.

We’re now even more stressed about our to-do list.

We continue to scroll.

We have less time to complete our tasks and therefore have to work harder.

Despite it already being extremely challenging due to our burnout.

  1. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Another one that we’re always going on about, but that’s because, yup you guessed it, it is so important!

Unfortunately, burnout and poor sleep often go hand in hand.

Burnout can prevent us from getting a good night’s sleep whilst poor sleep can induce burnout.

One thing we can do to break this cycle is to practice good sleep hygiene.

Sleep hygiene means adopting proper conditions to give ourselves the best chances at getting our 40 winks.

You’d be surprised at all the little things we can do to improve our sleep hygiene. Have a look by clicking here.

Here are a few that we like:

  • Use apps
  • Wake up to natural light
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Eat kiwis or tart cherries before bed
  • Avoid too much caffeine after 2pm
  • Do some cardio
  • Avoid super scrolling
  • Breathe (Using the Papworth Method)
  1. Avoid People Pleasing

People pleasing is a default behaviour for loads of people, but when suffering from burnout being in places that we don’t want to be and doing things that we don’t want to do are only going to exacerbate the issue.

This might even be the reason for our burnout in the first place.

Avoiding this may involve learning to say no, which you can do here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNsHdfNJnPB/

  1. Exercise

‘If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented’ – Dr Nick Cavill.

I think that sums it up really, don’t you?

Cheers Dr. Cavill!

  1. Use Food

Little do people realise how much the foods that they consume can influence their mood.

Getting a well-balanced diet may help in response to some of the symptoms of burnout, such as stress, feelings of inadequacy, low energy and more!

Click here for a guide, expertly written by Francesca Vuolo, on how you can boost your mood with food.

  1. Speak To A Professional

Burnout is severely debilitating and we do not have to go it alone!

Seeking help with our burnout might just be the best thing we can do.

Find support here: https://mhmonster.org/support/

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