Avoid Burnout with Good Self-Care
It is difficult to avoid burnout because it's difficult to know if our stress levels are typical or problematic. The emphasis on success and achievement in our culture encourages us to push to our breaking points in the name of productivity. If you value your mental health as much as I do, you might struggle with the conflict between meeting expectations at work and maintaining a healthy personal life. I've found there are ways I can avoid burnout with good self-care practices.
What Is Burnout?
It's important to know the signs of burnout so you don't risk waiting too long to address your emotional wellbeing. If you identify with several of these symptoms, you may be experiencing burnout:
- Feeling depleted every day after work
- Dreading Monday or having anxiety or sadness on Sunday evenings
- Chronically feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or snapping at people when it isn't warranted
- Frequent complaining
- Physical symptoms including sleep problems, fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, or digestive issues
- Apathy about things that used to get you excited
Fight Burnout with Self-Care Practices
If you read that list and thought, "Oh no, that's me," don't worry. With a few adjustments to your work and personal life, you can reduce the symptoms of burnout and start feeling like yourself again. Here are some self-care practices I use to avoid and respond to signs of burnout:
- Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins which fight stress and make you feel happy. A good workout will help you discharge the negative energy you built up during the day. If you don't have much time for exercise, try taking a brisk walk on your lunch break or after your workday is over.
- Set boundaries. You can't do it all. It's okay to say no to your significant other, kids, or even your boss at times. If you really can't say no, ask for help or delegate tasks to others.
- Incorporate joy into your daily life. Make a beautiful meal at the end of the day if you love cooking. Take a candlelight bath while listening to soothing music. Make sure you have something to look forward to every day, even if it's just a little thing.
- Meditate daily. A few minutes of meditation at the beginning and end of your day can be quite beneficial. It might help to do a little meditation at work too. You might find it helpful to close your eyes and do a one-minute deep breathing exercise at your desk a few times per day.
- Make good use of your free time. I don't recommend isolating all weekend to watch movies when you feel burnt out. If you don't enjoy your free time, that will make burnout feel even worse. Make plans to enjoy your favorite activities on your days off. Remember, the best self-care is creating a life worth living.
If you feel trapped in a job you hate, these tips can provide temporary relief as you look for a better fit. Doing something you find interesting and meaningful is crucial to your overall wellbeing, so don't think these tips will work for the long term unless you like your job and the people with whom you work.
Do you have a favorite self-care tip to avoid burnout? I'd love to hear it.
Psy.D., H. (2019, March 6). Avoid Burnout with Good Self-Care, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2019/3/avoid-burnout-with-good-self-care