Exhaustion, feelings of cynicism, and reduced professional effectiveness are all symptoms of exhaustion. The World Health Organization calls this an “organizational phenomenon”. As we are all at risk of experiencing it, there are ways to avoid burnout.
One of the most surprising ways to avoid exhaustion is to add structure to your day and focus on the deliberate transition from one activity to another so that you don’t get your work done in your personal life and your personal life in your work.
With so many of us working from home, working where we sleep, working long hours on essential jobs, or having school-age children all day, this can seem like an impossible task.
However, it is possible to prioritize physical and mental health needs during this time, while minimizing stress and maximizing breaks.
What causes burnout?
This type of exhaustion is usually related to long-term stress at work, but it can be caused by factors in every part of your life.
Common causes of burnout are overwork, lack of time for yourself, undermining or aggression, repeated exposure to negative emotions, lack of social support from others, and feeling out of control.
As the stress increases, so does a burnout. In many cases, it can be difficult to notice, but there are some warning signs.
How to avoid burnout?
Here are a couple of things you can do in order to avoid burnout:
1. Plan your day and include buffers
Even if every day looks different to you, it is important to build a plan for your day so that you can actively move from one task to another without being overwhelmed and thus avoid burnout.
Multitasking can be one of the sources of your burnout. Multitasking is inevitable at times, but you want to be as proactive as possible in planning your time blocks so that you can prioritize important activities, such as exercise, spending time with your spouse, or participating in group therapy.
For those who are unemployed, not working, or are parents 24 hours a day, 7 days a day, scheduling tasks in one day can help motivate you and give you a purpose. Even if the task is as simple as stretching your legs, writing a diary, or calling a friend, as you can see there are still tasks for you to plan.
According to experts, exhaustion suppresses our nervous system, our ability to be productive at work, to create, sleep well, reproduce and build meaningful relationships.
2. Add structure to your day
To prevent exhaustion, it is recommended to add the following tasks in one day:
- Start your day with a productive task. This could include doing your bed, breathing, or meditating. Our bodies love routine, especially the routine that enriches our lives, he explains, and the more structure we create in our lives, the more space we create to focus and rebuild.
- If you work from home create a designated workspace. Even if you live in a small space, creating a separate work area where you can walk and get away from everyday life helps you maintain a better balance of life, says Dr. Rabin. With this space, you can train your mind to go through and out of work.
- Take lunch breaks. Working at home physically and mentally blurs the line between personal and professional life, he explains, so it’s important to set a time to eat lunch and get away from work (and work).
- Turn off the screen. At the end of the day, turn off your laptop, turn on the “do not disturb” work phone, and officially turn off the workday, he says. Turning off the screen before bed can also help improve sleep and minimize stress.
- Build a “transition time” in your day, especially since many of us now work from home and feel that we can’t “close this”. For example, you can do something for a few minutes before you start working and again when you’re done (as if it were like a shuttle) to help with the transition and get your brain ready for the next task.
3. Pay attention to your emotions can be helpful when you want to avoid burnout
No matter how busy your day is, try to be aware of your emotions as you feel them, and find active ways to deal with them so that those feelings don’t build up.
You may go for a short walk, do yoga, call your therapist, or just sit back and unwind. We need to breathe throughout the day to re-focus on the present.
4. Prioritize yourself from time to time
Work-life balance doesn’t just mean getting home on time. Build moments of reset in your day to get away from work and social networks, to prevent the accumulation of micro-stress. Also, make sure you take a vacation to truly disconnect.
5. Help create a calm and positive environment
Watch out for colleagues, friends, and loved ones who may be struggling. Listen to what they have to say and give advice only if it is asked of you. We all play a role in creating positive environments that do not generate stress.
The constant demands of an ever-active life can affect you. But remembering to stop from time to time can help you avoid exhaustion.
6. Avoid burnout by addressing mental health risks
When we are already overwhelmed and exhausted, our brain opposes change. This happens because change is new and different and is seen as a threat by our exhausted brains. So thinking about changing our old and less healthy routines or striving for a recovery technique is legitimately very difficult.
While self-medication with caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, or another substance may be preferred, experts suggest that exercise, nutrition, breathing, and healthy living allow for more empowerment and control in a much freer and more sustainable way.
Just know that even by building a routine that includes mental health breaks, you can still experience a high level of stress and exhaustion. By choosing to implement very small changes that feel easier to do you can change your way of life and in this way avoid burnout.
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