How to Prevent Burnout - Kathryn Bowen
Not many people get through life without experiencing burnout at some point. Whether it’s from working more than one job, taking care of a sick loved one, or juggling family life while working full time, burnout is real, and it negatively impacts your life and health.
Common Signs of Burnout
If you think you may be experiencing burnout but are unsure, here are some of the most common signs:
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Feeling overwhelmed
- A need to isolate
- Fantasies of escaping
- Frequent illnesses such as colds and flues
5 Ways to Prevent Burnout
You know exercise is necessary for your physical health, but it is also fantastic for your mental and emotional health as well. Physical activity helps our bodies secrete feel-good hormones, which give our mood a boost. So be sure to commit to exercising at least 3-4 times a week. I know, I know, it sounds tough to find time to exercise when you are already feeling time scarcity. I tell my clients even marching in place for 10 minutes at night in front of the TV counts. Parking in the farthest park of the parking lot so you have further to walk also counts. So does taking the stairs rather than the elevator. Anything that gets you moving counts.
Get Enough Rest
It’s essential to get enough restorative sleep each night. Sleep not only helps our bodies build and repair new tissue, but it helps us be able to feel calm and focus.
If you have trouble getting enough ZZZZZs each night, skip caffeinated beverages past 2 pm, ban smartphones and other electronics from the bedroom, and establish a relaxing nighttime ritual like meditation, reading, or taking a bath. Even a 15 minute bedtime ritual will make a difference in your sleep hygiene.
Validate Your Feelings
“Keep calm and carry on.” That’s a fun saying for a throw pillow, but it’s not always the best advice. Sometimes it’s important to admit that you are struggling and that you need a break. Ask for help from your partner, tell your kids that extra play-date won't work this week, reach out to a friend and share some venting time on the phone.
Remember to Play
Just because you’re an adult, that doesn’t mean you don’t need some downtime to just have fun. Whether you want to play a sport, enjoy a hobby, or go to the theater, be sure to make time each week to enjoy yourself and your life. Again, easier said than done, however, play can be something simple like allowing yourself 5 minutes blowing bubbles or color a page out of your kids coloring book. Listen to your favorite song blasting in your car on the way to work.
Ask for Help
During stressful times, it’s important to reach out to others for help. Sometimes all we need is a friendly ear to listen to what’s on our minds and hearts. Let your friends and family know you could use a little support.
If your stress levels don’t seem to go down, you may want to consider working with a counselor who can help you navigate your feelings and offer coping strategies to deal with the issues you have going on.
At Bozeman Counseling Center, helping people with burn-out and stress is one of our specialties. We would love to work with you!