Burnout – What it is and how you can manage it!
Not only have I helped numerous clients overcome burnout, but I have also experienced it myself. Before starting my career in hypnotherapy, I worked part-time as an administrator for a sizeable and busy company. With the pandemic pushing us to work from home, I found myself feeling increasingly stressed and anxious, dreading the start of each workday, and procrastinating more often. I still remember the strong anxiety I would feel every time I saw my manager was calling me on Teams. The longer we worked from home my part time hours seemed to slowly increase, eventually turning into full time hours. And with my boss’s expectations of me increasing more each week, so did the stress I felt.
My friends and family noticed my change in behaviour – I became withdrawn, avoided socialising, and was often extremely tearful. At the time, I didn’t realise it, but I was going through a burnout. Looking back, it’s not surprising – my job demanded more and more from me, I often worked late, and I had to juggle home-schooling my daughters with work. Moreover, my daughters were struggling with their own mental health issues which I was supporting them through. The pressure just kept on building, and I felt completely overwhelmed. I was giving too much to my work and was trying to do too much on my own. I knew I needed more support so I looked at all aspects of my life and worked out what I could do to make myself feel better.
Once I took control of my situation a little more, prioritised self-care and started accepting help from others, my burnout started to heal.I know not everyone’s journey will be like mine but in this post, I wanted to educate you on burnout, the signs, symptoms and most importantly the ways to help overcome it. I do not think people talk about the long-term risks of burnout enough. If I hadn’t have researched it when I did and made the necessary changes to my life, who knows what could have happened.
What is Burnout?
Stress is a part of life. It is natural to feel stressed out from time to time, but when it becomes chronic and unmanageable, it can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It can affect anyone, regardless of their profession or lifestyle.
Signs Of Burnout
Burnout is a gradual process that can sneak up on you over time. It is essential to recognize the early signs of burnout to prevent it from becoming a severe problem. The signs of burnout include:
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time
- Losing motivation and interest in your work or hobbies
- Feeling irritable and moody
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed and helpless
- Having trouble sleeping or experiencing nightmares
- Developing physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or backaches
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is time to take a step back and address the underlying cause of your stress.
Understanding Stress & It’s Impact On The Body
Stress is a natural response to a perceived threat or challenge. It is the body’s way of preparing for a fight or flight response. When you experience stress, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. These physiological changes are beneficial in the short term, but when they become chronic, they can have detrimental effects on your health.
Chronic stress can lead to a variety of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Anxiety disorders
- Digestive problems
- Weakened immune system
It is important to remember – you can have stress without burnout, but you cannot have burnout without stress.
Depression & Burnout
Burnout and depression are closely related. Burnout can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness, which are hallmark symptoms of depression. If left untreated, burnout can progress to depression, which can have long-term consequences on your health and well-being.
Tips For Managing Stress & Burnout
Managing stress and preventing burnout requires a proactive approach. Here are some tips to help you manage your stress levels:
1. Identify the source of your stress
The first step in managing stress is to identify the source of your stress. Is it work-related, relationship-related, or health-related? Once you have identified the source of your stress, you can take steps to address it.
2. Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, hypnosis, and yoga can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. These techniques can be practiced anywhere, anytime, and are a great way to manage stress.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a natural stress reliever. It can help reduce stress hormones and release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for your body to recover and recharge. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Establish a regular sleep routine and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
5. Practice time management
Poor time management can lead to stress and burnout. Set realistic goals and prioritise your tasks. Use a planner or calendar to schedule your activities and avoid overcommitting yourself.
The Importance of Self-Care in Stress Management
Self-care is essential for managing stress and preventing burnout. Self-care involves taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health. Here are some self-care practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine:
1. Take care of you physical health
Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help reduce stress and promote overall health. This also means making sure you get enough rest and sleep.
2. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
3. Spend time with loved ones
Spending time with loved ones can help reduce stress and promote a sense of belonging. Make time for social activities such as dinner with friends or a family outing.
4. Engage in hobbies or activities you enjoy
Engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Whether it’s reading, painting, or gardening, find an activity that brings you joy and make time for it.
5. Take breaks throughout the day
Taking breaks throughout the day can help reduce stress and improve productivity. Take a short walk, stretch, or listen to music to recharge your batteries.
Strategies To Avoid Burnout
The best way to avoid burnout is to take a proactive approach to managing stress. Here are some strategies to help you avoid burnout:
1. Set boundaries
Setting boundaries is essential for managing stress and preventing burnout. Learn to say no to requests that are not essential or do not align with your goals.
2. Practice self-compassion
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with kindness and understanding. Be gentle with yourself and avoid self-criticism.
3. Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help reduce stress and improve productivity. Take a short walk, meditate, or simply take a few deep breaths to recharge your batteries.
4. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude involves focusing on the positive aspects of your life and being thankful for what you have. Gratitude can help reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being.
5. Seek support
Seeking support from friends, family, or a mental health professional can help you manage stress and prevent burnout. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for preventing burnout and promoting overall well-being. You can do things such as disconnecting from technology after work, setting goals & boundaries for work tasks, speak to your manager about your workload, make sure you are taking regular breaks and make time for self-care.
Stress and burnout are common problems that can affect anyone. It is essential to recognise the early signs of burnout and take steps to manage your stress levels. Incorporating relaxation techniques, practicing self-care, and setting boundaries can help you avoid burnout and promote overall well-being. If you are experiencing chronic stress or burnout, you may want to seek professional help.
Are you struggling with stress and anxiety? Try my online mental courses to help overcome stress and anxiety.