Simple steps that you can take every day to live a healthier, more balanced life
Burnout is a common term that you have most likely heard of and maybe even used to describe feelings of fatigue and being overwhelmed. Although burnout isn’t a formal mental health diagnosis, it’s been defined as mental and physical exhaustion related to working in the human service and healthcare fields. Today, however, burnout has been expanded to include all types of occupations, as well as other social roles such as being a parent, a spouse, and a caregiver.
Burnout and COVID-19
Burnout is characterized as a state of mental and physical exhaustion and is defined as a psychological problem that is a result of experiencing prolonged and chronic stress in a position or role. Recognizing the common symptoms of burnout can help you determine if you are experiencing this condition. Indicators of burnout include avoidance of following through with your usual responsibilities, chronically feeling as if you are ineffective in completing daily tasks, as well as persistent feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed our lives.
Studies show increased rates of burnout, particularly among healthcare workers. This is no surprise considering the demands that COVID has placed on our frontline workers. Doctors, nurses, and female healthcare workers seem to report higher levels of burnout.
The demands of COVID have also placed increased pressure and stress on other professions and social roles. Working from home has been a challenge to many who are having difficulty creating boundaries and quickly evolving workflows. Teachers have had to re-invent themselves instantaneously. Parents have had to adapt to adding teachers and tutors to their traditional parenting roles, while in many cases also adding daytime caregivers to their already established responsibilities. Store clerks, business owners, delivery drivers, and warehouse workers have had to continue to show up to work despite feelings of fear, desperation, or other emotions. It is safe to assume that anyone is at-risk for COVID burnout due to the significant changes and stress it has brought to our daily lives
How to Avoid Burnout
As with any mental or physical problem, the sooner you notice it and address it, the better off you’ll be. Burnout is no exception. Whether you have been experiencing burnout for several weeks or months, or you just started noticing symptoms a few days ago, there are things you can do to help reduce and avoid future burnout.
Here are 7 simple steps that you can take to help avoid burnout and live a healthier, more balanced life.
1. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
To keep your diet on the right track, prep healthy foods ahead of time so that when hunger strikes, you have nutritious options ready and available. We all know what it feels like to be starving in the middle of the day and reach for a bag of chips when we had every intention of making a salad. Have the salad and other healthy options ready to go so that you can empower yourself to make a healthy choice.
2. Exercising regularly.
If you are finding it difficult to start an exercise routine, you are not alone. Start small. Commit five to 10 minutes a day of physical exercise in some form. That can be walking, stretching, or doing yoga. Many of these activities can be done while watching your favorite TV show or listening to a podcast.
3. Making time for self-reflection.
Self-reflection is about tuning into your inner thoughts and feelings. That can mean making time for journaling or meditating.
4. Maintaining healthy sleep hygiene and getting adequate sleep.
Make it a point to go to bed around the same time each night. Also, follow a regular sleep routine to help prepare you for sleep which can include taking a shower, washing your face, brushing your teeth, and reading.
5. Engaging in a pleasant activity every day, such as crafting, gaming, or reading.
Having something to look forward to can help you maintain a healthy mood and act as a preventative factor for stress and burnout. All work and no play doesn’t make anyone happy!
6. Strengthening your support system by spending quality time with family members and friends.
A healthy support system can be a key factor in effectively managing stress and burnout. Spend time with people who you love and trust and feel comfortable around.
7. Re-evaluating personal and professional goals regularly.
Create a goal for yourself that is important to you and focus your attention on it when you feel an increase in stress and burnout. Once you have achieved that goal, set another one; if you haven’t achieved your goal, re-evaluate the timeline of your goal and whether it is reasonable to your current circumstances.
Finally, take breaks throughout your day, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we are all in this together, and we made it through a remarkably difficult time by relying on each other and working together. We all need help and support.
If you’re experiencing signs of burnout, you may also want to try Valera Health’s therapy and psychiatric services. Our dedicated coaches, therapists, and psychiatrists will provide a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Get started today and request a consultation online.