7 Ways to Avoid Burnout
Burnout is one of those topics that is easily discussed, however, still easy to miss. Burnout causes you to feel physically and emotionally drained. You may feel that you can’t emotionally connect with your loved ones or become increasingly irritable. You may begin to feel inadequate because your exhaustion is making you less effective. It’s more than just a bad day or week. Burnout can affect your family life, career, and other important relationships and aspects of your life.
There are ways to refuel when your tank is running low and prevent the ever-dreadful burnout.
1. Make sure your basic needs are met.
That should go without saying, right? But, how many times have you skipped that meal, or grabbed something quick and unhealthy in a hurry. Are you getting 8 hours of sleep at night? I know it seems impossible, especially with children. The reality is, we need food, water, and sleep to survive. There is no way around that. No amount of coffee, energy drinks, and protein shakes in the world, can save you from burnout. It may be hard during the week to get consistent sleep if you have a busy schedule, however, try to implement some type of routine that your body can adjust to, and try to implement 1-2 days per week to catch on rest. Even if you don’t have the perfect diet, trying is better than nothing at all. And last, but not least, DRINK PLENTY OF WATER EVERYDAY (and even if you fail, at least you’re drinking more water).
2. Be honest with yourself before taking on new tasks.
It’s easy to think that you can always say no, and you should when you must. However, there are some tasks in life that must be done. But sometimes we give ourselves unrealistic timeframes, or we allow others to restrict us with unrealistic timeframes that set us up for failure - and sometimes a mental disaster. Sometimes we need that margin of error. It can prevent a mental train wreck when those last-minute mishaps occur…or when you’ve procrastinated.
3. Find your peace and retreat there when necessary.
To prevent compassion fatigue, sometimes we need to just separate from anyone with strong energy, or from people in general. Mental, emotional, physical, and even spiritual exhaustion can cause what feels like an inability to connect with our loved ones. The disconnect can be difficult to explain. However, by simply spending 30 minutes to an hour of you day meditating, watching a movie, reading, walking, etc. can improve your mood and overall well-being. There's no way to know what will work for you without giving a few things a try - and the sooner the better. Find what works for you and implement them in small increments at least a couple few times a week.
4. Try something different.
This is more than merely breaking your daily routine. Introduce your brain to something new and enjoyable to keep it rejuvenated. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go parasailing, or maybe switching up your flavor of coffee, start a new book, a new tv show, a new article, etc.
Know And understand your energy source.
5. Know and understand your energy source.
Many people often misunderstand the concept of introversion and extraversion. It’s not about whether you “like” people, it's where you draw and drain your energy. Introverts decrease energy through social interaction (even when it’s enjoyable), and recharge with alone time. Extraverts decrease energy through time alone and recharge with social interaction. Understanding which social situations resonate best with you will help you to accurately determine what social situations, or lack thereof, serve you best.
6. Increase physical activity.
Notice, I did not say “workout”, or “exercise”. If you’re already experiencing symptoms of burnout, the thought of working out or exercising may sound horrifying and impossible. This means, you must acknowledge your starting line, and go from there. Maybe this means walking to the store or around the mall. A body at rest stays at rest, a body in motion, stays in motion. So, get up, and get out.
7. Work with purpose.
You will not enjoy every job that you have in life, or enjoy every aspect of your career. However, do you understand what it’s all for? Are you working a less than desirable job to help yourself obtain a better opportunity in the future? Your perspective will greatly affect your motivation.
Burnout is not only preventable, but it can be overcome when it occurs. Self-awareness and self- care are common denominators that will ultimately assist with preventing and reducing burnout.
About the Author
Daria Mallard, MA LPCA
Daria a Licensed Mental Health Therapist who was born and raised in Washington DC. She graduated from North Carolina Central University in 2010 with her Bachelors Degree in criminal justice. In 2015 she graduated from Campbell University with her Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. Daria has spent majority of her young adult life advocating for those with mental health illnesses and helping individuals enhance skills that help them fulfill their purpose in life.