Balancing burnout in a global pandemic
Are you feeling exhausted, lacking motivation, and find yourself procrastinating? You might be experiencing burnout. Burnout is defined as a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. There are multiple different types of burnout, such as emotional, physical, professional, behavioural, and spiritual burnout. Despite all these different variations, they all consist of the same principles: loss of motivation and exhaustion. This tumultuous year has left millions of people feeling exhausted. You are not alone. Take a look at the different types of symptoms and some quick strategies to combat burnout.
Symptoms of burnout
There are multiple different symptoms of burnout. The emotional signs of burnout are feelings of helplessness, lack of motivation, negative outlooks on events, and increased dissatisfaction. This can make completing tasks for school or work extremely difficult. Finding the mental strength to keep plowing through your responsibilities is a great challenge. Physical signs of burnout are a decreased immune system, which can lead to more sickness. Other symptoms are muscle tension, headaches, or a change in appetite or sleep patterns. Behavioural burnout can take the shape of withdrawing from responsibilities, tendencies to isolate yourself from others, procrastination, or substance abuse. When you start to experience these symptoms, it can be challenging to propel yourself forward again.
3 ways to avoid burnout
It is very common for people to take a vacation when they feel burnt out. But after that trip, they return and continue living their life as they did previously. However, to truly avoid a burnt-out state again, one needs to make changes to their daily life. To help create a different routine, we have three tips to keep yourself refreshed.
1. Make plans
Create plans every weekend so that there is always something to look forward to. This will help keep you motivated to finish your week. These plans do not need to be extravagant or expensive. Plan an afternoon trip, a picnic at a park, or time to explore a city you have never visited before. The excitement of having a fun plan to look forward to will keep you motivated to make it through your work week.
2. Take breaks
Take breaks throughout your day to allow yourself a brief period to reset. This does not mean pull out your phone and mindlessly scroll through social media. Social media is an easy way to lose track of time and feel more drained than before. Instead, take breaks by taking five minutes to yourself and maybe to walk around your workplace. Stretch. Breathe. Take some time to have a quick, fun conversation with a coworker. Allow your eyes time to rest and give them a period away from a screen. The strain on your eyes from a computer screen can cause tension or headaches. Allowing yourself to take a break can increase your overall productivity and keep burnout symptoms away.
At Wayzata Bay Wellness, Dr. Phillips recommends actively practicing breathing. One strategy to avoid burnout is whenever you are about to open a door, take a deep breath. Focused breathing is an easy way to lower anxiety and help calm yourself. Or instead, every time you stand up or sit down, take a deep breath. Any behaviour that is easily replicable would work for this exercise. Another strategy to manage burnout is to practice breathing meditation. Inhale for three seconds, hold for one, and exhale for five.
Change starts with you
Burnout can seem overwhelming. The responsibilities keep piling up. With the three simple steps mentioned above you can proactively combat burnout. Old habits die hard, but if you are determined, anything is within your reach. Small and simple changes to your lifestyle can help you down the path towards re-sculpting how burnout affects you. As Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” For more strategies to combat burnout, contact Wayzata Bay Wellness at [email protected] or at (320) 582-3762.
This article was written by Grace Graham, Wayzata Bay Wellness intern.