The stress of life can quickly turn into burnout, which can seriously affect your mental health and well-being.
What is burnout?
So, what is burnout exactly? This common condition is described as a feeling of extreme mental and/or physical exhaustion resulting from feeling too much pressure or feeling overwhelmed and unable to perform. If you’re experiencing burnout, you may notice a range of symptoms, including fatigue or depression. Luckily, there are plenty of burnout recovery tips available to those suffering from this condition.
While the demand for a successful career is a common cause of burnout, people may also suffer from burnout for other reasons. You could also suffer from parent burnout, and being a parent can be a difficult challenge. Similarly, as with work burnout, parental burnout side effects expand on one another; stage one depletion stays close by through the separation and loss of satisfaction. Parents with burnout ordinarily report a differentiation between the parents they once were, the parents they might want to be, and the parents they have become.
Busy, stay-at-home parents can also feel burned out. Academic burnout is also common, as many college and high school students feel constant pressure to perform and achieve their family’s expectations. Frustration and lack of motivation in students are two common signs that they’re dealing with academic burnout. Entrepreneurs can suffer from a loss of motivation that eventually affects their performance.
In the last couple of years, people in the medical field, support agents, and food service workers have also been affected by burnout. Some of this has resulted in people leaving their jobs to fund their startups, which we know can be a challenge and lead to teams burning out before they succeed.
Why does burnout happen?
Researchers express that organizational elements in the workplace might be a reason for constant pressure that prompts work burnout. On the off chance that the workplace can’t address people’s issues, also known as a toxic work environment, this can decrease their energy and excitement, accordingly encouraging pessimistic outcomes like high non-appearance, unfortunate work execution, mental infections, tension, and occupation-related injuries.
Workplace burnout occurs when we experience a lot of stress at our jobs or lose our motivation to excel at what we do. Finding joy in our career is easier said than done. However, we can benefit from a productivity boost from loving or at least liking our jobs. Many of us are puzzled about how to find a job we love. Luckily, there are many tools available that can point us in the right direction.
Even those who work from home can feel burnout, mainly due to trouble finding a good work-life balance. Remote work burnout can show itself in numerous ways, including pressure to perform at a high level, detachment, or stress. Leadership needs to foster a solid, non-judgemental culture in order to find success.
How life online makes burnout worse
Unfortunately, burnout has become increasingly prevalent in the digital age due to several factors. First, the proliferation of technology and the internet has led to an “always-on” work culture, where we all feel expected to be constantly connected and available. This feeling isn’t exclusive to working adults either, social and care obligations seem to follow us on our phones as well. This has led to an erosion of boundaries and an increased likelihood of burnout.
The internet has also led to increased remote work and the gig economy, which can contribute to social isolation and a lack of social support. We have fewer medium- and long-term relationships than ever before. This can exacerbate feelings of burnout and loneliness.
Another important factor is the increase in information overload we experience, where we’re bombarded with a constant stream of emails, notifications, and social media updates. This can make it difficult to focus and prioritize tasks, leading to a sense of overwhelm and burnout.
Perhaps the biggest culprit on the list, the digital age has also led to an increase in social comparison, where we compare ourselves to others on social media, leading to feelings of inadequacy and stress. While considering how to address or prevent burnout, thinking through your use of technology is a critical first step.
Symptoms of burnout
- Frequently feeling tired, drained, or fatigued regardless of the time of day.
- Common and frequent headaches, muscle pain, or changes in sleep and eating habits.
- Lack of motivation and feeling trapped, helpless, or defeated.
- An increasingly negative outlook and loss of motivation.
- Feeling detached from friends, family, and the world as a whole.
- Lack of enjoyment and a decreased sense of satisfaction or accomplishment.
- Avoiding responsibilities or extracurricular activities, isolating from others.
These are just some of the most common signs of burnout. Now, let’s take a look at how to deal with it and how you may be able to prevent it altogether.
What to do when you’re feeling burnt out
Unfortunately, many people reach out for help with burnout when it’s become so severe that they can’t function. Being overwhelmed with burnout can feel like you can’t take on one more task, request, or obligation at home or work. It may also feel like you don’t have even one minute in the day to do something for yourself. Here are some immediate steps you can take if you feel burnt out.
- Find a therapist. For many, burnout causes us to rethink our life decisions, like our job or even our choice to have kids. A therapist can help you through the pain you’re feeling right now and the bigger questions and concerns underpinning it. There are many online platforms that offer therapy sessions with licensed therapists, like BetterHelp, Talkspace, and Amwell.
- Swap social media use for apps that support mental health. There are also a variety of mental health apps that offer tools and resources for coping with different mental health issues. Some examples include Headspace, Calm, and Moodfit. Instead of spending time scrolling social media or the news, which tends to cause stress, use that time to help your mental health. If using the internet and apps tends to cause stress rather than bust it, consider doing a full digital detox.
- Share with friends and family. Sometimes there’s nothing more powerful than letting friends and family know that you’re hurting. Your support system can help you
- Reprioritize. One of the main reasons people feel burnt out is having too many competing priorities. Make a list of your priorities and take a harsh look at any that can be removed, deprioritized, or saved for later. Asking a friend or family member to help you with this audit may be useful in deciding what stays and what goes. Put the remaining list in stack-rank order so you know exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) be investing time in.
How to prevent burnout before it starts
It’s important to prevent burnout before it gets out of control because it can have such negative impacts on your physical, emotional, and mental health. It can also affect your relationships with others and your overall quality of life. Preventing burnout can help you maintain your well-being and improve your overall happiness and success.
Take care of your body
Maintaining a healthy diet
There are plenty of natural remedies for burnout, taking care of how we nourish our bodies can help us overcome some of the symptoms.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to help keep your mood and energy levels stable.
