Burnout is not uncommon in this modern, fast-paced world, where we are often expected to work long hours while finding a work/life balance. The harder we push ourselves to meet expectations, the more drained we get, physically and emotionally, making it even more difficult to focus on the next challenge in front of us. If we are not careful, we can find ourselves chronically stressed in just a few months or weeks. Instead, how about taking a proactive approach and finding ways to avoid burnout before it has the chance to ignite?
Signs you may be feeling burned out
If you are feeling exhausted, lacking interest in your usual activities, and there has been a decline in your work performance, then you may be experiencing burnout. These are just some of the signs, so we’ll explore some of the others.
If you have been working hard and don’t feel like you are getting anywhere, you may start to feel frustrated or disillusioned. You might wonder if what you are doing is less important to others than it is to you, and you may find yourself being more pessimistic than usual.
You might feel less satisfied with your home, social life, or career. This might make you feel stuck in a rut or alienated from the people closest to you.
Lack of focus
Burnout may interfere with your ability to focus, narrowing your attention to only the negative things that are making you feel threatened. This tunnel vision is not sustainable and can affect your ability to make decisions or solve problems in other areas of your life. You may become so preoccupied with work or home that you become forgetful and find it difficult to remember things that are not usually a problem, like appointments.
You might find yourself snapping at the people closest to you at work or at home and getting into more arguments than usual. Alternatively, you might withdraw and talk to people less, tuning out of what’s happening around you.
Lack of self-care
Burnout may cause you to form or fall back on bad habits in an attempt to cope. For example, you may eat more junk food than usual because you don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal. You might drink more alcohol, thinking that it will help you relax at the end of the day.
Decline in health
After an extended period of time, you will likely notice a decline in your health. This may manifest itself as a gain or loss in weight, elevated blood pressure, headaches, digestive issues, or other serious illnesses.
How to avoid burnout
Being able to recognise some of the symptoms of burnout can help you to take a proactive approach before things get out of hand. There are several good habits that you can adopt, and some may work better for you than others, so you may need to test them out until you find a few that you can use on a regular basis.
As well as providing protective effects against chronic diseases and supporting the immune system, a nutritional diet helps to reduce the chances of suffering from depression and lower the symptoms of burnout. Try to avoid the following:
- Processed foods and sugars (found in foods such as cakes, pastries, chocolates, and sweets);
- Saturated fats (found in things like chips, crisps, fried foods, and red meat);
- Dairy products that contain over 20% fat (such as full-fat milk, cream, cheese, and butter).
Instead, focus your nutritional intake on whole foods, such as:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits;
- Nuts and seeds;
- Legumes (like lentils, beans, and peas);
- Grains (found in whole pasta, rice, rye bread, some cereals, and porridge);
- White meat and fish;
- Margarine and oils that are low in saturated fat;
- Low-fat dairy products that contain less than 20% fat.
Exercise helps us to live longer, happier lives and provides many benefits to our health, from the delay of chronic disease to the promotion of well-being. Just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (such as running, cycling, walking, dancing, or swimming) combined with mind-body and resistance exercise (like weight lifting, weight-bearing, pilates, or yoga) can improve overall fitness and reduce the symptoms of depression.
Sleep is an essential tool that helps us to replenish our energy and repair the body. Without enough sleep, we are likely to suffer from a weakened immune system, inflammation, impaired cognitive function, anxiety, and depression. Fatigue makes you more sensitive to stress, impairs your memory, and affects your performance. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults (ages 18 and over) get at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Being organised with a to-do list and a calendar can help you to keep track of things that need to be done and when. By putting some simple systems in place, you can spend less time worrying about forgetting to do something. Try to keep your work and living spaces tidy so that you can find things easily. A streamlined environment can also help you to feel good and focus better.
Take ‘me’ time
It is crucial to take time for yourself to unwind from everyday pressures. Having passions outside of work can help you to decompress, feel refreshed, and give you something to look forward to. You may enjoy an activity like football, volunteering, reading, spending time with family, or meditating – it doesn’t matter as long as it’s something that you find rewarding.
A pampering routine or wellness ritual that includes relaxing CBD products can help you factor a little ‘me’ time into your day. CBD (or Cannabidiol) is a safe and non-addictive cannabinoid derived from industrial hemp strains that work with ECS (endocannabinoid system). With its growing popularity, this supplement is now widely available and can be easily purchased from many places such as dispensaries, health food stores, or online like CBD shop Edinburgh. Since incorporating CBD can help you relieve tension and fully relax, you can also try out this product in various formats, from oil and gummies to capsules and topicals.
Knowing your triggers and limits can help you set boundaries to protect yourself and focus on your needs. Be clear and firm in making time for yourself. Permit yourself to take a break and say ‘no’ without feeling guilty. Communicate your needs to others, as they cannot read your mind. Set boundaries for yourself, including taking a break from technology like your mobile phone, computer, the news, and social media.
Connect with others
A study carried out in 2020 indicates that connecting with others can help to improve mental well-being while reducing the risk of depression. Spending time with friends and family can help to take your mind off things like work or financial worries or provide you with an opportunity to talk about what is on your mind. If you would rather not talk to someone you know well, a support group could help and will be able to provide other coping strategies.
Burnout is a natural side effect of working too hard or taking on too much. It can affect us mentally and physically, and once we feel burned out, it can be difficult to recover as we find that all of our reserves and resources are depleted. Instead, try to tackle burnout before it has a chance to take hold by incorporating some of the tips outlined above into your daily routine.
Alexia is the author at Research Snipers covering all technology news including Google, Apple, Android, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung News, and More.