Burnout is most commonly defined as physical or mental collapse caused by stress. Simply put, if you’re not resting properly your body will eventually force you into it.
For many, burnout comes from pushing their bodies way too hard at work. This is often associated with living in a society where we falsely believe that in order to achieve more success we need to work harder.
Rest is not something we’re accustomed to doing in the western world. In fact, we’re more likely to hear phrases like “No pain no gain” and “Sleep is for the weak” than we are to hear encouraging words about caring for ourselves.
Even exercise, which is supposed to be a great form of self-care, gets pushed to an extreme in our culture in an effort to achieve better and faster results. This can lead to it’s own form of burnout aside from the exhaustion we already feel from working too hard.
The good news is that burnout can be avoided.
It may take changing old habits and beliefs, but by implementing some of these tips you can ensure that you are doing everything you can to avoid burnout.
Exercise regularly…but don’t push it.
Regular exercise has been linked to improving our overall mental and physical well being. Studies show that exercise helps elevate our moods, gives us more energy and helps us manage our stress.
However, there is one caveat when it comes to exercise. You can’t push your body too hard or else it will have the opposite effect. That means making sure to gradually intensify your workouts and schedule periods of rest.
Get enough sleep.
According to the CDC a staggering number of Americans are not getting enough sleep. In fact, recent findings show that about 30% of Americans claim they are getting less than six hours of sleep each night. This is far less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep adults need in order to function properly.
This affects us physically because we nod off when we’re not supposed to, sometimes during dangerous situations like driving. This also affects our mental capabilities such as memory and concentration.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping the CDC suggests going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, avoiding too much caffeine and avoiding large meals before bed.
Meditation cannot replace sleep, but it can help you recharge your batteries throughout the day. By meditating for a few minutes you allow your body to relax and enter a restful state.
Similar to exercise, this activity has a myriad of both physical and mental benefits that can help us better manage our energy, focus on the task at hand and significantly reduce stress.
Create a cut off time for work.
Many people work themselves to the point of exhaustion. Often times being able to avoid this simply means making a decision to stop working.
One thing that significantly helps is to create a cut-off time for yourself. This is the time of day when you stop working no matter what you are doing.
This is the part when someone says, “But I haven’t finished my to do list!” Chances are that your to-do list was too long for a 24 hour period to begin with. Therefore, if you didn’t get through your entire to do list then move it toward the next day.
Admittedly, this precautionary step takes more willpower than anything else and may be more difficult to accomplish for some. You can take it a step further by finding yourself an accountability partner whose job it would be to ensure you actually stop working.
By making sure we’re taking care of ourselves in our lives we can avoid every having to deal with the consequences of burnout. While it may require changing some habits, it’s well worth the effort.
Source: Amanda Abella, care2.com