- Avoid eating sugar and refined carbs that can cause a crash later in the day.
- Try to keep your consumption of caffeine, unhealthy fats, and foods with preservatives to a minimum.
- Supplement your diet with foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like nuts, seeds, and fish for a mood boost.
- Avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation.
- Participate in activities every day to get your body moving. You can start by taking a walk in the mornings or evenings.
- Try some yoga classes at home and follow some guided meditation sessions on YouTube.
- Sign up for swimming classes or swim at the local pool.
- Sign up and train for a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon
- Go to dance classes like hip-hop, or try your hand at some Latin flavor with salsa and bachata.
- Create your own DIY home gym or workout corner to do workouts at home. You can add interlocking tiles to create gym flooring and install a music system or TV into the space to make workouts more fun and enjoyable.
A healthy amount of exercise may be helpful for people suffering from depression and anxiety. However, there is such a thing as fitness burnout, which is caused by overtraining and not enough recovery time.
Like workplace burnout, fitness burnout can affect mental and physical health. Finding the right balance between exercise, rest, and switching up your workout routine will help you achieve your goals.
If hitting the gym isn’t your cup of tea, you can start small. You don’t need a complete home gym to enjoy working out at home. A simple place reserved just for you and some daily exercise can do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Practice activities that provide mental peace
Taking a break from entertainment news by connecting with nature and spending time outside is a great way to reconnect with the world around you and unplug from technology. Some studies have shown that spending time in nature can do wonders to lower your stress and help you feel calmer and more relaxed. You don’t have to do rigorous exercise to enjoy being outdoors. Here is a small creative list that you may never have thought of actually doing.
- Try bird watching to see how many different species of birds you can find. There are a lot of local societies that you can connect with and build new relationships with.
- Hiking or hitting a local nature trail is great since you can birdwatch and also get a bit of exercise at the same time.
- Biking outdoors is also a great way to get outside or start a new hobby with friends or family.
- Go camping with some friends and family.
- Head out on a fishing trip.
- One of the most relaxing outdoor activities is backyard gardening to reconnect with nature. You can start a veggie garden or do some native flower planting that is helpful to our environment.
Slow down and unwind! Simple indoor activities like a fun hobby or baking can help you slow down and relax. These activities also get your mind off work, family, or school-related stress. Designate a part of your home to work on your hobby or arts and crafts. DIY the area by adding a craft table or easel and some storage for all of your paints, sewing items, or whatever craft you’re going to try out.
- You can go full artist and you set up a special art studio for painting or pottery. Choose a room with plenty of space and lots of natural light.
- Create your own craft room so you can start knitting.
- A pottery hobby is another great way to get creative
- If you’re planning to do some baking, set up a baking station at home where you can store all of your special tools, ingredients, and bakeware together.
- You could also try your hand at candle-making with a kit from the craft store
Be intentional about relaxation
One of the best ways to deal with burnout is to carve out some time for proper rest and relaxation. Pausing and recharging doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are some ways that you can practice self-care to help you prevent the effects of burnout or help you cope with it effectively.
Some professions, in particular, are more prone to burnout due to hectic work environments and schedules, such as those in the medical field, experiencing burnout as a nurse is sadly common, which is pivotal, that if you’re in a profession that is prone to burnout, to seek help and education to prevent it, or treat it.
Get proper sleep
- Adopt healthy sleeping habits like going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Make sure you’re getting at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night whenever possible.
- Optimize your bedroom for better sleep by keeping sunlight out with room-darkening curtains or blinds, using a ceiling fan, and enjoying soft, comfortable bedding that helps you feel relaxed and calm.
- Buy a new mattress that will give your body the support it needs based on your sleep position (back, stomach, or side).
- Make sure you’re using the right pillows.
- Certain products like eye masks, earplugs, and noise machines can also help you get better sleep. Look for various items that will make getting a great night of sleep easier for you.
- Use soft, warm lighting in your bedroom to help you feel sleepy. Install wall sconces or use table lamps by your bedside so you can enjoy reading a book without having to get back up to turn the light off.
- Some experts recommend not watching tv right before bedtime.
- Reading a book may be a better option than looking at your Facebook before you close your eyes.
- A few minutes of daily meditation can help to reduce stress and help you cope with burnout. Learn a few breathing techniques so that you can practice meditation at home, at work, and anywhere you go. You can try several breathing methods until you find the best technique for you.
- Design a DIY meditation room or yoga space at home. Fill the room with beautiful houseplants, use scented essential oils to help you relax, and make sure that the space is located in a quiet area where you won’t be disturbed.
- Choose soft, calming colors for your meditation area to help your mind relax. Add a yoga mat or a soft area rug to the floor so you can meditate or do some yoga comfortably.
- Listen to relaxing music, add some crystals to the room, or burn some scented candles or incense to help set the mood.
Practice good self-care
Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to prevent burnout. Set aside some time just for you, where you can simply relax and pamper yourself or do the things you love.
- Have a nice spa day at home and enjoy a luxurious warm bubble bath. Play relaxing, calming music while you enjoy your at-home spa day.
- Set up your bathroom to have a DIY spa experience at home by using candles or essential oils, and stock your bathroom with luxurious products like bubble baths and body oils.
- Bring some beautiful artwork or green houseplants into the bathroom to help it feel more like a spa. Splurge on a comfy pair of slippers or an ultra-soft, plush bathrobe.
- Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, and just enjoy doing something for yourself without any obligation to anyone else. You can always choose to go get one done at your favorite place.
Keep some of these DIY projects in mind so that you have a special space at home set aside for the hobbies and things you love. No matter what, you’ll love the freedom that comes with learning how to deal with burnout healthily.