Aug 2, 2023 | Mental Health

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Tips to Avoid Burnout

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We are well into summer, and that often means our social calendars are filled, and expectations of making memories over the next month are high. With that, along with everyday stressors and responsibilities, you may be feeling burned out (and not just from the sun!). Burnout can happen during any season, and it is important to be aware of your feelings, and keep in mind some of the following tips to help avoid burnout.

What is burnout? 

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health describes burnout as the following: “a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” Burnout can be caused from many different aspects in your life, whether it be work or home, and can lead to both physical and mental symptoms which can impact your overall mental health. 

There are a few signs and symptoms to keep in mind in relation to burnout. Verywell Mind outlines the following to keep an eye out for: 

  • Gastrointestinal problems 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Getting sick more often 
  • Frequent headaches 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Concentration issues 
  • Depressed mood 
  • Feeling worthless 
  • Loss of interest or pleasure 
  • Fatigue 

Tips to help  

In many cases, burnout occurs when we ignore the warning signs, take on too much, or have too high of expectations on ourselves, both personally and professionally. The good news is that there are some helpful steps you can take to help reduce burnout and nourish your mental health in the process.  

Set boundaries 

Boundaries are incredibly important to maintain your mental health and avoid burnout. Therefore, recognize when you are taking on too much, and say no to commitments that you know will be overwhelming. Be open and honest with people and understand that you have control over doing the things that fill your cup, and those that don’t. The more vocal you are about your boundaries, the easier it will become. 

Take care of yourself 

Life is busy! We are pulled in many directions, and our well being suffers. Ensure you are setting aside time for yourself to do activities that help you feel relaxed and bring you joy. There are no rules when it comes to self care. So, whether you enjoy running, or relaxing on the couch watching your favorite show, find the moments that bring you comfort and peace.  

Stay organized 

With busy schedules, and commitments it is important to stay organized. Be sure to create a schedule for yourself and prioritize your tasks. Having a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish for the day, or appointments you need to remember will keep your life in order, and help you feel less overwhelmed. Since most of us have our phones at the ready, there are many apps that can help keep track of important details, and hold you accountable. 

Avoid stressors 

While we can’t avoid all the things that make us anxious or cause stress, there are some you can! With constant access to technology, we can often become burnt out from social media or news outlets, which impacts our mental health. A recent study found that regarding social media, “women are more likely to feel negative rather than positive emotions in self-comparison to others.” 

Therefore, reduce your exposure to help reduce your stress. Unfollow or block accounts that make you feel negatively about yourself and choose to follow those that make you feel encouraged and bring you joy. 

Have a support network 

When feeling overwhelmed or stressed, it can be easy to retreat and disengage. While time by yourself may be necessary to recharge, be cognisant that you aren’t spending all your time alone. 

“Poor social support has been linked to depression and loneliness and has been shown to alter brain function and increase the risk of the following: alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, depression, suicide.” –Verywell Mind 

Having the support of family and friends is beneficial to your mental health and can help alleviate feelings of burnout. It is also healthy to talk to someone you trust about your feelings, rather than keeping them bottled up inside. 

If you are experiencing increased tiredness, irritability, or reduced productivity, take action to help address burnout. If you are feeling overwhelmed, and signs and symptoms of burnout are becoming too much to handle, don’t be afraid to reach out for support from a mental health professional. 

Your mental health plays a key role in your overall well being! Making yourself a priority is not a sign of selfishness. In taking care of yourself, you are better able to take on life, and be the best version of you possible.

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