7 Ways to Deal with Burnout
Burnout is caused by chronic stress that has not been successfully managed. This can affect your mental, physical, and emotional state. It often happens when you are overwhelmed and feel like you can’t keep up.
This can happen in life, in work, school, relationships. It is extremely harmful, especially if left to continue happening and that becoming the normal.
There are five stages of burnout, as it progresses. Being able to identify where you are within the stages of burnout can help you notice it earlier and give you the tools to prevent it from becoming a chronic problem.
This is just like the honeymoon phase in any marriage, meaning it comes with endless amounts of energy and optimism. This can happen when you start a new job or a new hobby, make large changes in your life like a new relationship or a new baby, it can start anywhere in your life.
Onset of Stress Phase
This is when the honeymoon phase has passed and you begin to experience stress. This doesn’t mean that stress is the new normal yet, but it is starting to happen more frequently.
Take notice of any physical or mental signs in your day. This can include a lack of focus that you don’t normally experience, being less productive or motivated to complete a task, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping, or enjoying activities.
Chronic Stress Phase
This is where the stress goes from minor occurrences to being much more persistent or chronic. This stage you may experience a feeling of apathy, not being on time for work, appointments, or social functions. You’ll become a pro at procrastination. You may withdraw from social interactions and conversations.
These feelings may affect your relationships at work, at home, and with friends.
This is where you reach your limit. It is impossible to function as you normally would within your daily life. Whatever the problem you’re experiencing, you begin to obsess over it. You’ll likely also feel numb at times and experience extreme self-doubt.
This phase has some intense physical symptoms including chronic headaches, stomach issues, and more. Friends, family, and co-workers will likely have noticed behavior changes in you at this point.
Habitual Burnout Phase
If left untreated, burnout can become a normal part of your everyday life and lead to anxiety, depression, and many other deadly symptoms. You’ll likely experience chronic mental and physical fatigue.
Symptoms of burnout can present themselves in physical, emotional, and behavioral changes.
- Feeling tired
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Headaches or muscle pain
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of self-doubt
- Failure or loneliness
- An overall feeling of dissatisfaction
- Social isolation
- Not performing responsibilities
- Angry outbursts
Suffering from burnout can have some serious and deadly consequences! If burnout is ignored and left unaddressed, these following issues can occur:
- Excessive stress
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Vulnerability to illness
It is time to take control of your life and take care of yourself! Seriously, just go back and read that list over again, and you’ll have more than enough reason to stop and change some things in your life.
Here are my favorite 7 Ways to Deal with Burnout when it happens.
Honor the Burnout
See what wants to be burnt off. It’s called burnout for a reason, let’s burn some bad things out of our lives! What are you done with? Work, home, jobs, friendships? What do you need to walk away from or develop new skills to help not only recover from burnout, but potentially avoid it in the future?
If you need to, make a list of the things that are sucking up your time and energy. Acknowledge the things that are draining to you. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate where you can start to make changes in your life to put yourself back on the right path to being healthy and happy.
Epsom salts bath with a candle and silence, reading a good book, a walk out in nature? What exercise and activity renews you?
You need to be taking time each day to do something that renews your spirit and energy. It doesn’t have to be huge or time consuming. It can be a simple 30 minutes alone in a bath or outside reading, or anything else that will give you alone time doing something you enjoy. That is the key.
Vitamins B, C, D, Potassium and Magnesium are especially helpful. What food is your body and soul calling for?
Think about the foods your body craves. It will tell you where there is a lack, if you listen to it. Oftentimes it is much easier just to ignore those needs and crunch a handful of salty potato chips than to actually listen to our bodies and understand what is needed. I’ve done it many times myself.
This is also a great time to take notice of the foods you’re consuming. Are you automatically reaching for easy and processed foods because of the overwhelming feeling of fatigue? Or are you making an effort to eat healthy and balanced meals? It is much easier and faster to reach for processed foods when we are feeling that extreme fatigue. But that also compounds the physical symptoms of burnout.
Take some time to focus on your soul. This can be self-care, simply making sure to take the time to relax and unwind. It can be meditation, music, whatever nourishes your soul. What does your soul need?
Self-care and soul support also includes knowing your limitations and being able to say no when necessary to keep a handle on burnout.
Write down all the feelings and empathize with them, dance with them, draw them, sing them… What are your feelings needing from you?
One of the biggest issues when we face burnout is not embracing, acknowledging, and understanding our feelings. It is often much easier to look for the quick and easy fix to feel better instantly, instead of taking the time to get to know our feelings and actually embrace them.
Write out all the mental labor you’re holding that’s taking up space. See one thing you can do that will feel like a win. What’s playing on your mind that needs safety, care, and attention?
Taking the time to let everything out is a huge stress relief. Think of it like the elephant in the room, or the scary monster lurking in the shadows. When you acknowledge the elephant or shine light on the scary monster, they lose their power.
I think when talking about anything that is taking up space in your mind, it should be allowed to come out. Don’t hold it in, as that is just continuing to cause damage, and may come out later in a far more damaging and unproductive way.
Notice the friendships that nourish you and the ones that drain you. It could be that you love deeply, and others don’t, leaving your needs feeling unmet? Have you been giving out and now you’re empty? Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Who are nourishing, mutual, reciprocal relationships?
Make a list of the healthy relationships that you have, as well as the toxic ones. Can the toxic ones be changed to become healthy, or is it time to simply walk away? Are you giving enough time and energy to your healthy relationships?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. The question is, where is our time going? Making this list will show you if your time is going to healthy relationships or toxic ones.
7 Ways to Deal with Burnout Notes
Don’t be afraid to admit there is a problem and you’re feeling burnt out. Or that you’re making the conscious effort to make healthy changes in your life. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that one direction simply isn’t working. What do you do when you get lost driving? You go in a different direction! Life works the exact same way, and there is nothing wrong with changing directions through making healthier choices.
7 Ways to Deal with Burnout Discussion
Have you experienced burnout in your life? How did you handle it? Did this 7 Ways to Deal with Burnout help you to identify burnout in your life and take control of it by taking care of yourself? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!