Top Seven Ways to Avoid and Fight Burnout
By Adam Wright
Nowadays mental health in the workplace is one of the most talked about topics, with stress, anxiety, and tiredness being the center of the debate. In fact, whether you work for a company or as a freelancer, it’s very likely that there will be moments in your work life that will be overwhelming and tiring to the point of reaching a point of so-called “burnout”.
Here are some ways with which you can either avoid burnout altogether or at least deal with it in the healthiest way possible, in order to take care of both your mental and physical health.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Nothing recharges and calms us better than sleeping the right number of hours per night. Moreover, trying to function without little to no sleep is extremely dangerous and it does nobody any good, including your boss and colleagues.
Eight hours per night should be a must for many reasons: from boosting your immune system, to lowering the risks of serious health problems such as diabetes or heart diseases, and, of course, improving your mood and reduce stress.
But even though the body needs sleep, sometimes it can be hard to get our mind to cooperate. In these cases, it’s essential to create the right conditions and adopt habits to help you be calm and relaxed when sleep time is near. This can be achieved by keeping your room dark with blackout curtains or a sleeping mask, reduce noises by wearing earplugs and keeping your phone either on mute or in another room entirely, keep temperatures cool, and avoid watching TV or working where you’re supposed to sleep.
2. Exercise Multiple Times a Week
This does not have to mean a gym membership or a home gym, exercising can be as easy and accessible as a walk or a run around the block. If you want to start a journey of light exercise to keep yourself refreshed, healthy, and distracted from work, try to start with something that’s too simple to ignore or to post pone, such as a 15-minute stroll round your block, or outside your place of work.
3. Program a Balanced Diet
Even for people who are not so-called workaholics, it’s possible to lose focus of what’s important during the day, and that also goes for meals. Loss of appetite is indeed one of the red flags that can signal burnout and to avoid it it’s important to try and eat regularly.
One way to not lose sight of this is to program your meals, and when possible, even meal prep for the whole week. This can be done on a Sunday as a part of a fun ‘weekly reset’ routine, choosing simple but balanced and healthy recipes that can be prepared quickly and that will make you look forward to lunch every day.
4. Keep a Journal
Visualizing your anxiety or stress can be a great way to cope with it, and keeping a daily or weekly journal can help you do just that. Most often one of the biggest problems is not being able to talk about what is going on in our heads, either because we feel like we have nobody to talk to or the practice isn’t conforming to our personality.
In both eventualities, writing down our thoughts and feelings can help, and by doing this, it can be easier to let go of them. In the eventuality that you might not know where to start, try using specific journals that give daily tips and tricks on how to, these can be questions to answer, motivational quotes and so on!
5. Treat Yourself
It is essential to remember that we do not live to work, but rather work to live. Treating yourself to a nice dinner once in a while, or that pair of shoes you’ve put your eyes on can be a great way to feel important again, and to remember that your life does not revolve around work. Burnout can often occur because we lose sight of the why, and these treats will allow you to grasp touch with reality again.
6. Learn to Ask for Help
Admitting that you’re not in the best shape, or that simply you cannot undertake a task on your own, and that you might need some help is one of the healthiest approaches you could take to not only fight burnout, but to improve your work life as a whole.
You’re not invincible and you are not supposed to be, so always remember to recognize your limits and to not push yourself too far. This applies not only to work life, but to every aspect of it, as it’s possible to feel drained and overwhelmed with any type of social interaction and everyday task, from meeting family and friends to maintaining a healthy relationship, as well as having a balanced lifestyle.
7. Recognize the Signs of Burnout and Act on Them
If you get to a point in which you were not able to avoid burnout, try your best not to ignore that feeling, no matter how bad it might feel.
Symptoms such as procrastination, loss or appetite, constant tiredness, feeling overwhelmed, and having self-doubt can be recognizable, and while sometimes it can be hard to admit that you’ve got to a certain point, acting on those symptoms quickly enough can prevent a period of enhanced pain, stress, and anxiety.
Adam Wright is the founder of LifeHacker Guy, a health and nutrition information site.