Life is inherently stressful. But there’s a big difference between typical mental and emotional strain and feeling like you’re completely tapped out with nothing left to give.
Recently, the word “burnout” began trending on Dictionary.com after the previously casual expression became an official diagnosis in May. Categorized as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization, burnout is defined as “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.”
With longer working hours, fewer benefits, and higher demands for efficiency without wage increases, it’s no wonder chronic stress, anxiety, and exhaustion plague many to the point they jump ship on their careers. We all need support, resources, and healthy coping mechanisms to help us avoid a mental crisis. So, if you’re starting to feel like you’re heading toward your breaking point, here are 10 ways to prevent burnout.
1. Watch for warning signs.
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You can’t prevent burnout if you don’t realize you’re approaching it. Here are a few warning signs:
- You’re regularly irritated in your professional and personal life.
- You’ve lost interest in every aspect of your job.
- You put in the bare minimum of effort at work.
- Constant fatigue and exhaustion
- Health issues including high blood pressure, weight changes, insomnia, frequent sickness, or depression.
2. Establish boundaries.
Draw clear lines when it comes to your time and availability to maintain a healthy work/life balance. If you already have enough on your plate, don’t add more.
It’s important to take care of ourselves first by eating healthy, exercising regularly, and making sure we get enough sleep. All of these habits work to reduce stress and help us feel our best.
4. Have fun.
It’s also important to decompress and treat ourselves with the things we enjoy, whether it be an episode of our favorite show or fun activities we love.
5. Set personal goals and tasks to complete.
Each achievement will increase your self-efficacy, or the belief in your ability to accomplish meaningful things.
6. Find creative outlets.
Creative activities such as drawing, writing, or playing music are a great way to express your emotions and feelings, especially when you’re feeling stressed at work.
7. Use your vacation time.
If you need a break and can take one, do it. Plan a trip or simply relax at home so you can come back refreshed.
8. Stop overachieving.
Trying to achieve perfection in every single aspect of your life adds unnecessary stress and unrealistic expectations. Do what’s expected of you, but don’t wear yourself out always trying to be the best. Nobody is perfect.
9. Get real.
Take a hard, honest look at your job. Does it align with your values? Do you feel appreciated? Is your employer willing to work with you when it comes to what you need? If not, it may be time to start looking elsewhere.
10. Seek help and support.
None of us gets through life alone. Tell the people around you what’s going on and ask for their support. Therapy is also a great way to vent and identify healthy coping mechanisms.
A lot of things in life are out of our control, but with the right tools, we can make sure we’re well-equipped to handle everything it throws our way. We all deserve peace of mind.
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