Fatigued and irritability are common signs of burnout and the ones we easily identify. With the way things are and the demands, we all have in our lives it is not strange to know that burnout is more common than you think. It affects many people across the world, and it does not discriminate against age or gender.
We’ve written many articles regarding burnout, but this article will provide you with simple yet effective tricks to help you avoid it.
- Find what is stressing you out.
The most obvious way to avoid burnout is to avoid things that stress you out. To clarify, avoiding your stressors is not the same as avoiding responsibilities. Yes, you should avoid problems just as you should also avoid creating problems for yourself.
Burnout can creep up on you unexpectedly, so finding your stressor is key to avoiding burnout. When you feel burned out, take a moment and figure out what is causing you stress. Although it sounds simple, it may require you to take some time to practice self-awareness. You may stop and assess what behaviors or lifestyle patterns are stressing you out. For example, you may believe your work is stressing you out. But, since you cannot avoid doing work, figure out what about it is causing you stress. Perhaps it’s not the work itself, but it may be something else.
- Complete the stress cycle
Burnout is a result of prolonged stress. Stress exists in a cycle. Dr. Emily Nagosaki and her sister Amelia wrote about the stress cycle in their book Burnout. They break down the stress cycle as follows. First, there is a stressor–something your brain perceives as a threat. It could be a notification or a situation. The stressor activates a chemical cascade of cortisol and adrenaline, which causes you to enter into a fight, flight, or freeze response. To stave off the adrenaline, you do something–stress eat or stress binge a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime. It helps temporarily, but the stress persists. When your stress is constant, you constantly do things to forget it. Staying in this part of the stress cycle causes burnout.
To avoid or break out of burnout, find a way to complete the stress cycle. Doctors Nagosaki suggest moving, breathing, connect with others, being creative, and emotional release as ways to complete the stress cycle.
A goodnight’s sleep is essential to overcoming or avoiding burnout. The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology published a study stating the importance of a goodnight’s sleep in avoiding burnout. However, sleep is the first thing we sacrifice when stressed out. We often treat sleep like a gas tank that we refill when we need to. But, sleep is not a gas tank, and catching up on zzz’s does not make up for the sleep you lost.
Before discussing tips on getting a goodnight’s sleep, I should clarify what constitutes a goodnight’s sleep. A goodnight’s sleep is restorative. You can go through the entire sleep cycle, including REM sleep. You wake up feeling refreshed, not groggy or angry.
So, how do you get a good night’s sleep? Prioritize sleep hygiene, which means that you are not checking your phone at least 30 minutes before bed. Your room is dark, quiet, and cold. Another approach is to prepare yourself mentally and physically for bed. Preparing yourself physically might mean not eating large meals before bed or taking supplements. My suggestion is to find a routine that works for you and helps you achieve deep sleep.
- Give to others.
Another way to avoid burnout is to give to others. Giving to others produces oxytocin, and oxytocin can help stave off burnout. Another way to help keep burnout at bay is through movement, be it dancing or working out.
- Give yourself worth.
The last way to avoid burnout is to practice self-love. Self-love can help you extend compassion towards yourself and allow yourself to take take care of yourself during this time,
Burnout can happen to anyone. It does not matter if you are in school or at work, burnout creeps up, and you when you least expect it.
If you experience burnout, please take care of yourself. Take a break and reach out to others for help.
Hope these tips help. Take care!
Canavan, C. (2021, November 3). Why you need to learn how to complete the ‘stress cycle’. Women’s Health. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/mental-health/a27098268/how-to-de-stress/.
Montañez, R. (2019, August 19). 3 essential tactics for conquering sleep deprivation and burnout. Forbes. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelmontanez/2019/08/18/3-essential-tactics-for-conquering-sleep-deprivation-and-burnout/.
Kuncheva, M. (2021, February 25). How to increase my happy hormones and prevent burnout. Digiburn. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://digiburn.health/how-to-increase-my-happy-hormones-and-prevent-burnout/.