Burnout is described as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. When you feel unable to meet constant demands, you can feel overwhelmed, and the adverse effects can be felt in all areas of your life. But it’s not just a heavy mental load that you can be carrying; burnout can zap you of energy and make you more susceptible to illness.
Sadly, burnout has become so common that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially recognised it as an occupational phenomenon. So, what can you do to support yourself when you’re close to burnout? Here are five tips to help.
1. Schedule a time for devices, notifications, and emails
Gone are the days when you could freely leave the office with no way of people contacting you until you returned. Now, there are huge demands on our time, and our devices, notifications, and emails play a major role in our loss of productivity.
Because our devices are everything and come everywhere with us, we need to manage the time we spend on them carefully. Turn notifications off, put your phone on silent, and schedule times to check your devices within your day. The world won’t end by not responding instantly to everything – and your mental health and productivity will be so much better for it.
2. Stay in the moment
Too often, we spend most of our time thinking of the past or the future. Rarely do we stay focused on the here and now. When was the last time you stopped to enjoy what you were eating – and savoured each bite?
Staying in the moment will allow you to appreciate what is happening now. When you feel things are getting out of hand, bring yourself back to the moment. Meditation, doing a grateful list, getting outside, and aromatherapy (check out my Sanity Saver blend) are some of my favourite ways to bring myself back to the present moment.
3. Support your adrenals
When your body is under prolonged stress, eating healthy (while necessary) won’t cut it. Your adrenal glands need support when under stress. One of my favourite ways to do this as a naturopath is to use Adaptogen Herbs (the ones I love are here). Adaptogens are herbs and roots that are designed to help your body adapt to a range of stressors.
Other ways you can support your body is to reduce caffeine and increase foods with Vitamin C, B3, B5 and B6 foods such as salmon, tuna, peanuts, brown rice, avocados, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, and bananas. Prepare meals the night before, so you are more likely to get the right balance nutritionally without the last-minute stress.
4. Make time for rest and play
Kids aren’t the only ones who need rest and play; adults do too! And in most cases, we don’t get enough of it. Rest has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and blood pressure. Our bodies are designed to rest, so make it a priority as part of your daily regime.
Play is also essential to our wellbeing. Play has been shown to release those much-needed happy hormones like endorphins. While it can seem like you don’t have enough time to play, you really can’t afford not to. Play helps improve brain functionality and stimulates creativity.
5. Take care of your mental health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Where it was once taboo to discuss, thanks to a range of initiatives and the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is now a widely discussed topic, and it’s starting to be prioritised and valued.
To help support your mental health, give yourself more balance. Stop to relax and take a moment to exercise, read a book, journal out your thoughts, meditate, reconnect with a friend, or watch a comedy. Learn to recognise the signs when things are getting too hard and reach out and talk about how you really feel.
Over to you, how are you going to support yourself and avoid burnout the next time it’s sneaking up on you?